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Ring a Ding Ding:  Your Teen's Cell Phone

If you are reading this article your teen probably already has a cell phone.  If not, you have no doubt had plenty of time to consider the issue and have made your decision.
 
So, since your teen has a phone, the first question to answer is, "Who owns it?"  The person who bought the phone owns and controls it.  However, the person who pays for the cell phone service controls when it can be used.  These distinctions are important because they establish that, even if your teen bought his own phone, you still get to control when he can use it because it is part of your service plan.  That means that if you want to ground him from phone use you have every right to do so.

The other issue that you want to discuss with your teen is cell phone etiquette.  Here are some good ground rules for both talking and texting.

  • Never use your cell phone when you are with someone else.
  • If you must use your phone when other people are around, excuse yourself and step a few steps away from them.  Keep you call as short as possible and then apologize again when you return to them.
  • Keep your ring tone turned as low as possible so that only you can hear it.
  • Never use your phone during any meal in any place.
  • Never talk on your cell phone when driving.  This is not just a matter or manners, but of law.  Most adults can manage phone conversations using a hands free device but most teens can't.
Encourage your teen to practice this sort of good behavior from the beginning and we may see a return to responsible communication in our lifetime.

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