cell phone rules...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ksm, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    difficult child wants to get a cell phone and has saved enough money to get a no contract phone. If she keeps her babysitting job (after school every other week) she should have enough money to do it. Not sure if she will be needed to babysit during the summer. She can get a plan for under $50 a month of unlimited talk, text and web.

    OK... now we need to discuss ground rules she can live with. I am sure she will think "since I am paying for it, I can do what I want." difficult child will be 15 in a couple of months. She is keeping her grades at an acceptable level. Things are a little better, but she still has an explosive temper when she doesn't get her way. Like tonight... she asks if friend can spend the night and do a movie marathon. I suggest friend coming over and staying until 11pm and then she goes home. In the past, overnights have not gone well. She got a little hostile... "That is not how I planned it... we would stay in the upstairs bedroom and watch old Disney movies til 10 or 11, then come downstairs and watch a bunch of 'Switched at Birth' episodes. When we didn't give in to the overnight... she asks, well what if she stays here til 11 and then we go to her house to spend the night. So I let her talk to friend, and friend asks her mom and the answer was no to everything. Getting the no from her friend didn't upset her... but us putting limits on things does.

    So, back to phone... my main rule that I can think of is... we get control of the phone at 10pm on school nights, and she gets it back once she is ready for school the next morning. I guess I can control WHEN she texts.. but I know it will be hard to control WHAT she texts. She does fb chat with "fb" friends and I do have the password so I am able to check on things. I have only checked twice in the last two months, but I am pretty shocked. She sends fb friend messages to guys and asks "Do I know you, do you go to my school?" I guess she has added so many friends of friends to fb that she doesn't really know them. And she is the one who almost always initiates the messages to the guys. And it is almost always the "I'm bored, what are you doing? can we hang out?' type messages. Some of the guys texts back things like... I used to go to your high school but I got kicked out... or something similar. So not the best type of people. We don't let her hang out with guys. If it was a school function then it is OK - like watching a football game, or a school activity. But her idea of hang out is "drop me off at the mall" or even wanting to get dropped off at a park several miles away. Nope. I know that the boyfriend thing is a typical teen... but she is unwilling to have a guy stop by the house... as that would be too embarrassing.

    Well, I keep getting sidetracked. Back to the phone. Other rules I can think of... you lose the phone... you have to replace it. Can't add money to the phone... too bad. Are most phones password protected? How would I keep track of things if something comes up and I feel like I need to see what/who she is talking to and planning?

    We see the therapist next week, and I want to have a list to take with me to discuss with difficult child and therapist at the same time. Thanks. KSM
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    If you're familiar with my story, you know that we have had HUGE problems with inappropriate messaging on fb and other sites. in my humble opinion, the problem with the phone (especially those with unlimited web) will be the ability to connect with anyone, any time....and make all kinds of dangerous arrangements right under your nose.

    At the moment - our cell phone rules are as follows:

    NO "unlimited web" plans. Yes, it is more expensive to pay for a certain amount of minutes each month....BUT it cuts back on the possibility of endless web chats with strangers.

    No cell phone in the bedroom. Phone stays in a public area of the house. You want to use the phone? You can do it where I can see you. (No sexting in MY house....thank you very much!)

    Cell phone is turned in to parents at any time, on demand. We catch you using the phone for inappropriate things....you lose it indefinitely.

    That's what we do. Hope this helps! Good luck!
  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    My 14 year olds just got REAL cell phones. Until now, they've had simple tracfones. They had to prove to me they could handle the responsibility of having a phone at all first. It was explained to me by a customer service person that "unlimited" plans really aren't unlimited otherwise they wouldn't sell cards for extra time. Be very careful to check the plan out thoroughly. I would be VERY hesitant to give a difficult child with (lack of) boundary "issues" unlimited web. THAT would scare me.

    As for OUR rules, they are turned off and left where I say when we are all home for the evening (we have no land line). They don't get turned on until school work is done. They don't need their phones for school at all. The school has phones students can use if needed. My kids are not allowed to delete ANY texts or even their call log unless I say they can. I am given full access to their phones at any time to check anything I want. Whether they pay for it or not, they are still minors and I will monitor everything. I can access most info through my cell phone company so I know if they have deleted anything that I don't know about before I see it.

    Yes, I am strict but they know they need to keep it clean because I WILL check whenever I want to. Having a cell phone is a privilege no matter who is footing the bill. Good Luck!
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There's no way we would allow the kids to pay for their own cell phone.
    That creates way too much "entitlement" attitude... if they are paying for it then they want to set the rules.
    We figured if we paid for it, we were allowed to set the rules... and the kids have been good about it.
    The only thing they pay for is if they go over the plan limits.

    They know we can do a "phone check" at any time. 24/7.
    We also track traffic on the accounts. (you're sending HOW MANY texts a day?)

    Ours do not have web enabled - one problem eliminated.
    Unfortunately, at least around here, "no camera" isn't an option, or we'd have done that too.
  5. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I don't think it necessarily gives them a sense of entitlement. A cell phone is a priviledge. If they choose to spend their money on a phone (or a skateboard, or a short skirt, or a video game) they STILL have to follow the household rules. There's no way I'm gonna to let my child do something I disagree with just because they found a way to pay for it. (Can you imagine having this conversation about drugs? But I used my own money!)
  6. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I'm with you DF. It also eliminates the "but you've been paying for it anyway" thing later when they lose their income and still want the phone.
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT had to turn her phone over to us at night. No web access (phones didn't do that back then!) but we had unlimited texting on our family plan. I agreed to replace the phone one time if something happened to it, but after that she was on her own. She replaced many a phone, too, either from her carelessness or temper or simply wanting a new phone and causing some "accident" to happen.
  8. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    huge fan of no phone after (preset time-9pm/10pm) when it then get turned over to you to keep in your room :)

    i'd also suggest you check the school rules....here we have a complete cell phone ban during school hours. it *will* be confiscated if they get caught during school. I don't know about yours, but i know mine would be the first.person.caught if she even attempted to use it (of course, judging by fb pix, plenty of kids are pretty good at not getting caught). you'd want to have strict rules that coincide with any policy....like the first time i have to go pick it up in the office, its mine.

