Blue Suit Mom

Considerations When Getting Your Teen a Cellphone

Teen girls with mobile phoneYour teen has been bugging you for the latest and greatest smartphone that’s more evil genius equipment than something to use as a phone. Nearly 80 percent of teens own a smartphone, according to Pew Research Center, and out of these teens, 46 percent of the phones are smartphones. Teens use these phones as their primary source of Internet access in many cases. When deciding whether to get a teen a cellphone, and the type of phone to get them, keep these considerations in mind during your shopping process.

Being Different

One thing difficult for many teens to handle is the feeling they’re different and not fitting in with the other kids. If all of their friends have phones, and your teen does not, it creates several difficulties. The first is they are different from the other kids and may get bullied because of that. Teens heavily use texting and mobile Internet for communication, so not providing your teen with a cellphone may hinder their ability to connect with other teens and establish a healthy social life.

Internet Access

Teens living in lower income areas are more likely to only have Internet access at home through their cellphones. The Internet is essential for many aspects of modern schooling and growth, especially when all of your teen’s friends are chatting online through social networks. If Internet access is not available at home, or incredibly limited, it may make schoolwork a challenge for your teen. A smartphone takes away the stress of buying another computer for your home, while providing your teen with many of the functions they would need from a desktop.

Choosing a Phone

While you want to stay within your budget for cellphone purchasing, cellphone companies have turned an eye onto affordable smartphone options. Prepaid plans, such as ones offered with cheap cellphones from T-mobile and other cellphone providers, give you a way to avoid contract fees, as well. Smartphones provide access to the Internet with a web browser quite similar to a tablet or computer, along with a touch-screen interface, which is important technology for your teen to get used to. If you cannot get a smartphone, many feature phones offer mobile web access. It’s a bit harder to get around these interfaces, especially if the phones aren’t touch-screen, but at least they can still talk with their friends and use the Internet.

Setting Rules in Place

Once you get your teen a cellphone, set rules in place so they use it responsibly. Set time periods where they cannot use their phone, prevent the phone from being used during driving and family gatherings, restrict cellphone use in the home to public areas of the house, and turn it off when it’s time to go to bed. You also want to make sure your teen understands the expenses associated with the phone. If they work, have the teen pay for the monthly bill, if possible, or at least help out with expenses.

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