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Smartphone - do your kids have and what rules/limits do you have?


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Just wondering at age did your child get a smartphone?

Or not at all?

 

And what rules/limits did you place on dc?

 

I feel WTMers are much more akin to our values than the ps kids my son is around, so it would be nice to hear how you guys do it. Personally, we are holding out as we don't want to go the smartphone route. DS is 15, and chomping at the bit for one. I hate to go there... wondering how you guys have done it?

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We started with a prepaid "dumb" phone at age 11 when A first began to DE and I stopped waiting on campus. It was so helpful to know A could text me or call me anytime. A few months ago I gave A a hand me down smartphone to help keep up with emails from profs when DEing at multiple campuses. Sometimes, they would email class cancellations 15 mins before class and since we had to drive there we would have missed that notice without A checking email in the car.

 

I trust the kid but do ask from time to time if I see excessive use.

Edited by quark
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We gave ds (9th grader) a hand-me-down smart phone this year. Previously we had an old phone that we called the "kid phone" and that was for the kids to use if they were getting dropped off somewhere. 

 

Ds's phone service is with Tracfone. We told him that above a certain amount of money he would have to pay for any texts. He could use Internet with wifi somewhere but there isn't access otherwise. He really doesn't use it very much. At home he uses our other computers and we have to remind him to take the phone places. We want him to take it when we're dropping him off somewhere so he can text us for a ride or if he needs something. Most of his close friends don't have phones which makes a difference as there isn't really anyone to chat with. We also have parental controls on the phone so he can't erase history on the Internet for example and he can't add apps without asking. 

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My ds got one when he got his driver's license and also had a job so he could pay for it. He uses Republic Wireless which is only $10/month. Prior to that, I had an old phone that I bought on ebay for about $20 that I kept on the Republic Wireless plan just for the times when I was dropping one or both of my kids off somewhere like a dance, the bowling alley or if they were travelling on their own.

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I always told my kids they would get phones when they started driving, but dd spent so much time away from us for a competitive sport, she got a cell phone much younger than that. Their original phones were not smart phones, but I can't say that I would have done that in today's technology environment. I no longer remember exactly when they did get smart phones, but they were our hand-me-downs and they had them around the start of high school. I actually regret not letting them have them sooner. They are a major source of social communication for kids and as homeschoolers, finding social outlets for teens was challenging at times. 

We never put limits on smartphone usage, although there was a time where phone chargers were kept in the living room, so phones spent the night in the living room to charge :). 

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Dd is 14.  We have some basic rules.  The phone (and all other electronics) must be downstairs and on the chargers at bedtime.  The phone also sits on the charger during school hours.  Dd is allowed to check it and use it during breaks, lunch, or whenever she asks permission.  She must ask permission before installing any apps on the phone or signing up for any social media accounts.  We have the passwords for all social media and she knows we reserve the right to log on and check her activity at any time.  The phone is to be stowed during family meals.

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When our oldest started doing things out of the house with their friends, we gave them shared, handed-down phones so they could call when they needed a ride home/whatever.  That worked out well. They only took a phone with them when they were out of the house.

 

Last year, for their 16th birthday, we got them smart phones of their own for the same purpose and to use for an extracurricular activity where it's useful to have wifi access. I wish we had stuck with shared "family phones" bec the texting is pretty much out of control with one of my kids.

 

So, there's my cautionary tale. Only get a smart phone if the child truly _needs_ it for communication w/ you.  And, if you get one, always make it clear that it is a "family" phone, not for personal, continual use. And put limits on what hours it can be used. If they want to talk to friends, they could meet up or pick up a real phone and talk.

Edited by yvonne
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All of my kids have smartphones, including the youngest, but we've never had any issues with excessive use. In fact, both of my boys (the only two still left at home) forget to charge their phones all the time. We use the phones for Google Maps, occasional texting and calls, checking email and playing Amazon music or audiobooks in the car, but that's it. We're just not big phone users. My kids are more likely to kill time reading on their Kindles rather than goof off on their phones.

 

We don't have a land line at home and we spend our summers on our sailboat, so everyone has a phone.  

