This is post was written in collaboration with Verizon. However, all opinions are my own.
There’s no way around it, eventually, your kids will ask you for a cell phone and it will happen sooner than you thought. It’s probably happened already. However, there’s no need to panic, getting your kids their first smartphone can be an exciting and painless process for everyone.
I’m super excited to share with you all about Verizon’s Family Tech Initiative because they have made the process of getting my youngest child’s first phone easy for our family. Verizon’s Family Tech initiative offers new and innovative tools to monitor your child’s cell phone usage as well as a great array of devices and different options when it comes to unlimited plans so that you can choose what’s best for your tween or teen. Verizon’s Family Tech Initiative also has great articles and videos with advice for parents, which has been very helpful.
We didn’t have these tools and resources when we got a phone for our daughter but now with our son, the process has been a lot easier because we have Verizon as a partner and because we have learned some valuable lessons along the way. So, I wanted to share with you some things I wish I had known when I was getting my oldest kiddo her phone.
Balancing digital and family life doesn’t have to be a battle.
Taking a kid’s phone away or trying to over-manage their time on their devices may backfire. We learned this the hard way. For us, it has been a learning process but we have come to understand that cell phones are an integral part of our lives and of our kids’ lives too. Setting limits should not turn into a battle if you discuss how to use the cell phone responsibly as a family. Although there will be rules that are specific to the kids we also have rules that we all follow: like putting our cell phones down during family meals and not using our cell phones after hours. Teaching by example is the best way to encourage positive behaviors around technology. I have to admit this is not always easy to do but it has been a game changer!
Setting up ground rules is important is important and creating a contract is a great way to do it. We found that even before creating the contract the most important thing is to talk to your kids about your concerns and your expectations. Teenagers want to be treated like adults so making them part of those discussions and conversations about your concerns around their screen time makes them active partners. Remember that there are still no tried and true rules when it comes to screen time, technology is a central part of today’s modern world and we did not have the experiences that our kids are having. We have created a contract that applies to both cell phone use and screen time and we discussed this with both kids. As they grow they have different needs and also can be given more responsibility so it’s important to tailor your contract to your child’s needs, age and personality as some kiddos are more responsible than others!
Getting the right service is key.
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a cell phone service for your kids. We love that Verizon has the parental controls we need and that it also lets you control their data so that they don’t go over. We found the Verizon’s Family Tech page very useful throughout this process and one of my favorite things is that you can choose the plan that is right for everyone in your family by mixing and matching Verizon’s available plans, all in one account.
Getting your kid’s cell phone doesn’t have to be something you worry about.
I used to think that getting my kids cell phones would bring so many issues and that the phones would be a source of stress. However, I have found that getting my teen a cell phone has actually been something very positive. Now that my teen has a cell phone I no longer have to stress about where she is thanks to services like Verizon’s Family Locator with GPS tracking. One of my favorite services is Verizon FamilyBase which lets you see who your kids are texting and calling, control how much data they’re using and you can even remotely lock their phone. This last feature comes in really handy for ensuring they’re not up after-hours using their phone or getting distracted with their phone at school or during homework time. My kid’s phones have become great tools for scheduling their week by using scheduling apps and setting up reminders, which in turn has made my life easier. Its been a win-win situation for us all!
If you’re considering getting your child or teen a cell phone be sure to check out Verizon’s Family Tech Initiative, you’re sure to find the device and plan that is right for your child along with lots of great info and advice to help you through the process!