(StatePoint) Modern technology presents today’s parents with new challenges. One big issue: getting kids and teens to take better care of pricey tech gear. Let’s be honest, parents also can get careless sometimes with mobile devices.

With the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus newly on the market, you may be wondering the best ways to stretch the life of your gear. Here are some handy tips to help everyone in the family better protect mobile devices:

• Ban sticky fingers: Food and phones don’t belong together. Ban phones during meal time. Not only will you be promoting better conversation, you’ll also be preventing crumbs and debris from compromising sensitive gear. Eating something sticky like peanut butter and jelly or ice cream? Encourage kids to wash their hands afterwards before they resume texting.

• Avoid the crush: Help kids learn to pack their backpacks, purses and other bags in a sensible way that protects tech gear. Heavy textbooks should be at the bottom of the bag while delicate items like mobile phones and tablets should be on top. Consider backpacks that offer a special padded pocket for tech gear.

• Get on the case: New devices are costly, so you will want to make sure you protect them wisely with cases that fit devices perfectly -- whether you are looking for full-body protection or a smooth and lightweight case, say experts.

“No one plans to drop their phone, but accidents happen all the time and to everybody. A case is an absolute must,” says Jason Li, CEO of i-Blason, a company that manufactures phone and tablet cases.

For a range of phone case options, check out the lineup offered by i-Blason, which includes The Armorbox – an iPhone 7 case offering shockproof protection, a built-in screen protector and impact-resistant bumpers, as well as the WaterPoof Case, offering an airtight design to protect against water damage. If you like a minimalist design, check out the UB Style cases by Supcase, a snap-on option made from shock absorbing materials that is available in multiple colors.

When selecting a case, consider the particular risks associated with your family and their devices. Are your kids on the swim team and around a lot of water? Do you or your children have butter fingers? These factors can help you find the best cases for your needs.

• Triple check: Teach kids to check for their mobile phone and other devices before taking off: whether that’s before leaving for school in the morning, or before leaving sports practice in the evening. This little ritual will prevent devices from being lost or stolen.

While certain costs associated with mobile devices are unavoidable, unexpected replacements shouldn’t be part of the equation. A few simple steps can help you and your kids extend the life of your gear.

Photo Credit: (c) Paul Hu