 

When my girls were younger, they just had prepaid flip phones, but when they started driving, we switched them to smart phones so they would always have access to GPS and navigation. My older ds travels a lot with Boy Scouts and his grandparents, so he's had a smart phone for a long time. We see it as a safety issue. My youngest son has significant special needs, so we got him a phone a few years ago, when his therapy and doctor appointment schedule ramped up a lot. He carries a phone with a GPS locator and we use an app that lets him see where my husband and I are, and lets us see where he is. 

 

Obviously, if you've got kids who will use the phone to the exclusion of all else, then you'd want to set limits. We've never had that issue though, so it's just not a big deal to us.

 

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We had a dumb, slider phone that we called "the family phone". If a kid was dropped off somewhere, that kid had the family phone. 

 

When First Born went to college, that child got a dumb, slider phone. Turns out group texting was a real pain on it. We never knew this. The child didn't complain. 

 

Second Born had a dumb, slider phone and lost the privilege of it. More than once. *Sigh*. iI seems colleges require the use of smart phones, so when SB was heading to college for the first time, we got a smart phone from Twigby and chose a no data plan. Calls are limited to 200 minutes, and texting is unlimited. The monthly plan is about $10/month. We added some memory for an app that the school uses for roll in huge classes, and I think some tests and/or quizzes?

 

We gave First Born an iPhone for college graduation, which we gave about a month early and which was very helpful that last month. We wanted to spoil this child b/c of graduating summa cum laude from the honors program and carrying no less than 18 hours/semester and working on and off campus. 

 

I'm sure both kids are addicted to their phones. If I were truthful, I check mine more than I like, but I'm the least addicted in the family.

Edited by Angie in VA
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thanks for all your tales.

yvonne - appreciate your cautionary tale. that's my worry, as he's a bit of a screen-obsessed son given the opportunity. he just naturally gravitates. and we give him the shared family smartphone when he's out - (and we only upgraded from a dumbphone less than 6 mo ago and barely use it ourselves. so we're not being hypocritical either.) but he is wanting a private phone for texting. which i know there is a girl involved, and i'm ok with that. i trust him in that regard. but i don't trust him in that he will become addicted/obsessed, checking, swiping, clicking, staring at it (he won't be able to help himself), and it's also a bit of a peer pressure problem, as the hand-wringing about it only got out of control when he was out with his ps friends all day at an EC activity, and feeling a bit left-out (he had only brought our dumb-phone flip phone with him, which he then did not check nor use at all) and i hate the idea that it's being spurred by wanting to be like everyone else.... back home in our fold, in his normal everyday, it's not so much a big deal.

 

(but don't erase your post just yet - i need to read it to my dh)

Edited by mirabillis
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We live in a cellular dead zone, so mobile phones don't work as phones or text messaging from our home, which limits it a good bit. Still can be used to watch previously downloaded films, or to listen to audiobooks, etc., anything that does not take a connection.

 

I got a ds an alcatel tracfone with limited smarts when he started having a lot of time away from home, taking busses on his own, etc. (age around 13?)  This included going to a homeschool co-op where there was IMO too much use of screens by the kids, and my ds got introduced to some addicting computer games by others there. Nothing terrible in terms of violence, but addicting all the same.

 

Then he saved up and got himself an iPhone last year (age around 14?).

 

The local PS does not allow cell phone use during classes.

 

But yes, addiction is certainly an issue.

 

Maybe read Glow Kids.  And The Invisible Rainbow.

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When First Born went to college, that child got a dumb, slider phone. Turns out group texting was a real pain on it. We never knew this. The child didn't complain. 

 

 

This was the biggest reason we had to get dd a smartphone.  Dh, dd and I usually have to be in constant communication as we are often in different places sharing cars and rides.  Dd travels a lot for her sport, often without a parent, and is constantly on the go when home.  Without group texting, dh and I were playing middle man and vital messages were getting lost in the fray resulting in people not getting picked up or changed plans not broadcasted to everyone.  Dd also is in two bands that require group texting in order to function.  Her old flip phone was just not cutting it.

