Stop. Look around. Where are you?
How are you reading this newsletter? If you are on your phone, are you aware of your surroundings and are you being responsible? Poland recently introduced a law that bans mobile phone use when crossing the road - are you modelling this so that your child emulates you? Do you use your phone responsibly in the car? Do we always model the best behaviour to our children when it comes to phone use?
What did responsible phone use look like when you were a child? Times have changed as we know, but some things will be the same. Being dependent on the phone for social communication as a teen? Guilty! So, it wasn't a mobile phone for me, however our children are more connected to their friends at earlier and earlier ages even though many of the apps are not designed to be used by primary children. Spending too much money on horoscope premium rate numbers? Guilty! Different times again but our children use a lot of data on their phones without thinking about how it is paid for.
At what age do you consider your child really responsible enough to own a phone and look after it? Responsibility comes with a series of choices. Will there be consequences if they lose it or damage it? Will they remember to charge it so you can contact them if you need to? Are we teaching them to look after their property and that it will not be replaced repeatedly if it is broken or lost? You could choose to set family rule and boundaries for mobile phone use to help your child manage this responsibility.
Finally, one more aspect of responsible phone use is also extremely topical. Screen usage is increasing and can have both a positive and negative influence on wellbeing. Have you had a conversation with your child about responsible use of their phone when connected to the internet? This includes not connecting to an unsecured WIFI network, not sharing personal information with strangers and not sharing and forwarding images of another child, which is a form of cyberbullying.
Teaching our children responsible phone use does mean we need to try not to be hypocritical. Telling your child to put down their phone and engage in other activities means we should too.
Try an experiment this weekend - put your phone away for a whole day!
Read more advice for parents here:
YEAR 5 JUPITER CLASS TEACHER
YEAR 5 LEARNING LEADER