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Teens and Cell Phones: Advice For Dads

Responsible Cell Phone Use

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In today’s world of cell phone proliferation, there are some issues of importance about which we need to teach our teens. Having a cell phone includes taking personal responsibility for its use.

Don’t be a cyber-bully. Some teens are using their phones to send threatening messages or to intimidate others. Bullying or being mean with a cell phone, while less personal, is no less wrong.

Phones are no excuse to cheat. Teachers report an admittedly small but growing trend involving high school or college students using cell phone capabilities to cheat in school. From “texting” answers to tests to using a phone to search the web during a test, students are finding innovative ways to work the system. It is still dishonest, however the process is undertaken.

Cell phone cameras have rules too. With built in digital cameras or digital recorders built in to cell phones, the temptation can be to secretly take photos or capture video clips. Invading someone's privacy is still wrong, whether it is using a cell phone or not. Teach them that privacy and ethics are important. And you or your teen may be liable if a privacy law is breached.

Be concerned about their own privacy. Beware of giving out a cell number broadly, or communicating by text message, instant message or email on the phone. The same rules you would apply to internet chat rooms should apply to the cell phone.

Driving safety is important. The media has warned us time after time about the dangers of talking on the phone will driving. Your state or local community may even have laws that restrict that privilege. Requiring them to use a hands free device or a speakerphone function when driving is a minimum. It’s better if they have to pull over to use the phone.

Consider a contract. Much like you will have to sign a contract for your son or daughter’s cell phone, require them to sign a contract with you as to how the phone will be used, who will pay for what, and the consequences of failing to keep their end of the bargain.

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