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Smartphone use by your teenagers

(10 Posts)
FiveStar Tue 05-Dec-17 11:58:37

Our children will shortly start commuting to school by train and to help us coordinate logistics of where everyone is, they will be getting smartphones for Christmas. They are all aged around 10 to 12 so I am asking on this board for advice from parents of teenagers because you are ahead of us and therefore wiser about what is about to come down the line! I would like to learn from your experience please.

I am looking for helpful advice on:

- what rules you set on your kids' phone usage,
- what rules you wish you had set at the outset
- what you learned that you wish you had known before they had phones
- do you manage/ monitor/ participate in their social media or other usage and if so how do you do this and is it helpful or stressful for you/ them that you are involved?
- useful apps etc
- apps to avoid or approach with caution
- good habits to encourage/ bad habits to avoid
- safety advice
- anything else constructive!

Many thanks in advance

NCISfan Tue 05-Dec-17 12:37:23

My 13 yr old ds has had an iPhone since he started secondary. He has a pin code to unlock it which I know as well. Any social media I'm added as a friend (his choice) and he doesn't join any new groups without speaking to me or his Dad first. He's allowed to exchange phone numbers with friends from school/activities, but if an adult wants it he has to speak to me or his Dad first. He knows that I can and will look through his phone at any time I want to, but I must say that I don't very often as he's very sensible. My ds knows he can speak to his dad or me about anything that might trouble him. The iPhone is good as well because I can easily see where he is with the Find Friends or Find iPhone apps.

MyKidAreTakingMySanity Tue 05-Dec-17 12:44:19

My 10 year old has an iPhone. I have her messenger linked to my iPhone. Any messages she gets, I get.
I have her Facebook password (FB was required for messenger as messenger calls and video calling is how they all communicate with each other now) and she isn't allowed to post on social media.

I can track her whereabouts at anytime through find my iPhone app and find friend's app. She isn't allowed to disable these, even if she knew the password.

Having a smartphone is NOT a right and 10 year olds do not need "privacy" from their parents. It has been a bog standard rule from day one that when I ask for her phone it is handed over immediately without question. She is my baby and although I allow her the freedom to roam around unaccompanied with her friends out in the village, I am 100% in charge. I figure if we start strict we can work from there.

JustHope Tue 05-Dec-17 14:45:51

Absolutely monitor their phones.
No social media for 10year old, far too young.
No phones in bedrooms at night.

AlwaysHungryAlwaysTired Tue 05-Dec-17 14:50:01

I have older teens. We have some rules which we have had ever since we started paying for the children's phone contracts and which have served us well:

1. Phones are not allowed upstairs. Ever.
2. Passcodes are always shared with us, even though we never look at their phones.
3. Find my iphone is always turned on.
4. When they are out and about, they must always answer the phone if we call or our messages if they get them.

We also have rules about going out.
1. We need to know who they are with, where they are and agree a time when they will be home.
2. We need a friend's contact number in case their phone is lost/stolen or runs out of juice, and we need to contact them urgently.

Over the years, this has led to us having most of their good friends' phone numbers which is really helpful, both for the reasons mentioned above and when organising secret Christmas/birthday presents like gig tickets grin

WeAllHaveWings Tue 05-Dec-17 19:46:27

1. He charges his phone in his room at night (on dresser not beside bed) but knows if I ever catch him on his phone after lights out there will be consequences.

2. I can check at any time, but only do occasionally. Anything offensive by him (mild swearing is allowed, he never swears verbally to us, but does occasionally on his chat) there will be consequences.

3. Lose it and you are back to basic phone until next Xmas/Birthday.

4. Find my iPhone always on.

5. If adults are talking to you put your phone away and pay attention. Dont be rude by looking like you are desperate for them to stop talking so you can’t get back on your phone.

6. Ensure it is always charged if you are going out. Monitor your data usage as you will need to pay for more data if you run out (so find my iPhone works).

poisonedbypen Tue 05-Dec-17 19:51:22

I would say always keep the phone out of their room at night. DS used to never use his phone much so it wasn't an issue. All of a sudden he was on it a lot & we have a constant battle to keep it out if his room. If it had been the rule from the beginning it wouldn't be such a big deal. There does come a point where you shouldn't be monitoring their phone use.

Fairylea Tue 05-Dec-17 19:51:52

Dd 14 has had a smartphone for years now. The main rules we have is that the phone comes downstairs to charge in the kitchen when it’s bedtime (this is a good deterrent for doing anything they shouldn’t as they know it will flash up in a public family space!), no adding anyone that isn’t in your year group that you don’t actually KNOW on any social media, no posting pouty selfies / if we see something we don’t like then she has to delete it (this has never happened) and all social media to be set to highest privacy - so not public anything. So far so good!

I do check her phone occasionally. We have a sort of unspoken agreement where I won’t read private messages between her and her best friends but I will occasionally check what she’s up to on Facebook/ instagram. To be honest I know full well if she really wanted to she could create fake accounts and hide things but it’s more of a mutual understanding between us. I’m talking maybe once every few months. Works fine for us.

TabbyTigger Tue 05-Dec-17 22:34:44

I have DDs aged 12 and 13 (Y8+Y9) who got smartphones on their 11th birthdays in preparation for secondary school.

Rules - I’ve always been quite strict with them. No usage before 10am or after 8pm - they all go in a basket in the kitchen. I allowed them to have Instagram from the Christmas of year 7 each but we’ve set an app (I can find the name if you’d like but can’t remember it off the top of my head - something like sense or moment I think?) that limits social media app use to 25 minutes a day (it just totally blocks it). I follow them on Instagram (which they have set to private) and can access it if I need to and have concerns, which they both know. But equally I let them know that I don’t check regularly so they get a sense that I trust them to be sensible.

They both have iPhones set up with the Find My iPhone feature and my thumb print is registered (they have the ones with the finger sensor thing - iPhone SEs.)

I also don’t allow phones in bedrooms until homework is done as I think YouTube etc (and Wikipedia for my history/fact loving 13yo) can be a huge distraction. I basically take them off them when they get home from school and they can have them back until 8pm once they’ve shown me their completed homework. And no use at the dinner table because that really winds me up angry

So far we’ve had no issues - not even with older DS who’s now 18, although he didn’t get a smartphone until about 13 and I think had less rules because we hadn’t seen the extent of negative effects and his generation don’t seem as obsessed with social media.

I think I’m possibly a bit too strict really, I know most of my friends are much more lax with their kids’ and haven’t had issues. Equally I have nieces who are absolutely clearly addicted to their phones/iPods and parents are totally oblivious.

FiveStar Wed 06-Dec-17 22:28:59

Thanks for all the replies and helpful info. Am definitely going to start strict

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