Parenting | The Smartphone Debate

Cell phone ownership is a hot topic these days.

Opinions vary about digital freedom, and everyone has their own set of rules. Common ground is rare with this conversation, right?

At some point, young or old, kids will have their own devices. — It’s a step forward in growing up. Networking and independence evolve; emotional current has its way with parents. (I know I’m not alone in the struggle. Families are all trying their best here, we hope.)

This is a controversial topic, but can I just say this…the conversation too often points to the wrong concern. Society has become so focused on age-appropriate freedom, bu tis time really the resolveIt doesn’t matter how old a person is, smartphones can get anyone in trouble!

We should think more about how we use them, not necessarily when. We have freedom to dumb-down these little pieces of metal, and we should. A smart phone doesn’t have to unlock every door. Boundaries are the greatest concern.

Parents, can we ask this instead. “How do I use phone ownership (or lack of) to guide my child toward healthy, capable independence in our technology-driven society?”

Do you agree? Isn’t “healthy responsibility” the ultimate goal?

How many years do we count before these little people reach adulthood? Until then, they can’t fend alone with stuff. As parents, we have to be involved, — concerned, accountable, & committed. We have to walk this journey together. Literally, give freedoms one at a time. Don’t go all-in! But don’t go all-out either.

Technology is a constant part of life, we know. Essentially, everywhere we go, opportunity is nearby. These years of parenting are critical for support with digital accountability. And avoidance doesn’t build muscle.

For us and for our kids, let’s ask. How do we respond, and how do they? What kind of character strength do we need here? 

When to give the phone is just a conversation starter. At some point, parents, we must unharness and trust our kids. At some point. But, remember this is a journey. Don’t let go too soon.

Here are some ways we can build accountability and establish boundaries for screen safety. What would you add?

  • Eliminate mature content. (Restrictions password, replacement browsers, etc.)
  • Monitor interactions/texts/and other messages.

  • Filter whatever you make available.

  • Turn off the Internet on mobile screens. Save it for a computer in safe view.

  • Limit password freedom.

  • Set restrictions with a unique password for ratings and other safety on mobile screens.

  • Keep downloads a privilege.

  • Get rid of YouTube and other social media apps until the timing is right, or until you have a safe way to offer it.

  • Research your concerns and find answers.

  • If you can’t make it safe, opt out.

  • Pray. (This one’s a huge priority for me.)

  • And of course, keep communication lines open.

I’ll end here. Parents, please no judging. Everyone needs encouragement with choices that are made. You are not alone. It’s a challenge for all of us!

Look around. 

Every. Parent.

Is. On. This. Journey.

 

Saying a prayer for those who read this. As always, thank you for being here!

Together We Thrive ~ Ayme