Parenting 101: texting while driving—how to stop your child?

Texting and talking while driving, hands of young man on steering wheel

Texting and talking while driving, hands of young man on steering wheel

Breaking news: Massachusetts Police Department has started a crack down against driving and texting.

Unfortunately, teens have a habit of making decisions with their hearts, while giving little or no preference to what their conscience tells them. Just as the text notification sound rings on their phone, they turn all their attention towards the newly arrived text message.

This curiosity of knowing every tidbit of news supersedes every other important decision and if a kid is driving, it could lead to some deadly car accidents.

We all have heard the parenting lesson #92: “if I see you texting while driving, you are grounded!”

Sadly, whenever your child hears that chime, emanating from their cell phone, all the reasoning is thrown out of the window. Even though that 99.99 percent of the time the texts we receive may have nothing significant, it’s still difficult to cope with the surging excitement. And for teens, it’s merely impossible to delay the instant gratification.

When teens get hold of the car keys, the lesson #92 doesn’t really work at all. Our kids’ phones are practically attached to their bodies, and it’s inevitable for them to use it even during driving. It’s appalling and dangerous. They are so accustomed to the weight of their smartphone in their palms that hardly they register it as an encumbrance.

Teens know how to navigate their world single-handedly (the other one is used for texting). Alienating their cell phones from their hands is an impossibility, unless, there is some special game plan.

Remember how you used to teach your toddler (now a teen) to say “thank you” and “please” before asking for something. You know it required persistence, and still, the same rules apply while parenting a teen. Telling your teen not to use their cell phone during driving will also take some time before the message gets embedded into their minds.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Train them during family driving sessions. You can tell your child “hey honey can you please shut off my cell phone, I don’t want to get distracted during driving”. You need to tell them these words over and over again so that it becomes an entity of their subconscious. This is psychological process is called classical conditioning. So whenever, they will get into car, they would automatically relate driving with safety.
  • No cell phone in car rule. When your child is a year away from obtaining driver’s license, set a “no cell phones in car” rule. This will allow your teens to spend sometime away from their phone. For this, you don’t have to physically take their cell phones away. Just tell them to use Airplane mode while in car. This would reduce any temptation that they would have due to popping text windows. If you don’t think they would actually listen to this, you can also use Trackmyfone to lock their smartphone temporarily. This will allow you to train your kids remotely without requiring your physical presence.
  • Use Trackmyfone on existing teen drivers. If your child is already a driver, the most effective way to stop them from using their cell phone is by locking their phone during the car journey.
  • Your teen won’t be happy to abide by the new rules. It’s your responsibility to understand that teens wont like the new driving rules. But it’s also your job to tell them every downside and risk of using a phone during driving. They will retaliate, scream, cry, and do a lot of other things to break you down. But stay strong and don’t fall for those tiny tears. And lastly, remember that its better for your child to get their licence with some warning signs in their mind, rather than having nothing to ponder over.

Trackmyfone is a great way to stop your child from texting while driving. If you are child is taking the car, ask them where they are going, calculate the expected journey time using maps, and then lock their cell phone for that time. You can also track your child’s GPS activity using this app.

Have something to share with us? Let us know in the comments.

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