Sample List of Rules for Your Teen's Electronics

Create clear rules for your teen's cellphone use.
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Technology can be a wonderful tool for teenagers. But, without appropriate guidance, electronics can also be dangerous. From online predators to internet addiction, teen's face real hazards in the online world.

It's important to establish guidelines that will help your teen make healthy decisions with their smartphones, laptops, and video games.

Create a list of written rules that clearly outline your expectations. Explain the negative consequences for breaking the rules ahead of time so your teen isn’t surprised when you take away privileges.

Here is a sample list of electronics rules for teens that you may want to consider adopting in your home:

1. No Texting During Meals

Teach your teen respectful cell phone etiquette by saying no texting or using electronics during meals. Instead, make family meals about conversing with one another. Make it clear to your teen that ignoring the people in front of you while you scroll through your phone is impolite.

2. The TV Stays Off During Meals

Limit screen time by turning off the television during meals. Don't use the TV as background noise as it can become a bad habit for everyone in the family.

3. No Screen Time Until Homework and Chores are Complete

A rule that makes teens take care of their responsibilities first is a good way to teach self-discipline. Use screen time as a privilege that can be enjoyed after the work is done.

4. Turn Off Electronics at a Specific Time Each Night

Establish a rule about when electronics should be shut off for the night. Late night screen time can interfere with your teen's sleep habits. Encourage your teen to read a book or enjoy some family conversation before bed.

5. No TVs Allowed in Bedrooms

Allowing your teen to have a TV in his bedroom will only encourage him to watch a lot of TV and it will be nearly impossible to monitor what he’s watching and how much.

6. Keep Computers in Public Areas

Keeping computers in public areas in the home can go a long way to protecting your teen in many ways. It can provide you the reassurance that your teen isn’t accessing inappropriate content and it can also help you to track what activities your teen is partaking in online.

7. Parents Are Allowed Passwords

Sometimes it makes sense for a teen to give you their passwords to their accounts. You can assure them that you won’t check those accounts unless you have reason to believe that something inappropriate is happening. You can also set rules, such as telling your teen that he needs to be friends with you on Facebook and that he can only accept friend requests from people he knows personally.

8. Turn Cellphones Off Before Bed

Establishing a time when cellphones get handed over for the night can be a great rule. Many teens text at all hours of the night which can make your child feel obligated to reply.

Restricting smartphone access during the overnight hours also gives your teen a way to “save face.” Peers won’t expect him to text back in the middle of the night if he’s able to say, “My parents take my phone at night.” Other kids are much less likely to send the middle of the night text messages if they think parents might intercept them.

9. Do Not Give Out Personal Details Online

Most teens think they’re pretty safe from potential dangers online. This can make them more likely to share their personal information with strangers. They may knowingly hand out their information to someone who “seems harmless” or they may accidentally give out information by posting messages such as, “I wish I didn’t live next door to the school.”

From sexualized pictures to your home address, set clear rules about what information you don’t want your teen giving out. Talk about the importance of maintaining a good online reputation.

10. Do Not Announce Private Family Information on Social Media

Today’s teens aren’t used to having privacy. Most of them love to air out their dirty laundry on social media. Therefore, it’s important to have conversations about privacy for the family.

Make it clear your teen shouldn’t be announcing private family matters on social media. Perhaps you don’t want your teen announcing over Facebook, “My dad got fired today!” or maybe you don’t want him tweeting, “My sister’s so stupid she just failed her math class!” Explain your expectations about privacy.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Internet Use in Children.

  2. Hale L, Kirschen GW, LeBourgeois MK, et al. Youth Screen Media Habits and Sleep: Sleep-Friendly Screen Behavior Recommendations for Clinicians, Educators, and Parents. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2018;27(2):229‐245. doi:10.1016/j.chc.2017.11.014

Additional Reading

By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, an international bestselling author of books on mental strength and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. She delivered one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.