Monday, January 7, 2013

Our Cell Phone Family Rules...

My oldest daughter has wanted a phone for a LONG time.
She turns 12 in 2 months.
Almost everyone has a phone that is younger than she is.
Yes.. we have heard it all.. and then some.
These are not the reasons she got a phone.
First.. we made a rule that she could have a phone when she was 16.
Then.. we had to re-evaluate our rule.. when some issues came up.
Namely.. babysitting... and phone/ipod touch borrowing.
Most people do not have land lines anymore.  Now.. they only have cell phones.
Some people just simply leave one of their phones for a babysitter to use.
I am not OK with that.
My friend told me of a girl in her church/ward that was babysitting for a family and the mother left her phone for the babysitter to use.  I am not sure if the girl was snooping.. or just happened across an inappropriate photo of the Father.. but she did.
1- Now the girl was introduced to Porn.
2- Embarrassment for all parties in the church involved now.
I found out that my daughter was using her friends phone/ipod touch at school and such.. and I felt that was a problem also.
Who knows what stuff her phone has on it.
Maybe all good things... but I don't want to take chances.
And I am opposed to ipod touches more so -- with kids than phones.
Hello....They have data!!
So... Chad and I had a lot of discussions.
We prayed.
I asked people's opinions on Facebook.. and we discussed and prayed some more.
 I felt strongly that it was best for my daughter to have her own phone.. and not be on anyone elses.
Plain and Simple.
And so... we decided upon some rules... and we told her she could ask for it for Christmas.
She agreed to the rules.. and couldn't wait for Christmas.
When we purchased the phone.. we were told that because we had smart phones.. she could be added on for no extra charge.
She could have all of the benefits we do.
We had them disable all data.
Including picture texting.
And she knows that when we feel it's an appropriate age to have it.. she will get it.
So for now.. she has unlimited Texting and talking. 
What she would need a phone for.
The End.
These are the main Rules with our phone.
1- If you don't have anything nice to say.. don't say anything at all.
Do not say anything mean to anyone in texts or in person.
We can and will check your phone at any given time.
2- Don't bother people by sending too many texts. -- We had to make this rule up after she got her phone.. because it was exciting to call/text her Uncles and Aunts too.
  It got a little -- uh--overwhelming for us!
3- Your phone can only be used at school -- after hours... or during breaks.
I do like her to have it.. so if the bus is late.. or someone came home sick -- she/I know.
4- Your phone is not allowed at church.
5- Your phone has to be turned over to us every night before bed.
6- You are responsible if anything happens to your phone.
Take care of it.
7- It is our phone... and your phone.
As long as you abide by our rules.. you are free to use it.
If you break the rules... we'll take it away.
8- You must keep and maintain good grades in school.
9-  Don't give your number out to strangers.. or let your number get passed around.
Be mindful and careful of whom you give your number to.
10- Let your phone be a tool for good.. and nothing bad.
We also had a family counsel about Cell Phones.
Last Friday my 8 year old son was told that he could take a favorite Christmas present to school.
He took the board game " Sorry" and a Stuffed animal -- since I wouldn't let him take Lego's.
He came home crying...and said that every child had a new phone.. or Ipad.. or ipod touch.
I comforted him.. and we decided we needed to have a family meeting about Cell phones.
I explained to each of my children that cell phones are a lot like fire.
They can be used for good and bad.
I explained that if I put my niece Lia that is a baby -- next to a fire and told her not to touch it.. would she be OK?  Of course not.  She doesn't understand.
So then I asked them about their cousin Linkin that is 3.
Would it be OK for him?  He understands more -- doesn't he?
When we discussed that the older we get -- the more they understand and can learn to be careful..
They listened.
I told them that fires are wonderful.
They give us heat.. and warmth.  They are cozy and we can cook with them.
But.. they can also be dangerous. 
They can burn us -- if we are not careful around them.
Sometimes even when we try to be careful.. an accident happens.. and we get burned.
I explained the same with cell phones.
I told them the older they get... the more they will understand it's good things and bad things.
But I feel like if I put one in their hands when they are too little.. it's like not watching them by a fire.
~ And I told them how much I loved them.. and don't want them burned.
We explained further... that Tenney doesn't have pictures on her phone.. because of the things I still feel like she needs protection from -- with the fire.
I told them.. that even Mom's and Dad's have to always be careful to choose the right with their phones.. and not watch bad videos -- or look at bad pictures.
Even though parents know and understand what fires can do.. sometimes they slip and get burned.
I reminded them about my first marriage.
I was upfront an honest about not letting people ever take inappropriate pictures of them.. or looking at bad pictures on someone Else's phone.
I told them they could come to me over anything.
It was probably one of the most effective and quiet family counsels we have had.
They totally got it.
Even my 5 year old listened.
I felt the spirit.. and knew what I was teaching them.. they needed to hear.
If you are reading my blog.. and find my rules and cell phone teachings to my family to be harsh...
I will not apologize.
I know first hand the level of what "getting burned" is like when it comes to Pornography.
I lived with an addict.
The burns may heal.. but the scars remain.
The addictions to Porn can be worse than it is for an Heroin or Cocaine addict.
And too many children are being exposed -- in the privacy of there homes.. with their cell phones.
Their parents have no idea.
It's all about being AWARE.
Today I am Grateful for:
Prayer... in all things.
Such kind friends -- thank you for your comments and e-mails.  I needed it.
The Holiday special of "Call the Midwife" -- Beyond Beautiful.
Downton Abbey started last night!  2 hours.. so much happened.. I need to watch it again.
Dinner with Brian and Suzanne.  So grateful my husband talked to Brian all through dinner.. and let Suzanne and I have a separate one-on one girl talk. 
 I needed to hear some advice she had for me.  So grateful.


