Why Parents Shouldn’t Take Away Phones at Night

  • By: Elizabeth Jean
  • Date: October 18, 2021
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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If you want to start a lively discussion among parents, then just bring up the subject of cell phones. It seems everyone has an opinion about everything, from when you should give your child their first phone to how you should manage their time using electronics. One of the biggest questions that tend to come up during these talks is whether or not parents should take away phones every evening. Exploring these reasons why parents shouldn’t take away phones at night gives you a starting point for making the best decisions for meeting your child’s needs.

Make Charging Their Electronics Easier

The simplest reason why you might let your kid keep their phone in their room is that it just makes things easier. Trying to manage multiple charging stations often leads to lost and damaged chargers. You may also get annoyed if they keep using your preferred outlet to charge their cell phone. Helping your child to set up a charging station in their room means that they’ll always know where their phone is, and you’ll be happier knowing that it is charged up every morning when they leave the house for school.

Allow Teens to Use Their Phone As an Alarm

Whether you’re the type of parent who loves banging around the house in the morning to wake everyone up or prefers to take a gentler approach, there comes a point when you might be tired of having to remember everyone’s schedule. Letting your older child to use their phone as an alarm clock teaches personal responsibility. Being able to follow up with a reminder call is another reason why parents shouldn’t take away phones at night.

Let Your Child Have Their Phone at Night for Safety and Security

Your older child or teen may act like they’re invincible, yet they may still feel vulnerable at night. Making sure that your child feels safe and secure is one of the biggest reasons why parents shouldn’t take away phones at night. Giving your teen a way to reach out if they hear a strange noise or just feel too sick to get out of bed could pay off if a true emergency arises. 

Stay Connected to Your Teen at All Times of the Day or Night

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Parents of older teens may occasionally need to work late. Or, you might have a multi-story home and dread having to go upstairs to knock on your teen’s bedroom door after they’ve gone to bed. In both cases, it is simply convenient to be able to make a call or send your teen a text. If you’ve made them store their phone in a different area, then you’ll have to resort to old-fashioned communication methods. 

Allow Your Teen to Use Their Phone for Late Night Study Sessions

You might be one of those parents who just happens to have a child who takes school seriously. If this is the case, then your child might already be responsible enough to keep their phone in their room. Smartphones are great for using for research, and your child might find it easier to use their phone rather than toggle back and forth through tabs when they are writing a paper. They may also have friends who want to keep their study group going later after they get home from their part-time jobs. As long as your student doesn’t stay up too late, then letting them work in their room might be an effective way to help them study for their big exams.

Help Your Child Learn to Use Their Phone Responsibly

If you’re asking why parents shouldn’t take away phones at night, then you may also be wondering when they’ll ever learn how to use their phone right if they don’t get a chance now. Giving your child a cell phone is an opportunity to start teaching them how to use electronics responsibly. In the past, you may have already set limits on screen time for video games and TV shows. Now, you can teach them to put their phone away at a certain hour. Just tell your child what time you expect them to be off of their phone and check in occasionally. You’ll be able to see pretty quickly if this new rule is working.

Establish a Privilege That Can be Revoked

Disciplining older teens can get challenging once they start to have more autonomy. While you used to be able to restrict your child from certain activities if they misbehaved, your teen may be able to find ways to do what they want. Allowing them to keep their phone in their room also means that you can take it away. While you might not be able to stop them from talking to their friends at school, you can use the possibility of losing their nighttime phone privileges to help your teen see the benefits of following the rules and keeping their grades up.

Maintain Consistency Between School Days and Weekends

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The majority of parenting advice focuses on encouraging parents to be consistent with their rules and discipline plans. Making your child keep their phone in a different room on school days and allowing them to use it on the weekends just breeds confusion. Not only does this mean that you’ll have to keep up with it all, but it also could lead to your child making excuses such as saying that they forgot to put their phone up on Monday night. Establishing the same set of rules for each day of the week makes it easier for your child to understand what is expected of them. 

Prepare Them for Adulthood

The whole point of parenting is to hopefully raise well-adjusted children who know how to overcome temptation and be responsible. At some point, you simply won’t be there to take their phone away or demand that it be left on a charging station in your room. If you’ve trusted your child with a phone, then now’s a great time to help them learn how to develop some self-control. Getting the newness of being able to read or talk on their phone out of the way now means that they’ll be more likely to make smart decisions when they head off for college or their new career after high school.

Bottom Line: Make Your Choice

Life as a parent means constantly navigating new situations. Ideally, you get the chance to set some rules up before you hand your child a personal phone. As you work out an agreement, remember that you retain control as a parent over what happens next. If you let your child keep their phone at night, then keep an eye on their behavior. You can always restrict the privilege if they seem overly tired in the morning or you hear them talking late at night. Yet, giving them the chance to prove themselves, for now, can have long-lasting benefits for your family and your child’s ability to use their electronics responsibly as they move into adulthood.

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