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  1. #1
    Euphoric ! bright sparks's Avatar
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    Cellphone for soon to be teen daughter

    So for my daughters 13th birthday in 2 months I wanted to get her a cell phone. She has had use of one before but only took it to school with her if I wasn't home to greet her after school so she could give me a quick courtesy call to let me know she was home and safe. She went through a period of time when she struggled with the front door key, so it was a little bit of reassurance for both of us that she could call me or a family friend if she needed help. The phone she used had no data and was not a smart phone so it would sit in her bag all day at school and would only come out of her bag when she got home.

    She has been using her dads old iphone as an itouch only with wifi so is familiar with all the apps, games and music features. Now it would also have talk and text if we were to put it on as a phone. We do not have a house phone so if I go out and she is home alone, it is always difficult as I cant get hold of her. She has to facetime her dad and he has to call me as I have an android phone. We manage but it is less than ideal. She is babysitting regularly now and when she does that we have to leave her with my phone so we can get hold of her or vice versa in an emergency. Again, less than ideal. I am also contemplating going to school full time in September at which point I need to be able to have reliable contact with her at all times.

    She is a very good kid who is very obedient and we try very hard with both our kids to not just give them rules, but explain things so they understand why a rule is in place. She is very clear on inappropriate use of internet on phones, tablets and computers and we trust her completely to stick to our rules.

    I have some ideas on boundaries with the phone so that we as a family can take the philosophy of "planning vs policing" so that we can show her that we trust her, and have her more likely to regulate her own use with the rules that will be in place.

    I was wondering what other peoples experiences have been for those with older kids. I have some ideas on her "contract" of use for texting, making and receiving calls, night time use and designated times when the phone has to be off. I also want to address the social issues that are a growing problem in tween and teen development as a result of texting such as instant gratification and come up with some rules surrounding "OFF time" that would apply to all cell phone users in the house and have her imput on these rules so she feels like she has had a say in it rather than just being told. ultimately if she doesn't stick to any rules, the phone is taken away, which will restrict some of her freedom until she can earn our trust back. Both my husband and myself are also aware that an important part of this is to model this behaviour too.

    I want this to be a positive experience, not a huge regret and was just wondering what other ideas people may have for a positive experience all around

  2. #2
    Euphoric ! mimi's Avatar
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    With my daughter, who is now in university, we all started with the same good intentions. Overall giving my daughter a phone and then upgrading a few times has been a positive experience.
    You have to realize though, that once they get the texting bug there really is no vaccinne for. it We had to take off internet on her phone because she was surpassing our plan usage every time she was home and she still has an ipad and lap top for internet use.
    The biggest thing is the safety aspect. It is great to know that you can call your daughter at anytime.......but will they answer so you have to impose strict rules that when mom/dad calls she must answer immediately. Don't let her get into bad habits like staying in her room and talking and texting.....you will soon realize that even when she is home, you haven't really seen her. (this is one of the reasons why my daughter never had a tv in her room- of course now she can watch shows on her ipad/computer sigh)
    Review your bill with her and discuss her usage if it goes over what you are comfortable with. Phones are another big step into their independence, however, you really need to monitor their usage and don't fall for the privacy complaint when you check their phone. I would rather keep my daughter safe and have her mad at me for checking who she is texting and calling. You don't need to make a big deal and read the texts thoroughly, just check for disturbing content.
    They are growing up and in this tech world we as parents need to find the happy medium in being vigilant.

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  4. #3
    Euphoric ! bright sparks's Avatar
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    Thank you so much mimi. This is exactly the advice I was looking for. My fears, and my husbands, are exactly what you are talking about so we want to be sure we have really explored this possibility from all angles.

  5. #4
    Euphoric ! mimi's Avatar
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    Also photographs. If she has internet on her phone let her know she is never to send them to her friends. You don't want images of her out there on the net. Very scary stuff can happen.

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    so my dd has a phone since she was 14 (she will be 16 in a month) she has it because we live in the county and well its not like the city and she stays after school alot (she's way too involved lol!)

    I would recommend getting a no data phone, with unlimited incoming and outgoing calls. Telus has it for 35 dollars. We bought a phone thru walmart for under a 100 dollars and she is not under a contract so we can cancel anytime or change plans if we have too.

    really, every place does have wifi so she wouldn't need data, even schools now have it. My other 3 kids have ipods that they use. In september my second dd will be in grade 9 and will have to share the phone with her sister, but this is where I may acually upgrade theirs but they have to share.

    and really without data your dd can't accept pics so this is really really good. Now I know she will want data, but you need to ask her why she would want it kwim.

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  8. #6
    Euphoric ! bright sparks's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link dodge....not scary to me at all, very real and stuff that we have already discussed with both our kids. Their school has had some people come in very recently talking about tween and teen safety online and with cellphone use. Also, coming from the UK, when I was growing up there was a huge issue and presence of paedophilia and child kidnappings so I generally seem the strictest on these kinds of subjects with friends who also have kids. I was followed by someone when I did my paper round at age 10, and kids were being snatched out of their front gardens all the time. I really couldn't care less if they agree with me or not. I grew up in a very different world than they did even though we are the same age.

