Today I was interviewed by Herb Weissbaum at KOMO news radio (http://www.komonews.com) on tips for parents when they give their children a cell phone.
I relied on the great tips from Common Sense Media's site. Here are the suggestions I offered:
- Work out guidelines for use with your kids on proper cell phone use.
- Make sure your kids are using phones appropriately. That means no rude or sexy texts, no embarrassing photos or videos. Monitoring messages sent and received is not a terrible idea (my brother does this and it makes sense to me).
- Talk about cyberbullying. Make sure your kids know to come to you if anything like that happens.
- Tell your children that sexual talk of any kind is not allowed. While kids often jokingly use sexual language and sexually aggressive speech, thinking everyone knows it's a joke, make sure they understand it's not appropriate when texting, since they add "LOL" or "JK" (text speak for "laughing out loud" or "just kidding"). On a cell phone, a message can be instantly forwarded out of con text to anyone, and kids can get into all kinds of trouble.
- Establish real consequences for violations of your rules.