    fingers crossed that she acts responsibly!
  9. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Our school is very lenient about cell phone use in the high school. On Thursday, I dropped by the school to drop off some sheet music that she needed right after school for her private voice lesson with the music teacher and asked them to let her know it was in the office. The secretary asked me if I could just text her! I think some teachers will make the kids keep the phone out of sight during exams, etc. If she gets it taken away for not following instructions, then I think I will let it set at school for a few days.

    It would be handy for her to have a cell phone for some things... I am just worried about how she will use/abuse it. She always has good intentions, but she is very ... uhh... spontaneous? when she gets distracted. She hasn't really got in any trouble or been a problem at school. But maybe because we do a lot of monitoring. KSM
  10. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    I'm on the side of no contract type cell phones for kids, EVER! There is no possible way to really limit, or control them at all as much as you think you are. Trust me when I say this. You just can't. Nor can you track or see what they are doing. You have no record of anything should anything every happen bad (whether your child does it or it is done to them).

    I have learned so much about this, and perhaps more then I wanted to now. If you knew what I now know, you wouldn't. And that's not to say that your child is not trustable on a different level then mine but it's a teenager and teenagers are bound to do things.

    Right now the program I am using (and I will need to use a different one for 1 of my difficult child's because it's not enough), I have access to block ANY application on the phone, I can time limit any application or the phone itself. I can see the calls, the messages, the website, ANY activity that is done. They can not change settings or uninstall it either. There is more but kids can and do delete stuff. You may want to think they will be honest but they are kids and kids will be kids.

    In a time like this, being naive at what you think your child "isn't" doing might end up being a bad thing. You'd be surprised what they really ARE doing! ;)
  11. greenrene

    greenrene Member

    We tried the strict monitoring, hand the phone over any time on demand, random checking, not allowed to delete texts, etc thing. My difficult child STILL tried in every way possible to get around the rules. She would pre-emptively delete texts, install apps but not the icon so she was on Twitter without us knowing, and on and on and on.

    I'm with Insane - there's no way I'd allow my difficult child to buy a phone/plan with her own money. She has boundary issues like your difficult child, and that can be really dangerous - when you described her messaging to people she doesn't really know, that literally gave me the shivers. It is NOT safe, and if she is prone to stuff like that, there is no way I'd let her have a phone, PERIOD, unless it was an Android phone that had the Mobile Watchdog software installed.


    Edited to add - my difficult child has no phone whatsoever now, after the **** hit the fan last summer. If she does get a phone (which based on her current grades, won't be anytime soon), then it will be an Android with Watchdog software. It's the only way (other than a company called Kajeet that also specializes in the monitoring stuff) to fully be in control.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, I do believe different kids, different rules. Although I know she is just being a boy crazy teen, I would check her phone with regularity to make sure she is making safe choices when she chats. That would be my #1 rule.
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I got a no contract phone but it has no internet. He can text but there is only a number key board and he struggles to use it at all for messages also, he is such a hoarder he doesn't delete anything. He is too into the number of minutes and running out and not at the level of being able to contact anyone yet since he doesn't have internet it is no biggie. BUT if he ever is ready for the real world type of internet phone (which I wlll do because I'd rather he learn with me) I will do as my sisters do and others here. He will contribute an amount per month and it will be a family plan so I have the parental controls, can track where he is and even if he deletes messages I will have the plan that saves them. If a child has never broken trust and is not a difficult child they still may sneak etc....but it is such a different thing with a difficult child who has such poor judgement etc.

    I have a no contract, unlimited everything phone myself. Yes everything is unlimited until the end of the month. I pay the same each month. data speeds slow after a certain time but never stop.

    I will switch to a contract family plan if Q shows he is ready for that next year. For now the little trac phone and three months worth of minutes cards seem to be working out.

    Good luck, if she already is showing that she contacts others this will only get worse I would think. She might get very good at deleting every message so you will never know.
  14. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Besides the dangerous messaging to strangers, you need to worry about her accessing porn as well as sending her own nude/sexual photos and videos out. in my humble opinion, the risk is so very high.

    We use mymobilewatchdog.com for Piglet's phone but I know the risk is still there that she could be sending inappropriate stuff over snapchat but she is a easy child and the chances are more minor. I can see every website she goes to, every google search she makes, every text that she sends and receives as well as every call.

    Tigger's phone cannot access the web and we used Verizon's usage controls to block the ability to send/receive photos and videos. He also has a limited window of time to call people each day. The phone will always work to call family or 911, but friends can only be called 3pm-6pm on weekdays and 10am-6pm on weekends.

    Eeyore is my difficult child. He currently does not have a cell phone. We've have tried and tried to teach him appropriate phone use but he just doesn't get it. Will he ever be able to have a real cell phone and web access? I don't know...some of the things he does could get him criminal charges for stalking because he just does not get that he is being inappropriate. Luckily, I have caught him before the girls parents got involved most times. The one time I didn't, I spoke to the girl and assured her that I would be blocking him from being able to contact her and gave her my number if her mom wanted to talk to me or if Eeyore bothered her at school. Her mom called (thankfully, she had a difficult child too so she got it and actually just wanted to know how to block stuff on the phones lol).

    I do have to say that I am impressed that your difficult child has earned that much money. That is awesome that she was able to do that! A great sign for the future!
  15. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member