This Christmas my middle child got a smart phone, not an expensive one, but they have come down in price and she attends a primary school that lets students use them!
I have several rules in no particular order:
- When going to bed they are put in the blue box in the kitchen, turned off (goes for their friends during sleep overs) - I put mine there when not using it to
- I can go through their messages when I want and contacts - they can look at mine if they want - no secrets!
- I will block people if necessary
- Nothing should be sent in a text that I can't read
- If they receive a text that is not nice or they are not sure of, to show me
- Must ask to access the internet
- Whilst it is theirs, everything they own belongs to me (This is something I heard on Nigel Latta http://goldfishwisdom.org/ )- so I can take it at any point if they are miss-using it or as a consequence
For my middle child I have since discovered this awesome app : Vodafone Guardian it lets you manage how they use a smart phone. I can limit the hours of usage, block sites like Facebook and Twitter as she is under 13. It has a heap of features and even send the guardian a text if the settings get changed! I highly recommend it. I told my child "It is not because I don't trust you. It is because I want you to be as safe as possible whilst learning how to use it, I want to try to minimize text bullying and unwanted calls. I don't want you feeling awkward if another child wants to use your phone for YouTube or Facebook. You can just tell them your mum blocked it from the phone." At the moment she is happy, she can use it as she wants to and it gives me a degree of peace of mind.