 

I agree about watching for addiction/abuse.  We set up rules right away partly to avoid this.  Dd uses a laptop a lot for school and we had an issue last spring with lots of time being wasted texting and going on social media.  We figured this out and had a family meeting.  There is not a lot we can do to prevent access to social media other than periodically check history to see if it is being used when it is not supposed to.  But we did figure out how to turn off her text/email notifications during school time so at least she is not constantly being beckoned to participate.  All of her friends and her boyfriend goes to school and can somehow text all.  day.  long.   Luckily, the novelty has largely worn off and dd is not addiction-prone so I think we are in the clear for right now.  But I do feel the need to check up on her use regularly to make sure it doe snot get out of hand again.

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We don't allow our kids to have smartphones until they are 18 or out of high school and they have to buy the phone and the service at that time. We have a dumb phone for the kids that they can use when they are driving somewhere or get dropped off somewhere. Our oldest bought herself an iPhone when she turned 18 and she pays the service. She uses Red Pocket Mobile which costs about $150/year when you buy on Black Friday. This is also what we use for our smart phones. The dumb phone is a Tracfone. We only use our smart phones for email, texting, and on occasion to look something up (usually a location) when we are out.

 

Our kids do all have iPods which they can use once school work is done to text their friends. The iPods have restrictions on them so they can't access the internet, etc. We also keep them at night.

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Dd got a phone at 13 years old when she was doing things where she sometimes needed to contact me to pick her up or let me know where she was or so I could check up on her to see if she needed me for any reason plus we got rid of our house phone and I wanted her to have the ability to communicate with us when home alone.

 

For the first 18 months or so, her phone was put in my room to charge for the night at 10pm each night and stayed in my room or sat on the kitchen counter while she did schoolwork during the day. It was just a habit. When all her practicing and school was finished for the day, she could have her phone.

 

Now she uses it as her alarm clock so it stays in her room at night. She is good about limiting her own use and knows I could look through her phone at any time (though I haven't felt the need). 

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It really is a dilemma when their circle of friends are texting. You don't want your child to be on the outside of all the chatting.

 

Also, my son who texts a lot is very introverted. Texting is an easier way for him to build friendships than just going up and talking to people. Texting allows for time to think before responding. My other son is more outgoing and prefers face-to-face contact with his friends.

 

It can take over a person's life, though.

 

I've heard that video games are more addictive for boys than girls. I wonder if texting is similar.

 

 

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We gave both of ours dumb phones when they were old enough to stay home alone. So around 10 or 12. (We got rid of our land line when DS21 was around six or seven). We gave both of them smart phones around 15, before they started driving at 16. We never felt the need to set any rules or limits. They're both pretty good about self regulating when it comes to technology.

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Smartphones started when they started dual enrollment. They use(d) them for Canvas, OneBusAway, and portable hotspots as the wifi at dance was not always reliable and they often had downtime at the studio.

 

Older one is really into instagram, but younger one isn't particularly hooked on social media yet.

 

At the time, our family device was the iPhone 5C on Ting. (This phone did not keep its resale value and was a bargain.) We've replaced two with the 5S. We had a16GB device in the fleet which was just not enough space, and one 32GB phone just died and wasn't worth the repair cost versus a new (used) phone.

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DD12 got a phone when I realized that at Herpetology conferences all the information comes out via text, and it was just plain annoying for me to have to deal with it. Now that she's doing college classes, a smart phone is almost essential because so much is in formats other than straight text.

 

Her phone is mostly used for school stuff and Pokemon go :). It helps that her homeschool friends mostly don't have phones yet.

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My eldest got a basic phone at 12. It got upgraded to a smart phone after about a year. We are in a very patchy area for signal so it limits usage somewhat but she uses it on the Wi-Fi at home a bit. It's been handy to have from a practical point of view and she keeps in touch with a couple of friends via apps which I like.

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It really is a dilemma when their circle of friends are texting. You don't want your child to be on the outside of all the chatting.

 

Also, my son who texts a lot is very introverted. Texting is an easier way for him to build friendships than just going up and talking to people. Texting allows for time to think before responding. My other son is more outgoing and prefers face-to-face contact with his friends.