    My daughter has had an ipad for over a year and so we are familiar with turning the location services off and have some master settings set on it which restrict viewing pages with adult content, apps are age restricted and social media sites are blocked. My son plays online games which are geared towards an older audience (He is totally into D&D and similar and there is a genre of these games for tweens with less violence but they still attract adults) so I heavily research the games content prior to downloading and there is typically always an option to turn chat off and both kids know that they are never to respond to an email, text or call from anyone they do not know first hand. Skype and facetime always have people trying to add you to their contacts and they have also been subjected to inappropriate text messages from strange numbers. No pictures thankfully but some pretty shocking messages so they have gotten over the initial exposure from being in the dark that this kind of thing actually goes on. Also last fall there was a major issue with the education website called "glogster" that schools use for kids to make educational blogs. Upon signing in or even sometimes just typing the web address in there would be a pop up for "adult friend finder" Anyone who has ever come across this pop up will know it is not a dating website but more a site for "encounters" so there is graphic nudity even on this page that pops up. This was of course dealt with but I am more accepting of the fact that some things I can not control so I make a point of keeping my kids well informed. I don't want to scare them but at the same time make them aware of the real dangers and threat that the internet is to kids. Paedophilia and online predators has been covered recently at school with the kids so talking to them at home was a very natural extension of the schools teaching. I always ask them to tell me what was spoken about and how it makes them feel. It gives me a better understanding of their feelings surrounding the subject and to some extent their level of understanding on the topic. It's not a nice thing to have to talk about but an important one that should not be blown up to scare them, but discussed in realistic appropriate terms.

    I am really neurotic about online pictures. I have instagram but I am private so people must request me as a contact before being able to see any of my pics. I will only add friends too not just acquaintances. This was a huge issue I had with FB. Seriously out of your 1000 fb friends, how many of them do you ACTUALLY REALLY KNOW?!?

    I would be happy for now just getting her a cell phone that isn't a smart phone. I do know that she takes her itouch to school and uses it for a calculator and for a translator on a daily basis (French Immersion) I just need to spend the next couple of months really weighing up my options and having a good think about it. I think I'd be fine also with just turning off the data altogether and so she can only use it on wifi at school which is already restricted and at home. When we go out for the day as a family she doesn't need to be surfing and texting and calling during family time will be some of the rules we address with her.

  9. #7
    Euphoric ! bright sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by momofnerds View Post
    so my dd has a phone since she was 14 (she will be 16 in a month) she has it because we live in the county and well its not like the city and she stays after school alot (she's way too involved lol!)

    I would recommend getting a no data phone, with unlimited incoming and outgoing calls. Telus has it for 35 dollars. We bought a phone thru walmart for under a 100 dollars and she is not under a contract so we can cancel anytime or change plans if we have too.

    really, every place does have wifi so she wouldn't need data, even schools now have it. My other 3 kids have ipods that they use. In september my second dd will be in grade 9 and will have to share the phone with her sister, but this is where I may acually upgrade theirs but they have to share.

    and really without data your dd can't accept pics so this is really really good. Now I know she will want data, but you need to ask her why she would want it kwim.
    Great advice....thank you so much.

    This is one of those great opportunities to get some really great advice, outside of daycare topics, on this forum...love it

  10. #8
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    Yep I totally second not replying to ANY email or text that is from someone unknown. When I was 14 my friend and I started chatting with some guy on ICQ (so old school right?). He and my friend got "close" and kinda sorta had an online relationship. At some point we decided it would be a great idea to meet him so we both went downtown to do just that. My friend at the last minute decided she didn't want to meet him so we didn't, although we saw him. ( we knew what he looked like because he had sent pics, but we never sent pics of us). He must have been in his late twenties. Looking back I can't believe what absolute morons we were. And we were good kids, had good grades and behaved ourselves. This guy was most definitely a predator and we are so lucky we ended things when we did. It give me goosebumps thinking about it. I am not looking forward to my kids being teens. And I didn't post this to scare you either bright sparks...just wanted to highlight the importance of not being in contact with anyone you don't know. Unfortunately when I was a teen no one really talked about this, at least not enough.

  11. #9
    Euphoric ! mimi's Avatar
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    Thanks for telling about your experience. Prime example of how good kids can get into real trouble. Remember consequence part of brain not mature until they are about 25. (boy that explains alot

  12. #10
    Euphoric ! bright sparks's Avatar
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    Yes mimi, I actually read an article about adolescence, yes sad but true I love to research psychosocial development , and the brain during that period is hardwired to take risks. I will get super anxious and stressed if I don't think logically and realistically about this subject in terms of what I can control and what I can't and what I can do to help my kids and at what point I have to loosen the reigns a little to allow them to make confident independent choices for themselves and grow up knowing that I trust them and respect them. This will no doubt include times when everything goes tits up, but I can only hope that what I teach my kids serves them well to deal with the downs. It is such a hard time learning to find a happy medium.

    I never had a cell phone or internet in my childhood....even with all the headlines that should have scared me, I had no issue apparently with getting myself into risky situations. I was a good kid, but fell victim to my circumstances when I entered the care system at age 13 and within a couple of weeks was pulled to one side by a caregiver who talked to me about the realities of forming unhealthy attachments to people. I would be tactile and clingy to men, most likely as a result of the neglect I had been subjected to via my own family. At this point I was more aware of this but still got drawn in very easily particularly by males of any age, who treated me nicely. Typically I didn't even know these people from a stranger on the street. It wasn't hard to gain my trust and condition me. I know I am lucky to be alive after all the situations I have either got myself into or found myself in. While this IS different, my point is I think all these experiences have served me well so far in my perspective as a parent and fortunately I am well aware of what can go on and regularly reflect on the past and count my blessings.

    Now with the internet, there is so much that can go on without us seeing it even with being extra vigelant. I think that's why as well as having boundaries and rules for safe use of technology, it is equally as important to educate children from an early age on the whys and wheres of the risks of internet use so they can be as best equipped as possible when faced with a tricky situation.

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