Smartphone etiquette – six things you need to teach your children

It’s safe to say that in modern society nearly everyone has access to a smartphone. So, it’s probably unsurprising to most that more and more children are growing up with a handheld device from a young age.

In fact, it’s likely that as they get older, their smartphone will become one of their main methods of communication with friends and family. 

So how can you ensure that your children are using their phone responsibly and respectfully? To help you, Carphone Warehouse has identified the new rules to texting, so you can teach your children how to successfully navigate the world of onscreen interactions.

1) Abbreviations are not welcome   

A text that reads: “Hi hun, NVM. LMK if we’re still on for 2nit. ILYSM <3”, might take about 20 seconds to text but the recipient shouldn’t have to spend 10 minutes deciphering the code you’ve just sent them.

Carphone Warehouse’s study discovered that 33% of people found text speak annoying – and it’s easy to see why. Encouraging your kids to avoid unnecessary abbreviations is a great way of allowing them to practise their language skills outside of the classroom (whilst keeping you sane in the process).  

2) Stay safe online

In the current social climate, we have almost unlimited access to anything and anyone online – which, is not always a good thing. All it takes is a “Friend Request” from a stranger for a young person to be connected to an unsavoury character online, so making sure you know who your child is talking to is important. 

You can do this by sitting down with them and outlining the dangers of publicising personal information online, as well as explaining the importance of keeping social media privacy settings on and not befriending people they’ve met online.

Keeping communication open and discussing online security regularly will help your children feel comfortable sharing any issues that arise.

3) Watch what you post on social media

Unlike the spoken word – which can disappear into thin air – photos, messages and videos are nearly impossible to remove once they’re posted and can be downloaded, copied and shared by anyone.

Teach your children that having access to the internet is a privilege and a responsibility, so if they’re not comfortable for everyone and anyone to have access to what they’re sharing, then they shouldn’t post it.

Or, if they are unsure about what they should and shouldn’t be sharing, encourage them to check with you before doing so. 

4) Don’t break up by text

It’s inevitable that as time goes on, your children will get older and will be forced to navigate the tricky world of dating. With the rise of technology, it’s common for relationships to bloom through text messages, but if things come to an end, breaking up with someone via text is not the way to go.

In fact, 3 out of 5 Brits (63%) think that breaking up with someone over SMS is a big no-no. 

A sign of not just ‘good’ smartphone etiquette, but also good dating advice in general, is for youngsters to put the phone down and acknowledge the situation with sensitivity. A face-to-face conversation is what people deserve. 

5) Make time for the real world

Smartphones can be addictive, so setting limits on how much time your young ones spend on their smartphones will be beneficial for everyone. In fact, this shouldn’t be a rule for just your children, but for you, too.

Making certain times and places phone-free – for example, at the dinner table, before bedtime and during school hours – means you’ll get to enjoy some meaningful interaction with your kids while they’re not plugged into their phones. 

6) Interact with people in real life

Our handheld devices can often feel like the be-all and end-all of our lives, but it can’t replace face-to-face interactions or spending quality time with people.

The simple act of encouraging your children to call you or other family members, instead of text, helps them to learn how to initiate a conversation.

It’s also a good idea to reiterate the importance of offering someone your undivided attention whilst speaking – a trait that can often be forgotten with constant mobile phone use. 

Help your children stay safe online

The reliance on mobile phones in today’s world is becoming more and more evident – and will no doubt increase in your children’s lives, too. Setting rules and teaching them the appropriate smartphone etiquette early on is important.

Not only will these rules help to keep your kids safe online, but it will maximise the opportunities and value that mobile phones can offer. 

Want to read more about screen time and protecting your child online? Check out these articles:

Photo by Eugene Chystiakov