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An Easy, Free Way To Set Your Child’s Cell Phone Rules

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This post is sponsored by LifeLock. Please visit The Smart Talk for more tips on how prepare your kids to develop healthy online habits.

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My daughter has had a smartphone since starting middle school earlier this year. We’ve talked a lot about online safety and behavior, but the conversations are somewhat random. I let them come up naturally when we’re already talking about something related, and I’m going to keep doing that, because much like the so-called “sex talk,” there shouldn’t be just one “tech talk.” It’s an ongoing conversation that needs to keep evolving as Fiona gets older.

But there are so many topics to cover, I worry that we haven’t covered them all! That’s where The Smart Talk comes in. The National PTA teamed up with LifeLock to create The Smart Talk, an online toolkit to help parents craft an agreement with their kids about how they will use their cell phones. (Not sure whether or not your child is ready for a smartphone? Here’s a handy guide to help you decide.)

My daughter and me and The Smart Talk

Last night I sat down with Fiona for about ten minutes and we were led through a very thorough and organized checklist of topics, covering everything from privacy settings and passwords to respect and hurt feelings. The best part is that there’s no membership or sign-up required, and the whole process is free.

We started out by putting in our names, and then we went through a checklist of items, discussing each one. Since Fiona already has a cell phone we knew the answers for a lot of the items immediately, but there were a few that we hadn’t really nailed down yet, like not sharing birthdays online. I really liked the process because it was collaborative, while still keeping me in charge.

The Smart Talk screenshot

There were also some helpful items for me, such as agreeing not to overreact if Fiona needs to talk to me about something important. That’s critical, because the most important thing is that Fiona continues to come to me when there’s a problem.

Once we were finished we printed the agreement out, and we both signed it. I put in in a folder in our dining room with Fiona’s other important papers, easily accessible. It’s really handy to have all of the smartphone rules in one place, so that Fiona and I can reference them (and she can’t claim that we didn’t talk about something).

My daughter signing The Smart Talk contract

Do your children have cell phones? How are you handling the rules?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of KidzVuz blogger network. Opinions expressed here are my own.

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Sara at Saving For Someday

Thursday 11th of February 2016

Kids and smartphones definitely add to the stress of parenting today. It doesn't help when we log on and are fed endless articles about the horror stories related to apps and games and forums that kids are using. It's really good to have written rules, and I really like the "mom won't overreact" one. That's good for them, but also for us as a reminder that we need to be available for our kids and have a level head so we can give them good advice or even just list and help them make good choices.

Amy Oztan

Thursday 11th of February 2016

I know that I especially need the "won't overreact" one!

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