Ages Teens (age 13+), Cellphones, Ages Tweens (age 10-12)

What are the basic safety rules for cell phones?

By Common Sense Media

Parents: Discuss these basic safety rules before you give your kid a cellphone.


  • Be respectful, both to the people you're texting with and those around you.
  • Be careful. Assume that even private texts can become public.


  • Verify the caller or texter. Don't respond to numbers you don't know.
  • Always answer the phone when it's Mom or Dad!

Taking pictures

  • Ask permission before you snap someone's picture, take a video, or forward a photo.
  • Don't publicly embarrass people. Don't post someone's photo -- especially an unflattering one -- from your phone without their permission.

Apps and downloads

  • Manage costs. Make sure your kids understand that they're spending real money when they download apps, games, and music. Consider giving them an allowance for downloads or password-protecting the download function.
  • Use parental controls. Depending on the age of your kid, consider using the settings to filter out age-inappropriate content, restrict downloads, and prevent in-app purchases.


  • Be selective, not impulsive. Make sure kids know to be very choosy about what they post from their phones.
  • Be safe. Explain the risks involved in using location services.

© Common Sense Media. All rights reserved.

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