Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Cell Phone Rule for Teens That Most Parents Forget

Establishing cell phone rules for your teenagers is something all parents should do—but make sure you don't forget this important rule! 

When you are making all the rules for cell phone usage when your teenager gets their first phone, do not forget this very important rule.

School's been out for a couple weeks now and my teenagers are enjoying the summer days.

Even though I'm a big proponent of limiting their screen time use, I am a little more lax during the summer. They don't have as much responsibility as they do during the school year, and a large part of their social life requires using their cell phones.

I'm totally okay with the fact that they use their phones a little more during the summer. I'm totally okay with the fact that their phones are how they talk to their friends all day and how they set up all of their hang outs for long summer days.

But the number one reason my kids even have cell phones is for ME.

Each one of my three daughters got their phone when they became busy enough that I had a hard time tracking them down. I got them a phone when I was tired of having to text all of their friends to get a hold of them—even if I knew where they were.

My kids have phones so I can communicate with them. All other "perks" of having a phone—social media, camera, google, oh, and did I mention social media?—are just nice for them to have.

For this reason, a big cell phone rule in our house is that they must always answer my phone calls and texts, and they have to share their location with me so I can see where they are should I choose to look at the Find My Friends app.

But that is not the rule I forgot to make.

And I'm pretty sure it's not the rule you forgot to make, either.

When you are making all the rules for cell phone usage when your teenager gets their first phone, do not forget this very important rule.

I finally realized that I had forgotten to make this rule just the other day when I was driving my 13-year-old daughter to the beach to meet some friends.

"How long do you plan on staying?" I asked.

"I'm not really sure yet—I'll text you when I know."

I knew that she had been on her phone a lot that morning, and I also knew that she hadn't remembered to plug it in the night before, so I asked her what her phone's battery percentage was.

"Uh...11 percent."


Well, that wasn't likely to last her more than another half an hour, so I told her to be sure to call me from a friend's phone so I knew what the plans were.

She did call me, but I don't like not being able to get a hold of her if I need to.

The next day, she was headed out to do something else with her friends and I asked her again what the battery percentage was.

27%. Definitely an improvement...but not much of one!

After the third day of her going out with friends and having her phone die on her I finally made the new cell phone rule that I should have made a long time ago.

Here's the latest cell phone rule at our house:

Keep your phone charged!

I even went so far as to tell my 13-year-old that I would not be taking her to any activities if her phone was less than 80% charged. It is that important to me that I am able to get a hold of her if necessary, and that she is able to get a hold of me.

All three of my daughters have this issue of not charging up their phones until it's too late. Consequently, they don't think ahead when they are about to go somewhere and inevitably end up with a dead phone—and a frustrated mother.

I went ahead and ordered an external battery pack for each of them in the hopes that this will help. Of course, they will need to make sure that those are also charged if that is going to work.

Maybe this is just a me and my kids problem—but somehow I don't think so. 

So, while you are drawing up your cell phone contracts and making social media rules for phone usage, don't forget to put at the top of the list: Keep your phone charged.

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Lara Neves
Lara Neves

Lara is mom to three daughters—two teens and a tween. She loves to share her parenting and homemaking triumphs and failures here at Overstuffed! She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and has been fighting it ever since. When she isn't working on her mother of the year award, you can find her reading, singing, or taking photos.

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