Cell Phone Monitoring: Tips on Ensuring Your Teenager is Safe and has the Freedom They Need

by Emma W.R. on September 7, 2016

These days, who isn’t on their cell phones 24/7? It’s evident that teenagers spend the majority of their time outside of school on their phones. But are they safe? Cell phone monitoring rules in families vary greatly, and it can be a difficult thing to balance. Here are tips on ensuring your teenager is safe and has the freedom they need.

Look into Family Plans

Family plans can be great on your wallet and also provide the essential parental monitoring you need for your children. I’d suggest looking into your current provider’s website for FAQ’s on cell phone monitoring and even reaching out to a customer service representative to fully understand how it works. Think about the restrictions you are putting in place and make sure they make sense, per your situation.

Establish and test trust

Remember, you want to ensure that your teenager has the freedom he/she deserves. Has trust been established? Is your teenager known to lie? These are questions to ask yourself as you put monitoring in place. As time goes on, you can test your teen’s freedom and see how it goes. For example, if cell phone curfew is 10PM on weekdays, extend to 10:30PM and see how it goes if your teenager has been doing well in school and has been extra helpful around the house. This is a great way for your teen to learn how to behave. The better they behave, the more freedom they receive.

Talk it out

Teenagers are known to lie a lot, I know. However, constant communication can really motivate your teenager to think twice before fibbing when it comes to cell phone use. Set up a biweekly meeting with your teen in order to establish rapport between you two. Whatever you do, don’t yell or drastically punish your teen for lying to you, but be firm as needed. Having an open dialogue with your teen in terms of what is acceptable and what is not is important.

Remember, it’s important to establish firm rules like this in your household but it’s important to revisit cell phone monitoring every year. Maintaining a balance of freedom and monitoring can be difficult, but it can be done.


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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Whitney February 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Finding a balance seems to get harder and harder as technology continues to improve and become more wide-spread. These were some helpful guidelines, but I’m still terrified about how to find the appropriate distance but also have my future kids be safe.


Barb January 17, 2017 at 10:10 am

My kids can have phones, but they know the phones go if they neglect schoolwork. They also aren’t allowed passcodes that I do not have.


Marilena January 16, 2017 at 12:13 pm

It blows my mind how young kids start getting phones now. Can you believe some kids in my daughter’s first grade class have IPHONES??


Melanie January 11, 2017 at 10:47 am

The rule in our house is no phones after dinner. I don’t want the kids to just sit texting friends all night when they need to do homework and rest and finish chores.


Alyssa January 10, 2017 at 10:21 am

My kids can have their phones once they have finished breakfast and I take them at 7PM. No need to be staying up all night on the phone. I think it is a fair compromise and they don’t argue with me on it.


Charley January 9, 2017 at 10:21 am

You could always not give them a phone. Good luck with that though haha 😉


Francis Quow October 14, 2016 at 10:44 am

I tell my kid to follow my rules. My monitoring of her cellphone isn’t a bad thing, it’s to keep her safe.


Amy C. October 14, 2016 at 10:37 am

My cell phone monitoring keeps my teenager on the straight and narrow.


Anthony Williams October 13, 2016 at 8:32 am

Very helpful tips. Taking my teenager cellphone shopping this weekend.


Carol October 12, 2016 at 8:12 am

Besides chatting with friends, my kid uses his cell phone to access social media. We have agreed on how to behave online by avoiding sharing certain content, not trusting strangers and being aware of the content he is accessing. My teenager is safe and has the freedom he needs and I have some piece of mind.


Maha Parkers October 11, 2016 at 2:14 pm

I have a young child…many years before a teenager but this is good reading to start thinking in trust terms. Good advice!


Patsy September 29, 2016 at 8:46 am

I trust my teenager, until he shows me he cannot be trusted. In this day and age, with so much violence being reported and happening on many a college campus, safety is my main concern. I need to be able to keep in touch with my teenager. My son knows the importance of his cellphone and sticks to the rules of usage.


Michelle September 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm

If I cannot trust my child for one reason or another, chances are they wouldn’t have a cellphone at all. You need to earn my trust before your given a luxury like a cell phone.


Nadia J. September 13, 2016 at 1:29 pm

I can attest to the fact that drastically punishing your teens can have the reverse effect you’re looking for. You want to send the signal that lying is a bad habit, but if you never trust them again sometimes it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where they don’t act trustworthy since they believe you’ll never trust them again anyway. It’s like walking a tightrope. I recommend giving them grace. This way they will do the same for others later in life when they feel betrayed.


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