Children these days are so lucky. With so many fancy gadgets that come out on a regular, it’s almost impossible to keep tabs on it all. What’s even more harder (at least for me) is having to front the bill on most of these electronic devices.
Now-a-days, children seem to have these items right at their fingertips. Whether it be an iPad, iPod, cell phone, tablet or laptop, these little devices are essential to this current generation’s existence.
So, when it comes to rules and responsibilities with having such innovative gadgets, how are you enforcing the safety and responsibility of your child’s usage? Of course, you don’t want to crowd their space with their phones and computers, but there has to be some sort of boundary, if there isn’t one already. Putting these rules and responsibilities in place can be very beneficial to your child’s self-discipline. Since phones can be tempting with social media and music apps a little regulation is also healthy for your tween’s overall wellbeing, which is why its important to guide them through their first phone.
If you remember briefly in MCJ’s 2018 The Year of the Child, we broke down, what some people don’t realize is very important in a child’s growth process, the brain development. The brain is obviously one of the most important component’s in the human body, right alongside the heart. At the age children begin to want phones and other hand held devices it may actually be a bad idea to give into those requests too soon. Why? That is because the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until the mid-20s. Caving in to the wishes and wants of preteens and middle schoolers only enables the lack of impulse control they need to make responsible decisions.
Now, this isn’t to say that your middle schooler should never have any electronic devices until they turn 20. I mean, that’s pretty much social suicide. However, if they must be gifted with such coveted gadgets, it is nice to have a few things in line prior to granting them all access. Here are a few things that will make this phone transition a little easier.
1. Don’t Give Your Tween a Phone Too early
Phones are given for communication purposes. Unless your child is around some really irresponsible people, try to hold off on adding to you and your child’s life equation. Especially if your child is around you or a responsible adult on a regular basis. When they begin to stay after school or hangout with friends, it would be a great time to reconsider.
2. Set Restrictions for Screen time
Even I know how time consuming scrolling down a timeline can be. You see one post and then you “like” it. Before you know it, you know what your aunt had for dinner and what your best friend is doing on her day off. It can be very hard to disconnect from the social media world. Setting restrictions for screen time is great for clearing the mind of all the things to be seen online. Doing so can also save a trip to the eye doctor because staring at a screen for long periods of time can really take a toll on your vision.
3. Teach Your Child About Sexting/Pornography
Studies show that whether you like it or not, your child can be exposed to pornography as early as the age of 8. They are also more likely to snap pictures of their private parts and send them to peers, as early as 5th grade. This can soon lead to early sexual relations and so much more. Teaching your child that pornography is not for children and not the most accurate way to shed light on honest and intimate love can prevent them from exploring on the world wide web. It is also important to stress that once something has been sent virtually or digitally, it can never be erased. Sending sexual pictures and sexting can be prevented if communicated correctly about the dangers of doing such things.
4. Last but Not Least, Trust
With all of the crazy things that are happening in the world, it can be hard to trust your child’s better judgement when it comes to having access to such stories and footage. While this can be troubling, trusting that your child will always make the most responsible decision is one thing that can make this phone process much easier. I always say that communication is key in ANY relationship. As long as the communication is open on both ends. This transition should be such a breeze!
Tweens, Teens & Young Adults