 

It can take over a person's life, though.

 

I've heard that video games are more addictive for boys than girls. I wonder if texting is similar.

 

So this was my experience with my current high schooler. 

 

He got a flip phone when he was in 8th grade. He didn't complain about it because he was glad to finally have a phone, but ... yeah ... texting wasn't easy. I didn't really care. He kept sneaking the phone into his room at night, so I took it away for good. (Our rule was phones stay in the kitchen overnight to charge.) Turns out he was missing out on some things, like texted pictures, GIFs, etc. He didn't complain or say anything to me, I heard it from his older brother :( 

 

He missed out on SO MUCH and it definitely affected his social life. Friends still stopped by, and some would still text me to reach my son ... but you reach a point and an age where it's just too much hassle and involving "mommy" gets ridiculous. They made an effort to include him still, but he was missing out on the relationship building that comes from stupid texts back and forth, social media stuff, and all of that. In hindsight, I wish I had been more open-minded. But in hindsight, I also wish he had just followed the dang rules for the phone so it wouldn't have been an issue. 

 

Fast forward to the end of 10th grade. I don't want him going to college and being that kid who flunks out because he finally has a phone and can't control himself LOL, so I decide to try again. Same rules: no sleeping with the phone, and no phone during school hours. I paid for the phone, he pays for the monthly fees. His social life, sadly but also gladly, has bounced back and his mood is so much happier. Is it sad that a phone is necessary today? IMO, yes. But it is what it is. He's managing his time much better, although we still have to remind him about not using it during the school day. His girlfriend is homeschooled also, so they'd text all day long if we let them. Her parents and I are on the same page about the phone and school hours, which helps (us) but the kids still sneak regularly. So it's a work in progress. 

 

I'm not going to offer my next kid (middle school) a phone, but when she asks for one I will consider it more thoughtfully than I did this son. Although she's not as extroverted as he is, nor is she as likely to get obsessed/"addicted" by the phone, her social life, or social media as he was. Is? She's a different personality. She'll probably be the type who never gets a phone LOL.

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Kids got a smartphone at 13-ish.  Rules are no electronics in the bedroom after 9:00 PM, they can freely check it during non-sleep hours, but it's the first thing to be removed if they are not keeping up with their work and other commitments (because it is a distraction that needs  to be gone if the necessary activities suffer).

Edited by reefgazer
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My kids have prepaid sims on unused smartphones so that they can stay at the library without a parent. Our nearest library has a rule that kids have to have a phone so that they can contact parents/caregivers if need to. Our old flip phones all have battery issues and don't support the newer prepaid cards and my husband don't see a need to buy two new flip phones when we have unused working smartphones around. They take their smartphones to camp but camps have a strict no cellphone use except before and after camp and they enforce that rule so it hasn't been a problem.

 

As for texting and social media, my kids have their own laptops long before they have a smartphone. They could had gotten a fake email account (bluffing their age) and done social media on their laptops. Now they have seen enough crappy stuff on social media that they don't want to keep for prosperity so they aren't so keen to get on social media. They are on AoPS forums but using nicknames so it won't show up in a job/internship application or any other applications.

 

Kids load whatever games they like on their smartphones but they know we own the phones and can take it back anytime. The prepaid accounts are under my husband's name. Besides my husband has a habit of hard resetting phones and putting their SIM cards on newer used smartphones.

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 So it's a work in progress. 

 

I'm not going to offer my next kid (middle school) a phone, but when she asks for one I will consider it more thoughtfully than I did this son. Although she's not as extroverted as he is, nor is she as likely to get obsessed/"addicted" by the phone, her social life, or social media as he was. Is? She's a different personality. She'll probably be the type who never gets a phone LOL.

 

Would love to know what other rules you have. I like the no phones to bed, no phones during school. What other rules/limits do you place on the phone for your ds? Sounds like our boys are nearly the same age. And while I'd like to withhold the smartphone forever, I know I can't. I know the moment he goes to college, that'd be the first thing he would buy. But how do I keep it under control if we were to go that route now? Any other thoughts?