WhiteWhispers2u said...

Ugh! Such a love hate kinda thing for myself.
I have two older daughters who are young adults now and a 13 yr old still at home so this was an issue for us for many years.
Trust me I have seen it all on cell phones and not in a good way.
I do like it for safety issues as my girls would be uncomfortable at friends and want to leave and they could simply text me to come get them instead of pretending to be sick and have to call.
But to always have to Police the phone is stressful on yourself.
My 13 yr old has been very good with her phone though she is schooled from home online and that helps a lot.
You have taught her right and given her rules and guidelines to follow so it's now time to trust her.
My best to you always~Cheers & Blessings Kim

Jennsuewild said...

I think you are doing a great job and have great rules.
My oldest child who is home is the only one with a cell phone my boys 14 and 16 have a Itouches but no data with them. We are very protective of our children and there access to the internet. Our son in law has told us to many scary stories and warned us to be careful of there access to the internet.

We considered getting the boys cell phones for Christmas because of our busy life style but decided not to every phone now has data and we would have had to pay for it even if it was disabled.

We are still looking for a plane Jane cell phone and a good plan for them. Things have changed so much from when my oldest had a cell phone 12 years ago.

Sondra said...

Wow! That was great! I felt the spirit just reading it with tears in my eyes. Loved how you explained the rules and that you
ARE willing to be a parent with your children and keeping them from harms. You are an awesome mom! Thanks for sharing. XO

Valerie said...

I think your rules are great! I wish I had known this when my oldest 3 kids got phones. My daughter has always been responsible/respectful with her phone, my boys...not so much! When Shane finally gets a phone, he's gonna have a bunch of rules, lol!

Jenny said...

I love the fire analogy! Very inspired. Great job teaching. Your kids are lucky to have you as their mom.

CB said...

What a lucky girl Tenney is to have such wonderful parents! I love your rules and think they are very well thought out and perfectly executed!
I didn't really have to think about those things with my kids (until Trent) because there were cell phones, but younger kids didn't have them (my 2 oldest shared a cell phone when they were 16 and 17 - Ha ha), all the tech stuff was not so prominent. Now everyone has it and it is everyway - Sure makes things hard on parents.

I also loved the fire lesson - Perfect is all I can say!!!

Good job to you and Chad.

Eric and Jenny said...

I think I have only commented a few times on your blog but I read it all the time. I so admire the person you are and you have taught me so much about mothering by sharing your thoughts and values. I am so grateful that you share what you feel is right for your family. I have so many questions regarded cell phones and kids and everybody has an opinion. But this is the most thought out, age appropriate ideas I have heard. Thank you so much I can incorporate these ideas in my own home. My oldest is only coming up on 8 but I know the time will approach quickly where he is wanting want the other kids have. Every family and child is different I know but I found this post so insightful and really just inspired, so thank you!

Garden of Egan said...

Good for you!!!
You did the right thing for your family. I should have such a good job of teaching when my then 14 year old daughter got her phone.

Never apologize what you do for your family. Ever.

Nancy Face said...

I'm tough with cell phone rules, too. Zach had to wait until after he turned 16 - when he got his driver's license. He just has a regular phone, no picture texting.

I cannot believe the foolishness of all those parents who indulged their 8 year old kids. Um...seriously?

springrose said...

Great rules! You and all your children will be so glad you started out with cell phones right! They will see the other side of not having rules soon enough. I thank you for setting a good example to others in such a open and public way.

veelaluna said...

Ann Marie,
you have good intention. A great
decision to make this rules.

I wish, many more people would think about it.

mCat said...

All great rules and I love the fire analogy.
On point!

Jenny Lynn said...

I like how you have handled the whole cel-phone situation with your son. Mine is 10 and bugging me. My Jr. High daughters...don't have cel-phones. Due to all the problems we went through with our oldest Daughter being bullied. Just not worth it.

I really do like how you have rules and expectations that go along with the cel-phone.

Mel said...

I think you are doing a great job. Your such a good mom. I'm impressed with your FHE. I need to do one like that.

Makinzee Loveridge said...

Neither my 8 or 6 year old asked for a cell phone for Christmas but my 3 year old! Sigh, it's just too easy to get in trouble I agree. I like the idea of turning them in at night. Good luck! PS my 3 year old didn't get one:)

Joanna Daniels said...

Having an old cell phone can be annoying, most especially if you’re about to socialize with friends or have relatives who just brags about their new things. Another reason is that old cellphones are limited with their use, not being compatible with new released applications. This is why it’s very important to have a new phone to meet the said requirements. Well, don’t worry about it for your old cell phone can be sold for decent cash so you can get yourself a new one.
- Joanna Daniels