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Establishing Rules for Teen Cell Phone Use

Without clear guidelines, many teens struggle to handle the responsibility of owning a smartphone. So it’s important to establish rules that will help your teen make healthy choices.


No Cellphone Use Before School: Most teens don’t have much time to spare before school and texting or surfing social media can waste a lot of precious minutes. So start the day off right by saying, “No phones in the morning.”


Follow the School Rules: Each school makes its own cellphone policies. So, investigate the policy at your child’s school and make it clear that you expect her to follow the rules.


No Cell Phones at the Dinner Table: Don’t allow anyone to use their phones during meals. And practice being a good role model. Don’t respond to text messages or emails while you’re eating. Teach your child appropriate cell phone etiquette.


No Cell Phones During Family Time: Stress the importance of interacting with one another in-person. Make it clear that during family activities, cell phone use is prohibited. Whether you’re visiting with extended family or you’re playing a game of catch, discourage bad cell phone habits, like ignoring friends to text someone who isn’t present.


No Cell Phone Use During Homework Time: Replying to text messages or keeping up with social media can be a huge distraction for teens who are trying to study. Set limits on cellphone use during homework time, especially if your teen’s grades are suffering.


The Cell Phone Must Be Turned in Before Bedtime: Teens who keep their phones in their rooms at night are likely to respond to text messages or social media updates in the middle of the night, and it can interfere with your teen’s sleep.


No Cell Phone Use While Driving: Unfortunately, many teens get into fatal car accidents because they were replying to a text message while driving. Help your teen problem-solve ways to reduce the temptation to use the phone while driving. The best solution is usually to shut off the phone while driving. At the very least, consider installing a smartphone app that prevents texting and driving.