Let’s discuss a challenging parenting topic- teaching your children cell phone manners.
You can find a lot 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 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, parents:
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 parenting task is difficult, 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. These apply to all cell phone use (even texting, scrolling, etc.):
- If you must use your phone in public, move away from people. Don’t invade their personal space.
- Your cell phone should not be visible at the dining table. Keep it in your pocket or your purse, or leave it elsewhere.
- 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 best and highest level 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.
Two examples to discuss with your kids:
1- You’re out for pizza with friends, and you all plan to go to a movie afterward, so you need to look up movie times. You can use your phone to look up the information, but tell who you’re with what you’re doing and include them in it.
2- You’re at a friend’s house and you are 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 following the Golden Rules of Cell Phone Manners.
Texting (and scrolling) while your with others can feel like you’re whispering a secret, and we all know whispering is rude!
Tips To Help You Teach Cell Phone Manners
The first step is acknowledging that teaching and requiring good cell phone manners will be a hard and long parenting battle.
Cell phone addiction is real and affects all ages. Cell phones are difficult for many adults to manage politely.
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 (a contract) that include your good manners standards and other parameters that you and your child sign. You can find examples of parent-child cell phone contracts with a Google search.
Evaluate your own cell phone use and manners. Kids notice when we are “do as I say, not as I do” role models!
If 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. This is a parenting marathon, not a sprint, so sprinkle the topic in during car rides, meal times, and such.
- 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 can you do to use your cell phone more politely and with consideration to others?
- 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? What clues do they give you? What is their body language like?
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 enjoy this beautiful day outside with 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 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, Kind, and Considerate 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.