 

My next kid also middle school sounds the same. She'll also probably be the type to never a phone. Very different from older brother who is very much more prone to getting obsessed/addicted by the phone, etc.

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DSs borrowed my simple cell phone (no internet/data access) during the teen years when going out. We gave each a simple cell phone (again, no internet) when each got his driver's license, so they could call for emergencies and let us know if plans changed when they were out.

 

We saw no need for smart phones or phones with internet/data access for DSs, as they could use computers at home for that. They bought their own smart phones and monthly plans in their early 20s when they felt they needed them.

 

Neither DS did much texting or social media in their teens. Same now, in their early/mid 20s. Neither DH or I do much texting or social media either. In fact, none of us are much for talking on the phone. I've never had the interest or desire to have a Facebook (or other) account, and even though I do have DH's hand-me-down smart phone now, I only use it a few times a week to send a text to out of town DSs, or to take as an emergency phone when I go out.

 

Upshot: no one in our family is very phone-driven. ;)

 

However, if we were, I like what a friend's family does: when you come into the house at the end of the day, all the phones go into a basket and stay there until you leave again. (Basket is near a socket for easy recharging at the same time of making the conscious choice to set aside media and focus on the people in front of you. :) )

Edited by Lori D.
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DD got a smart "real" phone at 16.5- when she started dual enrollment at a nearby college and I didn't want her to have her college peers texting me. LOL. She'll also have a licence soon.

 

Rules:

+ Mo phone other than on main floor (we want her to sleep) without asking. Sometimes she needs it, but it's rare. Ten sleep is so important, we're working on healthy habits.

+ Parents can check it any time we want (not ever an issue or she would not have one)

+ It has an auto bed time at our house (Disney circle... Love!!)

 

That's about it.

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Would love to know what other rules you have. I like the no phones to bed, no phones during school. What other rules/limits do you place on the phone for your ds? Sounds like our boys are nearly the same age. And while I'd like to withhold the smartphone forever, I know I can't. I know the moment he goes to college, that'd be the first thing he would buy. But how do I keep it under control if we were to go that route now? Any other thoughts?

 

My next kid also middle school sounds the same. She'll also probably be the type to never a phone. Very different from older brother who is very much more prone to getting obsessed/addicted by the phone, etc.

 

I had to approach it from this perspective: He's going to be on the phone more than I like, at least initially when it's still shiny and new. (This is the direct effect of me making it such a desired unknown. Live and learn, right? So, I had to re-frame my entire mindset going in.)

 

I am not a tech-y person. I rarely use my cell phone, and when I do it's only for GPS and texting (plus the occasional call!) I have no games on it, and no added apps other than one Catholic app. I do have about ten photos on it, but I don't use it for video, email, internet, games, or anything else. So when I see my kid, or anyone, hooked on their phone I really just don't "get" the appeal. I use my phone very differently than most people. Accepting that I was the exception, not the rule, helped me find a reasonable compromise with my son about his phone usage. These are the rules we arrived at for him: 

 

No phone at the table, or when we're having mandatory family time (movies, games.)

No phone in the bathrooms. It's sad that this had to even be a rule, but ... he'd camp out for hours.

No phone in the bedrooms. (But we do have pockets around the house that offer enough privacy without being out-of-view.)

No phone during the school day, which I've set at 930 - 330 (which is when most of his friends are in school any how.)

** Initially it was "until school work is done" but he'd just rush through his work, and his grades reflected that. 

No phone use while it's plugged in. Seriously, take 20 minutes off from it while it's charging LOL.

 

And for me:

No snooping on his phone without good reason. BUT he's required to keep me able to access it without him (passcode, fingerprint.)

No getting mad and blocking his access to it by switching the passcode on him. Sorry to say, I am impulsive when I get mad. Oops!

 

Unrelated, but not entirely: 

No phone use in the car, even as a passenger. IMO, it's just not necessary 90% of the time. Exceptions are made the other 10% of the time LOL. I want him in the habit of NOT using it while he's in the car (#1), and (#2) it's a litmus to keep him from going to his phone as a default babysitter/soother. Most of our rides are 5-25 minutes long, and he can spend that time singing off-key or listening to us do so. Or he can benefit from our witty conversation skills. Or I can lecture. Or he can complain about what a Luddite I am. Anything goes ... except the phone. I've been hit twice in the past five years by people on phones, both times my cars had to be totaled. He says I'm holding this against him. Maybe, but I still sleep fine at night. 

