Mobile parenting

I especially liked Nos. 4 and 6 in Marian Merritt's blog post about how parents can help their kids keep mobile phone use safe and affordable. If you use cellphone parental controls (she speaks to those, and I wrote about them last May here), "tell your child you are installing and using parental controls and show them the details on what you'll be limiting." She adds that this is not the time to be spying on your child." I agree, for the simple reason that, if you did monitor them surreptitiously and found something untoward, you'd have to talk with them anyway, and then it'd be really hard to keep anger and communication breakdown at bay. There is one exception, though: If your child is spending an unusual amount of time online and is being secretive and uncommunicative, monitoring software might be justified to ensure s/he's not at risk. For more on mobile parenting, see our "Cellphone Safety Tips" at A couple of other posts on the subject: "Teen uber-texters" and "Cellphone etiquette."

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