Cell Phones (page 2)

Updated on Nov 12, 2009

What Parents Can Do

  • Discuss your child’s motivations for having a cell phone: Talking about its use for safety rather than as a status symbol or way to fit in can be important. It may not only cut down on your teens airtime minutes, but it could initiate a conversation about his or her life, for example, feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and who they feel they need to be talking to – and when and why.
  • Develop a set of rules and responsibilities as a cell phone user: In providing your child with a cell phone, you have the right to set the rules for its use : “Always answer calls from parents immediately.” “Always identify where and with whom you are.” Many parents set limits for younger children’s use and have their teens take responsibility for their own cell phone bills.
  • Discuss appropriate circumstances, places and uses for cell phones with your child: 82 percent of people report having been annoyed by loud or personal cell phone conversations in public. Don’t let your child be one of these irritants.
  • Establish rules around cell phone use at night: Require your children to turn cell phones off at night and keep them in a common area rather than allowing them to take them into their rooms, where they can talk or text message late into the night.
  • Consider a child-friendly cell phone for your child: Some phones made especially for kids allow you to control whom your child can call, or offer only “mom” and “dad” buttons so no other calls can be made.
  • Teach your kids to only answer calls or view text messages from people they know: Like the internet, cell phones are becoming a vehicle not only for bullying, but also for sexual predators and for scams.
  • Help your kids save money: Consider purchasing a pre-paid plan with a limited number of minutes for your teens, and remind them to “budget” their minutes. Also, turning off text messaging and internet capabilities on your child’s phone will help keep bills low.

© Center on Media and Child Health, 2007

Resources on this topic
Cell Phones for Pre-Teens
Heavy Cell Phone Use Associated with Unhappiness

San Francisco Chronicle
Warning Over "Bullying by Mobile"

BBC News
Teens Harassed Electronically

ABC7 - Chicago
Intensity of mobile phone use and health compromising behaviours
Space invaders: The negotiation of teenage boundaries through the mobile phone
Psychological predictors of problem mobile phone use
Teenage girls and cellular phones: Discourses of independence, safety, and 'rebellion'
Impact of the mobile phone on junior high school students' friendships in the Tokyo metropolitan area
Case-control study of the association between the use of cellular and cordless telephones and malignant brain tumors diagnosed during 2000-2003
Back from the beach but hanging on the telephone? English adolescents' attitudes and experiences of mobile phones and the internet
Are internet and mobile phone communication complementary activities amongst young people? A study from a 'rational actor' perspective
Association between cellular-telephone calls and motor vehicle collisions
Text messaging as a cause of sleep interruption in adolescents, evidence from a cross-sectional study
Gender differences in social network development via mobile phone text messages: A longitudinal study
Cigarettes and mobile phones: Are they complementary or substitutable products?
Do u smoke after txt? Results of a randomised trial of smoking cessation using mobile phone text messaging
Kids and Cell Phones

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