Sunday, June 22, 2014

U.S. Cellular Helping Parents and Children Come To Agreement - #HelloBetter

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A recent U.S. Cellular survey found 39 percent of parents say they wish their children would talk to them instead of texting/emails or instant messaging them. I belong to that percentage.

I'm okay with my children texting or instant messaging me if the need warrants but I'm adamant that they don't depend on their computer or phone to relay every message they want to convey. I'm all for technology and the abundance of information that it affords but I also cherish good, quality time.

In another recent U.S. Cellular survey, respondents indicated that 13 was an appropriate age for a child to receive their first mobile phone, whereas five years ago this age was 15. With how busy our lives are, I have to also agree with this concensus. Even though I prefer my kids to talk to me face-to-face if they are able to, there have been several times that a mobile phone has come in handy when getting a hold of them. Our youngest child is 12 years old and just got her first cell phone within the last few months. She's a busy girl and I like that I can get a hold of her to discuss extracurriculars and schedules.

For parents who have just purchased a new mobile device for their child, U.S. Cellular recommends the following tips to help ensure their children’s usage is both safe and courteous:

Establish guidelines: According to the U.S. Cellular Better Moments survey, 72% of families have rules regarding child’s cell phone use. To help make this conversation as easy as possible for all parents, U.S. Cellular’s Parent-Child Agreement provides customizable suggestions on safety and etiquette that focus on creating better moments within families. The intention is to make this work for each individual family, and to show how technology can enhance time spent together as a family.

Set up their phone: Take the time to set up your child’s phone to ensure they only have access to phone features and apps that are appropriate for their age. The U.S. Cellular Family Protector App provides safety and security by allowing parents to block websites, restrict the downloading of applications, and more.

Monitor usage: Regularly checking in on your child’s mobile phone usage can ensure they are using their phone safely and responsibly. The Family Protector app allows parents to monitor call content including text messages, contacts and call history. It can also set schedules for usage to ensure children are not using their device at school and can also set time limits for using the internet once home.

Last year I went through U.S. Cellular’s Parent-Child Agreement with five of my children. Although they have each had a phone for a while, I printed out a Parent-Child Agreement and went over it with them. I already had rules in place for their cell phone use, but the Parent-Child Agreement opened up new conversations and messages, as well as gave me the opportunity to go over what rules we've discussed in the past. Each kid signed the agreement after we discussed it. The same scenario took place when Emma got her cell phone a few months ago.

U.S. Cellular will offer free Device Workshops in July that focus on this very topic. At the workshops, U.S. Cellular associates will offer families tips on setting phone guidelines and share suggestions to help with the decision of getting their child their first cell phone. For a list of Device Workshops in your area, visit www.uscellular.com/events.

Disclaimer: Between Nov. 15 and Dec. 2, 2013, 500 nationally representative online interviews were conducted among smartphone users in partnership with Maritz Research.
What age do you think is appropriate for a child to get their first mobile phone? I encourage you to print out and go over the Parent-Child Agreement with your kids. It will set up some ground rules and open up discussion.

1 comments:

Helga said...

Interesting figures. It is so important to establish the rules regarding cell phones and kids.