Let’s talk about a challenging parenting topic- teaching your children cell phone manners.
You can find lots of information on the internet about which phone is the right choice for your child, which apps are the best for monitoring your child’s cell phone use, and even printable contracts to use to govern your child’s cell phone use-
-there is no mention of how to teach your children cell phone manners.
So, this post is about which cell phone manners to teach your children and how to do so.
Why is this an important topic?
Check out these statistics:
In a recent survey, 59% of respondents said they’d rather go to the dentist than have to sit next to someone using a cell phone. 😂
Researchers have found that rude cell phone manners are the #1 etiquette related complaint in the United States, with most of us encountering rude cell phone behavior every single day!
There’s no doubt about it; cell phones seem like a necessary evil and they are everywhere! The average age to get a first cell phone is 10.3 years old.
Here’s a little tough love for you, Mom.
If you provide your child with a cell phone, then it’s your responsibility to teach them how (and also to require them) to manage it wisely with good manners.
Kids will not do so on their own.
This is a difficult parenting task but I’m here to help you!
Exactly Which Cell Phone Manners to Teach your Children
Here are the Golden Rules of Cell Phone Manners:
- If you must use your phone in public, move away from other people. Don’t invade their personal space. This applies to any use of your phone, even texting.
- Your cell phone should not be visible at the dining table. Keep it in your pocket, your purse or leave it somewhere else.
- When you’re in public, keep your ringer and notifications on silent.
- Don’t use your phone during ceremonies which includes weddings, graduations, funerals, and other important events.
Did you notice I titled these the Golden Rules?
Gold is the very best and highest level that we should all strive for with our cell phone manners.
Is it ever okay to use your phone when you’re with other people? Or at the dining table?
Yes, it is. As long as:
1- You are in a casual setting.
2- You include who you are with in what you’re doing on your phone.
You’re out for pizza with friends, and you all are planning to go to a movie afterward so you need to look up movie times. Use your phone to look up the information but tell who you’re with what you’re doing and include them in it.
You’re at a friend’s house, and you’re anxious to hear how your dad is doing after he was at the doctor’s that day. Tell who you’re with about it and let them know you’ll be watching for a text from him. Then they understand the situation and know why you’re checking your phone.
Your cell phone use should be determined by who you’re with, where you are, and what you’re doing while always doing your best to follow the Golden Rules of Cell Phone Manners.
Texting (or any other phone activity) in front of other people can feel like you’re whispering a secret and we all know whispering is rude!
How to Teach Cell Phone Manners to your Children
The first step is to acknowledge that teaching and requiring good cell phone manners is going to be a hard and long parenting battle.
Cell phone addiction is real and affects all ages. Cell phones are difficult for many adults to politely manage. A child’s logical thinking isn’t fully mature and developed until about age 25! So, be patient.
It’s up to you to set clear limits, make them known, and enforce them.
Consider using a written set of rules that include your good manners standards (like a contract) that you and your child agree to and sign. You can find examples of parent-child cell phone contracts with a Goggle search.
Evaluate your own cell phone use and manners. Kids are quick to notice when we are “do as I say, not as I do” role models.
If you find you need to improve your cell phone manners, talk with your family about it and set some goals. Make it a family project. You can work on your cell phone manners together!
Discuss the Golden Rules and the other points listed above with your family, perhaps at dinner. Conversation and awareness are the first steps to engaged learning.
Take turns discussing these questions:
- Have you ever been with someone who made you feel like their “screen” was more important than you? How did you feel? What can you do to be sure you don’t make others feel this way?
- What do you think you can do to use your cellphone in a more polite and considerate way?
- Are there any other rules you’d add to the list of Golden Rules? Any you would change?
- Do you agree with this quote, “One of the best gifts you can give someone is your undivided attention.”? Why or why not?
- How does someone know you’re truly listening and paying attention to them?
Here’s the tough part. Proactively observe and monitor your child’s cell phone behavior. It will be hard not to nag and show your frustration but patience and persistence are key. Do your best to come from a place of care when you’re correcting.
- “When I saw you at the park with your friends sitting on a bench playing with your phone, I was sad because I hoped you’d be enjoying the sunshine and your friends. What was up with that?”
- “Remember we’re all working on using our cell phones in a more considerate way, please put it away while we’re in the car together so we can have some quality time. I really want to hear about your day!”
You’ve got this, mom! It’s a hard battle but worth fighting.
For more help with your family’s manners, get my free guide, The Busy Moms Guide to Raising Confident, Considerate, and Mannerly Kids. It’s my five best tips and tricks to help you teach your children good manners at home in a fun and stress-free way. Plus, I’ll share simple manners lessons to use at home.