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Teen Issues Topics..

You are here : home > Teen Issues > Teen Issues Related Articles > Teens and their First Cell Phone

Teens and their First Cell Phone

Do you have a teen that wants a mobile phone? Here are certain factors to take into consideration when settling on that first phone.

Priyangini had just finished a hectic week at work. She had spent a lot of time on her cell phone coordinating with her client, an event manger, and the press, for the launch of a client's new fashion line. She was marvelling at how well integrated the cell phone had become with her life. As she was musing over this, her teenage daughter Shilpi trooped into the kitchen where Priyangini was preparing dinner. After a lot of chit-chat, Shilpi finally gathered up her courage and blurted out, "Mom, can I please have a cell phone next month?" This put Priyangini in a dilemma. She was not sure if her sixteen-year-old daughter should have a cell phone or not.

Understanding the purpose

When giving your teen a cell or mobile phone the first thing a parent needs to understand is the motivation behind having the cell phone in the first place. Is it due to peer pressure and the fact that everyone has one? Will the cell phone primarily be used for making calls, instant messaging, or as a multimedia device? The other question is whether the cell phone is essential for your teen or not. Cell phones for teens have become more of a style statement or a status symbol nowadays. Teens often aspire to have cell phones just to fit in with the crowd.

Advantages of a cell phone

A cell phone is definitely a helpful device if used for the right purpose. It will allow your teen to keep in touch with you and notify you in case there is an emergency or if there is some kind of delay. It will also allow you to contact your teen, and to a certain degree allow you to keep tabs on his movements. This is especially useful if your teen has to commute a long distance to college or school. A cell phone will be highly useful for your teen especially if you have to co-ordinate pick ups from college.

Disadvantages of a cell phone

Watch out for your teen turning into a cell phone bully. Some teens are known to send intimidating messages to peers via SMS (short messaging services). Teens are also found to use cell phones to cheat on exams and tests. It is because of this that most schools and colleges have banned the presence of cell phones in exam halls.

Ensure that your teen's cell phone does not intrude on 'family quality time'. One way to do this is to set hours when your teens can use their cell phones while at home. Stress on the need for one-on-one communication in person even with friends. After all there is nothing like being physically present with friends. This will ensure that your teen doesn't spend most of the time glued to the cell phone.

Making your teen responsible

Make your teen responsible for the phone you give him. Ideally start your teen out with a pre-paid connection. This will help you ensure that they manage their talk time needs within their allowance. It will also ensure that your teen's cell phone usage habits do not burn a hole in your pocket!

Teaching your teen mobile etiquette is also essential. A teen needs to understand when it is rude to accept a call and the basic etiquette when doing so. Safety tips such as avoiding talking on the cell phone while driving or even when being a co-passenger are essential instructions for any teen. A study conducted by the Ford motor company stated that a teen driver is four times more distracted than an adult driver by cell phone use.

The first phone

Your teen's first phone should ideally be of a practical nature and not something that your teen can flaunt to 'keep up with the Joneses'. Choose an entry level phone that will be rugged enough to suit your teen. An entry level phone will ideally provide basic functionality such as SMS, phone book, calendar etc. This will allow your teen to keep in touch with family and friends via calls and messages. You can also encourage your teen to use the built-in personal information manager facilities. A phone with a camera, mp3 player, and WAP capabilities is not necessary as a starting phone for your teen. A simpler phone is less likely to be stolen and will meet the basic communication needs of your teen. Choose a common and widely available model that might make your teen's cell phone less attractive to thieves.

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Divya Palat.5 years ago
It all depends Tracy. Kids can be quite responsible. They just need help and support. They know their limits.
Tracy.5 years ago
I had given my son when he was in early teens. He just misused it. He just clicked photographs and listened to music. His studies suffered,
Gayastri.5 years ago
I do not know when to give the first cell phone to my kids. It has both merits and demerits. I am unable to decide...please help
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Discussion Forum - Recent Posts
Do you think that your teen uses his cell phone responsibly? Are cell phones a boon or bane for teenagers? Does a cell phone help a teen in socialising or is it an impediment? What methods do you use to prevent abuse?
I think if not necessary cellphone is not given to the kids. Many other things on cellphones can affect kids discipline. Their studies can be affected as they will spend more time playing games and ch...
Nowadays, a cell phone is nothing but a status symbol. Everyone is focussed on the features added instead of the actual phone....
I agree with you. Teenagers should not be given cell phones unless absolutely necessary. PCOs are good enough. I don' t buy this idea of ' what if something happens?' Remember that cell phone network...
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