Parenting changes as the years go on … the newest toy, dance moves and fashion trends keep us all on our toes when we are raising pre-teens and teenagers. Currently the biggest discussion in our house with my pre-teen is technology — when, where, how he can have his iPhone so he can snap, tweet, and Instagram all day log.
My son is almost 12, and he has had an iPhone since he entered middle school this past August. We have a few technology rules that has made this transition a little easier.
1. No Electronics on School Nights
There are a few reasons for this rule – first it gives time for homework, bath time, and chores. Second, we can eat dinner together as a family on the rare nights we are not busy somewhere else. Finally, it gives us time to be a family. They are allowed to watch TV after homework and chores are done, and typically we all watch a show together. No handheld devices are allowed on school nights.
2. Monitored Social Media Accounts
We are friends on social media. Be your child’s friend – know who they are friends with and watch their friends list. We all want to make sure their circle of friends is safe.
3. Parents Approve all Purchases
I set Micah up on iCloud Family, therefore, I get a request from him anytime he wants to purchase a new app or song. That way I know what is on his phone. You can set it up that you have to approve all apps and songs OR only ones that you have to pay for. For our family, we choose to approve everything even if it is free.
4. Electronic-Free Family Nights
These are my FAVORITE nights because not only does it make our kids unplug, but it also forces Mom and Dad to put down our phones and socialize. We play games, watch movies, and tell fun stories.
5. No Devices in Bedrooms at Night
This one is something that we were not sure of in the beginning but decided it worked best for our family. At bedtime, phones and tablets go to a central location to be charged. That way we can assure our kids get a good night’s rest without the distraction of their friends or games.
Finally, we all try as a family to step away and unplug as much possible. It is hard for us as parents, too. We love our social media as much as the rest of you, but I promise your kids will thank you for stepping away!