 

I do have to remind myself daily that he's dang near an adult, and will be leaving home shortly. I have to remind myself that my objective is to give him space to LEARN how to moderate his phone usage, and this means he will over-use it at times. My goal is to produce a human who uses the phone as a tool and not as a de facto boredom-buster. I'm realizing that he and I are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of usage and screen-time, and that we both need to meet nearer the middle. 

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DS15 has an iPhone. I've disabled the internet browser, disallowed games, and subscribed to OurPact, which lets me schedule and control his access to apps. Right now, apps he uses for school are available all the time, while others, including messaging, are available only for an hour a day outside "scheduled" blocks (school, dinner, nighttime and Sundays). I can grant temporary access for good reasons. Tougher than some, I know, but we figure it's easier to start out tight and loosen up than to go the other way.

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DS15 has an iPhone. I've disabled the internet browser, disallowed games, and subscribed to OurPact, which lets me schedule and control his access to apps. Right now, apps he uses for school are available all the time, while others, including messaging, are available only for an hour a day outside "scheduled" blocks (school, dinner, nighttime and Sundays). I can grant temporary access for good reasons. Tougher than some, I know, but we figure it's easier to start out tight and loosen up than to go the other way.

 

i like that. if only i were tech savvy enough to be able to disable, disallow and do all these things. i'm still woefully dumbphone. like rosika, i'm a bit of a luddite as far as phones go. and no social media for me. i have a smartphone, but only very recent, and use it very seldom if texts are required for some reason. never check internet, never even carry it with me. but i agree, we have to meet somewhere in the middle, b/c he'll be no phone-luddite like me. ;)

Edited by mirabillis
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Well, my boys got their phones at 15. This seemed a reasonable age and that is also when they started to do many things out of the home and needed to contact someone for ride etc.

 

That said. I wish that smart phones didn't exist. They have been way more trouble in our house than they are worth. Personally, I think that it is sad that such a huge portion of social connectedness depends on having one today. Many of the teens we know and see are literally attached to a digital device all day long. What to do about this? No idea.

Edited by Susie in CA
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Yes, we use Apple becusde the parental controls are super easy to use and extremely detailed,

 

We set every single apps settings whether it can use location services

 

We set all settings for non explicit material - you have to do this for books, apps, and music and movie

 

We do not allow internet safari use at all until they're driving and going to community college -

 

We do however allow the NEWS app at age 13 - just because we want them to know what going on in the world.

 

We don't allow games, ever, at any time because we want them to stare at trees, read a book or engage with humans around them.

 

 

So basically the phone up to age 16 is :

Phone/texting unlimited

Notes

News

Istudiez software

Has Find my Friends so we can locate

Their banking app

Kindle

iBooks

Music

Aka mostly Tools and no internet

 

We also don't allow them to download new apps without permission.

 

When they start driving /going to CCwe add restricted internet because sometimes you need to look up info and the classes are all having online portals now which need to

Be accessed - but again it's all restricted as to type and content

 

My son also has programming tools.

 

We also don't allow the one-earphone thing. It's so rude and immature IMO. Either be with the people you are with or don't. Don't half-listen :)

 

And when I say "allow" my kids are not against any of this. When they feel they're missing out we discuss it and I try to be reasonable. Obviously I'm the parent and sometimes they aren't happy but for the most part this has been very smooth and we've all been happy with the situation :)

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DD16 has had a cell since about age 8, when we needed to drop her off at things like tennis. She was only to have it when she left the house on her own, however.

 

We gave her a smart phone around age 12 or 13, I think. I don't recall many limits. It was subject to random checks and that's about it. 

 

She recently turned 16. She still has a smartphone (obviously it's a different one than she had originally) and we did give her an iwatch thing for her birthday. No real rules -- but it's still subject to random checks. 

