Yes, the invasion is complete, not of zombies, but teenage cell phones. Over 70% of kids 12-17 have cell phones today.
But just as with any powerful tool, cell phones must be used wisely. There are manners rules for adults, but there are specific things to consider in relation to teenage cell phone usage.
So, when discussing cell phone usage with your youngster remember these few extra magic guidelines.
It never hurts to remind them that please and thank you work wonders, even if just texted.
Remind them that cell phones are also recorders, and text messages can end up on Facebook.
What about their ring tone – is it appropriate, or just plain annoying.
If they are talking with their latest ‘bestest’ friend, and a call comes in, remind them that except in emergencies, the person in front of them is the important one. The same goes for texting while holding a face-to-face conversation.
Most schools will confiscate a cell phone if it rings in class, but it never hurts to reinforce that at home. Cell phones should never be used in classrooms, movie theaters, restaurants or places of respect such as churches and temples, or at events such as weddings and funerals.
It is a time of instant access – remind them not to look things up during a conversation, even if their phone is capable of that, and don’t forget the 10-foot rule- stand 10 feet from the nearest person when talking on the cell phone. We have all heard private conversations we wished we hadn’t.
Facebook tagging is an important one to remember. Even if you don’t tag photos, I bet your kids do. Remind them that when they take a photo with their cell phone and tag someone, they are showing the picture to all his or her Facebook friends. Tell them to always ask permission to tag, or not to tag unless they are clear it’s a picture that a mom or boss could see. Their cell phone is a powerful tool (one they might take for granted) so remind them of its safety value if they get stranded or in trouble. It is a privilege to have a phone not a right. And lastly, remind them that they should always take the call from the person paying the cell phone bill, especially if that is you.