Texting Tots? Should Kids Have Cellphones?

young girl holding mobile phone looking to camera

We’re still getting our feet wet in technological etiquette. And when it comes to our children, the decisions can be tough. But let’s face it: if we don’t guide them through it, who will? That’s right. It’s all part of the new parenting régime. Whether it’s cell phones or pc’s, it’s better to start them young.

Parents need to be involved in all aspects of a child’s phone and personal computer use. Because, on the one hand, they need to keep up with their competition, build their skills, find their comfort zone, be able to function at an acceptable level, which is getting more and more demanding towards younger and younger minds. But on the other hand, our children are so vulnerable. They need to learn to maneuver safely. And they need your guidance while they’re young or you’ll have a difficult time getting them to accept your guidance as they get older.

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Use the parenting blocks to set boundaries. Later, as they get older, you can install spyware to give them a sense of freedom, yet the security they don’t necessarily know about that comes with that freedom. These kinds of devices were created specifically for parents. You are not alone in wanting to know that your children are safe. Do not guilt yourself out for quality parenting. You are the parent now. Own it.

Make sure your child is in a cell phone friendly environment. In other words, you don’t want to be replacing your child’s phone every time you turn around because ‘Johnny’ thought it would be fun to flush your daughter’s phone down the toilet at the babysitter’s house. Or, goodness gracious, Miss Marple doesn’t approve of cell phones in kindergarten and it will be in her bottom drawer ’til school’s out for summer!

But these are the kinds of things that teach your child that not every place, or every moment is appropriate when it comes to using their devices. There is a time and place to put them away. It is a new and foreign concept for many. And one that needs to be taught early if you ever wish to get a grasp on it while your children are still listening to you.

But there are fun ways of incorporating this wonderful world of technology into your child’s life at the earliest of ages. Because the sooner you do it, the better off everyone will be. Make sure your little one has a sturdy, damage resistant phone in which you’ve already installed all the safety features they’re going to need to be allowed to make their own phone calls to Grandma, and maybe Uncle Jim who could use a phone call or two every now and then.

There are preverbal pictures and smileys that can be sent between family for fun. This begins encouraging phone skills, and reading, and the kind of socializing that they’ll need to learn to get around. And pretty soon your four year old is texting from Aunt Sally’s house that he’s having a great time and can he spend the night if she lets him.

Yes, you’ll find that the bonds aren’t broken by these devices when your children are taught to use them properly, and you stay involved through each stage they encounter, guiding them through this amazing world that sits at their fingertips waiting to be discovered.

Guide them. Let them be texting tots, give them their own cellphones, and watch them blossom into these amazingly responsible children, all because you were responsible enough to teach them early all the things they needed to know to make it a functional part of their life.

 

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