 

 

ETA: we do have one rule. It's been around since the beginning and applies to adults, too, so I didn't think of it. No phones at the dinner table. 

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I feel WTMers are much more akin to our values than the ps kids my son is around, so it would be nice to hear how you guys do it. Personally, we are holding out as we don't want to go the smartphone route. DS is 15, and chomping at the bit for one. I hate to go there... wondering how you guys have done it?

 

Ours don't have cell phones yet. Though we did offer to buy one for our son's 16th bday with certain restrictions. Fortunately, he had other things he wanted more for his birthday. So we dodged that bullet.  ;)  None of them are obsessed with phones, social media or texting. So far this has been fantastic and they aren't suffering nor begging for one either. Their faces aren't glued to screens in social settings which is oddly so common among teens these days. We do lend our oldest one when he needs to call us from the CC for a ride, etc... We'll go as long as possible without phones for them. Its one less teen obsession to worry about.  :D

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I lost DD at the zoo a few years ago which was one of the most scary moments in my life. So when I was ready to upgrade to a better phone, which was quite immediately given the incident, we started a chain of handing down the phones, and DD ended up with a smart phone with text/phone only, no data because I didn't want to pay more than $10 per month. I rather she have a phone with her than not due to so many activities away from me and her food allergies. She's had a phone since 10 or 11 years old. Her phone is too small to hold much appeal, and her friends haven't even exchanged phone numbers to begin texting each other. She does get annoyed when friends rather stare at their phones than interact with her. If she became glued to her phone, I would have to figure out what to do then. I try to allow her some freedom to make choices and learn to regulate herself; it doesn't always work.

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Dd is 14. We have some basic rules. The phone (and all other electronics) must be downstairs and on the chargers at bedtime. The phone also sits on the charger during school hours. Dd is allowed to check it and use it during breaks, lunch, or whenever she asks permission. She must ask permission before installing any apps on the phone or signing up for any social media accounts. We have the passwords for all social media and she knows we reserve the right to log on and check her activity at any time. The phone is to be stowed during family meals.

Ds(14) got a hand me down smartphone this year, and we have these same rules. ^^^ We also have the browser on the phone turned off.

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We allowed my oldest to have a smart phone at 15. I made her sit through me reading the apple update software agreement to understand how data is monitored and tracked. We have also researched radiation issues so she knows how to be safe as possible and still operate in the modern world. She uses her phone for music, books, talking to friends, texting, etc. Music with headphones helps her concentrate in the same homeschool room as her younger siblings. Only a few games. Phone use for texting during the school day is limited to breaks. At night, it must be kept in the kitchen.  No social media yet. She is asking, so I told her to write a persuasive appeal paper for her father. She must use logical and emotional appeal without being manipulative. She has to document the research correctly. Life is full, she really does not have much time to be on a phone too much.

 

We have discussed that she wants to learn to be wise, but still operate in the 21st century. In adult life (her near future), smartphones, social media, etc are all part of American life. As a homeschooler, I don't want her to be "ignorant" of the way most people operate in a tech savy world. At the same time, she has to learn wise stewardship of time, internet safety, balancing the digital landscape with the real world...

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Various companies make stickers than re-organize the radiation so that the harm is minimized. Since the science is beyond my understanding, I rely on recommendations from holistic practitioners or quality websites to buy something that is not a hoax.

 

The stickers we have right now are from Biozen.  Gans technology also has much to contribute on this subjects as well. I have much to learn. Some people even sell crystals and special metals to wear as jewelry for this purpose. Like I said, the science is hard to understand, so I rely on reputable recommendations - not Amazon reviews. You tube has lots of information about this.

 

Also, no wearing the phone in one's back pocket. Keep it away from the body as much as possible. Using speaker phone so not to hold it close to the head will minimize the microwave exposure to the brain. Even the apple website has some information for ipads with regards to radiation and health. Basically, since a phone is like a small ipad, we try to apply the manufacturer recommendations. I don't allow phones or ipads in bedrooms at night at all - for radiation as well as avoiding addictions to electronics. We turn off the wireless, and put tablets on airplane mode when not actually needing to transmit data. 

 

As I learn more, I will apply more precautions.

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