From time to time, parents ask if we can help enforce the rules they set for using mobile phones. We can make it more likely that kids will use their phones responsibly, but the most important thing is to set clear expectations about what’s acceptable. If you haven’t already established ground rules, expect some unwelcome surprises!
If young children have cell phones, parents need to be aware of who they’re talking to. Use the Blocklist to identify numbers that can reach your kids, or you can block every number that’s not already a trusted contact. When unapproved numbers call, our app will pick up and hang up the line automatically.
Mr. Number stores a history of phone activity and keeps a list of the Top 25 numbers that call and text most frequently. We also display the #1 contact from the last 30 days, along with alerts about calls that haven’t yet been returned. With these features, you can see who your children talk to at a glance.
A recent study reports that children aged 12 to 17 send a median of 60 text messages each day, with older girls sending about 100! Following a budget is a great skill to learn when we’re young, which is why you and your kids can easily track the number of text messages and call minutes used in the last 30 days.
Some parents collect their kids’ phones during homework time, but our app makes that unnecessary. To reduce homework distractions, use Availability to select Voicemail mode, then create a custom message like “studying for Spanish test.”
If you activate “Send text back to callers,” when a friend calls or texts your child, the call will go straight to voicemail and the caller will automatically receive a text message.
Availability also reduces distractions while driving. We recently heard from a nervous dad whose daughter just got her license. Our suggestion? Ask her to set Availability to Silent whenever she’s behind the wheel. If she sticks with the practice, she’ll be one of the least-distracted drivers in her social set.
According to one mom we talked to, eliminating constant reminders about not using the phone in the car or during homework/dinner time avoids mutually annoying conversations and promotes mutual trust and respect. It’s certainly worth a try!
One last note: apps update constantly with new features, including ours. If your kids use communications apps, check in with them every now and then to see what’s new or changed.
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