When it comes down to it each parent must weigh the pros and cons of weather they feel their child is old enough and responsible to have a phone. The phone can be a great tool to have to stay connected to your child and to also help with any safety issues if they were to arise. It adds an extra security for when you can't be with your child. It is undisputed about the benefits of having a cell phone when in an emergency situations. The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 74 percent of Americans say they’ve used a cell phone in an emergency. Most parents today never had a cell phone when they were younger so the rules are new to them. Some of the questions that possibly should be asked before getting your child a phone should be:
- Respect their belongings?
- Show responsibility?
- Are they home alone?
- Participate in after school activities?
- Waiting for you because you are running late?
- Respect the rules at school and other places?
Some of the cons of having letting your teen have a phone are:
- Mental Health -
- Lack of sleep
- Possible cancer risks and "digital thumb"
- Content Filters – these allow the parent to set what media can be viewed and downloaded on the phone. Whether web access is allowed or what kind of texts can be sent.
- Usage Controls – these allow the parent to regulate the number of calls and texts. Parents can also restrict number either incoming or outgoing and they can set up times to have disabled. These generally do not restrict emergency numbers set up on the phone.
- GPS monitoring – these can help monitor the where your child are with a GPS system. Some can even be set up for a "safe" zone and alert you when or if your child leaves that area.
The best thing to do is to talk with your child and to set up rules for their use of the phone. And as all mean parents can say "I gave you that phone and I sure can take it away too!"