Phone Rules for Teens and Tweens

Phone Rules for Teens and Tweens. Examples of effective parameters and rules parents can set for phone use and screen time. My kids think I’m a fascist, but I don’t care – these rules work.

Do you still argue with your kids about their phone usage and screen time or have you given up the struggle? Believe me, sometimes I’m tempted to shrug my shoulders. It’s so easy to not do anything as opposed to drudge up another argument about my kids having “something better to do.” I wish I didn’t have to battle, but I do. If I didn’t, their smart phone usage would interfere with school, their concentration, their sleep, and even social life. I’m not proud of the phone rules for teens I’ve had to implement, I wish my teens could handle it. Trust me, they can’t.
Just a few years ago I was writing columns like “Should You Buy Your Child A Tablet” or “Should You Buy Your 12 Year Old A Phone.” Now, you can’t go to a dentist office waiting room without seeing a 2 year old swiping away in the waiting room, and… what 8 year old now doesn’t have a phone? Those that are familiar with OCM for a while know that I’ve been harping on my kids’ screen time and media usage for years. Don’t believe? Check out laundry list of rants in phone rules and media in related articles (below). I’ve come up with some effective rules over the years. Hopefully these rules can help you if you’re having the same problems I had with my kids & their phones.

Phone Rules for Teens and Tweens

Phone Rules for Teens and Tweens #1 – NO BEDROOM USE
They can only use their phones in the living room, kitchen or open area of the house (no bedrooms / no basement). Same rule applies with laptops.
Phone Rules for Teens and Tweens #2 – LIMITED USE
School days from 6p-10p unless they’re setting up plans for sports or an event or something.
Phone Rules for Teens and Tweens #3 – SUMMER USAGE
NO tv, video games, computer time (YouTube videos), tablet or cell phone apps before 6p every day through the entire summer. Again, unless they’re setting up plans for sports or an event. I’ll let them check their phone for “important” texts regarding plans with friends, etc.
Phone Rules for Teens and Tweens #4 – USING THEIR PHONE AS YOUR LEVERAGE
I use their phone lust to my advantage. Chores and homework always get done or their phones go away for a LONG time – and they know this.
Phone Rules for Teens and Tweens #5 – ENFORCEMENT
This rule is the most important! It’s easier to do and say nothing than to enforce phone rules. Stay vigilant! There have been a few times where I’ve taken both of their phones away. I’ll hear them laughing, playing board games or video games together. They’ll even take the dog for a walk or play outside. I can even ALMOST get them to admit that the stuff they do without their phones makes them more happy than the idiocy of having their faces pressed into a phone all evening – but it’s business as usual (zombies) when they get their phones back.
See related posts below for more articles on kids & media.
Do you have any phone rules for teens and tweens that work in your household?

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