Am I depriving my teen if I don't get him an iPhone?
Not at all. Smartphones -- especially the latest, fanciest ones -- have become status symbols for kids and are the source of a lot of peer pressure. (Get tips on how to manage high-tech hand-me-downs.)
Be prepared for lots of impassioned speeches from your teen about why he needs an iPhone, but, if you don't want or can't afford to get one, know that plenty of kids don't have them and do just fine, so long as they have some exposure to digital tools and the chance to develop technology skills at home or at school.
But, if you decide that your teen is responsible enough to follow your cell phone rules and you want to go for it, here are three ways to establish some control over the situation:
Discuss appropriate smartphone use. Make sure you and your kids are on the same page about when and how the phone can be used. Make this a discussion, not a lecture, so teens feel their voices are heard.
Manage smartphone features. The power that smartphones provide may make you uncomfortable. Know that you can start with limits on access (to the Internet, for example) and expand as kids demonstrate responsibility.
Have your kids pay their way. Have them contribute to the cost of the iPhone or the data plan -- or both. They'll probably take better care of the phone if they understand the costs.