Cellphones in schools
WHETHER your kid is heading to school toting a brand- new device or is already a cellphone pro, you want everyone on the same page about the dos and don’ts. You can keep an eye on kids at home ( kind of ), but at school, they’re on their own. As with any kind of boundary setting, these conversations can be tense. Fortunately, there are only five rules for them to remember – and one for you, to show that you’re all in this together.
Here are five key guidelines for cellphone carrying kids:
1 Respect the school’s rules. Some schools permit students to use their phones at certain times, sometimes not at all. Abusing this privilege – like, by texting during a test or playing Pokemon GO in school – could get your phone taken away and possibly jeopardise your classmates’ freedom. Only use your phone when you’re allowed to on school grounds.
2 Pick up when it’s parents calling. Ugh, why can’t they just text like everyone else? Sometimes mum or dad needs to talk to you. It’s probably very important, so don’t send it to voicemail.
3 Ask permission before downloading anything. Even if you have your own app store account, get sign off on any apps you download. If something has in- app purchases, those costs could wind up on your parents’ bill – so they need to know about those extra charges. They also need to make sure it’s age appropriate and reasonably good for you.
4 Don’t flaunt it. Owning a cell phone is a privilege that not every kid has access to. It’s OK to be proud of your phone but showing off could make other people feel bad. Also, it could get stolen.
5 Use your phone for good, not evil. You’ll see all kinds of misbehaviour and mischief regarding phones in school. Be respectful and responsible with yours. Ask permission before taking someone’s picture. Take a moment to consider whether a text or video could hurt, annoy, or embarrass someone else. Turn off the phone when you’re supposed to. Don’t let the phone be more important than someone standing right in front of you.
And here’s our essential rule for parents:
Don’t text your kid during the school day. Unless it’s a real emergency – like, you’re going to the hospital – resist the urge to text your kid during the school day. Kids have survived for many, many years without talking to their parents while they’re at school – and they need to be allowed independence. And if your kid texts you, make sure he’s not breaking any rules to do so.