Establishing rules for children and cell phones

Verizon Wireless polls parents and finds one in five bought a phone or other wireless device for a child but didn’t set up any rules for its usage. The wireless phone company offers suggestions for a few basic rules to help parents and other caregivers negotiate what can be a new world for many.

Now that kids are back in school, many parents are purchasing the first wireless device for their child, or upgrading their tween’s device to a Smartphone. However, a recent national survey shows one in five parents has not set up rules for their kids’ wireless usage.

This is just one of the findings in the recent national Smart Phone Parenting survey conducted by Verizon Wireless. The survey found that more than 95 percent of parents choose to get their child a wireless device for safety, emergencies and to ensure they can reach them at any time.

“While wireless devices provide peace of mind for parents, it’s important to teach children responsibility and set guidelines when they get their first wireless device,” said Seamus Hyland, president-Great Plains Region, Verizon Wireless. “Establishing rules and discussing important topics with children regarding wireless usage early on will help create responsible users.”

According to the study, the number one rule parents set for kids are that they must answer the phone when mom or dad calls. In addition, parents often require kids to maintain good grades in order to continue to use their wireless device. The study found that inappropriate text messages and the importance of not texting and driving surprisingly ranked low on the list of discussion topics.

The survey also found that one in 10 parents do not know where to turn for information about wireless tips and safety guidelines. Enter Smart Phone Parenting a program and Website www.smartphoneparenting.com – created by Verizon Wireless to provide parents with the information they need to help their tweens and teens become responsible wireless users.

Maranda Bergren, a parent who participated in Verizon’s Smart Phone Parenting workshop, has found setting specific guidelines helps limit her 11 year-old daughter’s phone distractions at school and at home.

“We immediately set up parameters for my daughter, the most important being no calls or texting after 10 p.m. and the most basic being that the phone has to be off during school,” said Bergren. “You get to a point as parents where safety also plays an increasing role and you need to be able to communicate with your kids when they aren’t with you. Wireless phones certainly help provide that peace of mind for parents.”

And if you are unsure when to get your child a wireless device, the survey found that while most parents provide a phone for kids 13-15 years old, nearly 10 percent have provided a phone for children even as young as 7-9 year olds. The results indicated the average age is 11.6 years old.

Verizon Wireless offers several tools and suggestions to manage and create the digital experience that fits families best such as Usage Controls, Family Locator and Content Filters. To learn more about these safeguard services, visit www.verizonwireless.com/safeguards and for further information on Verizon Wireless’ parental controls, go to http://parentalcontrolcenter.com.

Specifically, the study found:
The average age parents give their child a cell phone is 11.6.
For parents that have discussed acceptable wireless usage with their kids, 37 percent established rules, 21 percent discussed inappropriate texts and photos, and 13 percent discussed the importance of not texting while driving.
20 percent have not discussed topics such as rules, inappropriate texts, privacy, the importance of not texting and driving or phone etiquette.
The national online survey of 519 parents with children ages 6 to 17 was conducted in July 2011 by Synovate, a global market research firm. The margin of error is +/-4.3 percent at the 95 percent confidence interval. To view the full survey results, visit http://www.smartphoneparenting.com/survey.html. For further information on Verizon Wireless’ parental controls, go to http://parentalcontrolcenter.com.

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One Response to Establishing rules for children and cell phones

  1. Aimee says:

    I’m curious. Some of the tools listed you here, from Verizon, sound interesting…are they avaiable to subscribers of other providers? While I’m a Verizon customer, both of my kids are with Tracfone prepaid and beyond the obvious aircard minute/text limits, I didn’t think there was another way to monitor their usage. Do you happen to know of any other type of services that prepaid carries like Tracfone can also use…are they only for SmartPhones?

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