There will come a point when you want your child to have a cellphone on them, or their nagging for a phone wears you down, either way, you are going to give them a phone one day. And it is going to be a smartphone. The problem with this is all the access this grants them to the WWW and social media. So as a parent, you need to decide if your child is old enough to be exposed to all that the internet is today?

Phone-Addiction1

So where are you on this scale?

When you start looking around you’ll find all sorts of studies and scary stories. I have borrowed the images here from this interesting study result, posted on dailymail.co.uk. Phones have taken over our lives & is that what we want for our children?

When it came to my own son, we decided that if he was going to get a smartphone, he needed to think before he posted, messaged, searched etc. So we did a little look around the net and found this contract (see below). I thought this was a really good idea. For one it macellphone_addicted2kes it clear that there is activity you can engage in on a phone that parents & teachers would consider “inappropriate”, and not to engage in this. And it makes it clear that there is a time and place for phones. Lastly, it gives the parents the right (actually the contractual obligation) to check the cellphone should there be any question of inappropriate behavior.

Do I think that I might have to check my son’s phone one day? Possibly. It is unlikely, but it is a possibility. The point is that he knows I have the right to check it. Therefore he is going to think twice before posting anything he doesn’t want his Dad to see. I thought this would be the most painless path:)

Here is the template if anyone else wants to use it. And please feel free to comment below.

**********START************

Dear [INSERT CHILD’S NAME],

Now that you are [INSERT AGE], we are happy to give you a smartphone to use. Having a phone is fun and useful, but also a privilege. You will have the responsibility of honouring the rules below as a condition of enjoying the phone. You have always been very responsible, and we’re confident that you’ll continue to earn our trust.

  1. The phone is owned by us, and we have the right to restrict its use, monitor it, or take it away at any time.
  2. The phone is to be used to connect and communicate with your friends and family, and not for any inappropriate behavior.
  3. The phone will never be used to bully, intimidate, or make hurtful comments about other people, even if the messages aren’t being sent to them. Words are powerful. Use them for good.
  4. You will honour all rules outside the house about appropriate phone use. For example, at school, you will use the phone only at designated times and places that the school allows. If you’re caught texting in a classroom, for example, we will take the phone away.
  5. The phone will never be allowed at mealtimes. That is our time to connect and unplug. This applies whether eating at home or out.
  6. The phone must be in the OFF position when you are studying. Constant texting (or even reading of texts) is a distraction that will negatively affect your study habits.
  7. Anything you send over the phone may end up in the public domain. So never send anything that you wouldn’t want your parents or teachers to see. Even if you delete a photo, it could be, and probably is, saved somewhere else already.
  8. Use your good judgement. Never send inappropriate or risky photos of yourself. They may stay on the internet forever. That’s a long time.
  9. Remember that communicating via smartphone shouldn’t interfere with life. Try to focus on what’s happening around you, rather than sharing the experience via text, email or social media.
  10. You will look after this phone. If you break it or lose it, that’s too bad. Until you can afford a new phone, you’ll be without a phone. And even when you buy your own phone, these rules apply until you are eighteen years old.

________________________ Date: ________________
Signed: [INSERT CHILD’S NAME]

Witnessed by:

Parent : ____________________________ [INSERT NAME]

Parent : ____________________________ [INSERT NAME]

*************END**********************

Please share this page with any other parent’s you know who might benefit from this template…

Doug Hoseck
Douglas is the father of two boys at Kairos. Doug is a web developer so he helps out with this school website. Doug is passionate about technology but also aware of the dangers it poses too. Please visit Doug’s website.

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