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Cellphone rules for kids that will keep them safe and you sane

Jeanne Sager is parenting and living editor for SheKnows. A photographer, social media junkie, and crazed mom to an even crazier kid, she's strung words together for TheStir.com, Babble.com, Parents, Kiwi Magazine, and others.

'Mom, I want a cellphone' — How to make rules that will keep kids safe

So, it has happened. Your kid has come to you begging for a cellphone, and you're not sure you can hold out any longer.

Considering that 53 percent of kids now get their first cellphone at age 6, you're not the only parent getting the old, "But Mom, all my friends have one" guilt trip. Which is exactly what makes it all the harder to sit your child down for a real heart-to-heart on what it means to have an expensive gadget in his or her hands.

From eye strain to neck strain to childhood obesity, scientists are linking more and more issues to Americans being tethered to their mobile phones. But they're not going away, and let's face it: There are advantages to having kids who can be contacted when they're out and about.

More: Is too much screen time having a negative impact on our children's development?

So how do you balance the convenience with the potential for catastrophe? The folks at non-profit Common Sense Media now have a host of helpful tips for parents on safe cellphone use for kids.

Different rules work for different families, but before you hand over that phone, make sure you and your kids are clear on the procedures for:

  • Texting
  • Calling
  • Taking pictures
  • Apps and downloads
  • Posting

You can view the rest of the Common Sense Cellphone Parenting Tips on their site, including a breakdown of issues per age group.

More: Does your teen need a cell phone?

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