This year my oldest entered middle school. This has meant a lot of firsts for our family. Among these was the decision to get him a cell phone. After much thought and discussion we did give him one. This had me thinking does my 12 year old son really have the maturity to properly use this phone without help. Will he automatically know what is alright and what is not? I have expectations for him in this area, but does he know what they are. The truth is if I don’t tell him what I expect he will not know. So, I have written a cell phone contract for him.
I have made an actual document that we will share with him and the he and I will sign, along with his mother. When we share this with him it will be one of those times when we sit down and have a “grown up” talk with him. The main thing we want to communicate is that we are doing this not to confine him or because we don’t trust him, but rather to protect him. Having a cell phone comes with a lot of responsibility and we want to help him learn to use it responsibly. Below are the terms that are included in the contract.
When you share this with your preteen (or teen) be sure to do so with love. Be sure that they understand that your goal is to protect them, not control them. Also, be open to discussion with your preteen about the terms of the contract. Be firm, but flexible. If your goal is really to protect, them you should be willing to listen to your preteen and maybe even adjust some of the terms of this contract. Ask your preteen if they have any questions about any of them. Ask them if there is anything that they think needs to be added. Ask your preteen if there are any conditions that they would like added for you to follow.
I hope that you find this helpful. Are there any things that you would add to this contract?
- I understand that Having a cell phone is a privilege. As such it can be given or taken away by my parents or other authorities in my life as they deem appropriate.
- I will not make phone calls or send text messages after 9pm or before 7am on school days, or 10pm on non-school days.
- In case you receive such a text you can reply that you are not allowed to text at that time.
- There are some exceptions such as during youth activities or when texting or calling your parents.
- I will never send any texts of a sexual nature or involving any degree of nudity.
- If I receive a text containing anything of a sexual nature or containing nudity I will show it to my parents promptly and will allow them to delete it.
- I understand that my parents have the right and responsibility to review any of my phone activity at any time. For this reason I will not delete any text messages from my phone, for any reason.
- Your parents can delete texts after reviewing them.
- If you have a text that contains something bad, share it with your parents and let them delete it.
- I will never use my phone to harass or mistreat anyone. This includes sending text messages that might cause someone emotional pain.
- I will alert my parents if I am being harassed or mistreated by anyone via my cell phone.
- I will never put a password on my phone or change my password without my parents knowing the password.
- I will always answer calls or text messages from my parents. If I miss a call from them I will call them back immediately.
- I will not lie about where I have been or how I was using my phone.
- I will alert my parents when I received suspicious or alarming phone calls or text messages from people I don’t know.
- I understand that my parents love me and that these rules are not meant to control me, but to protect me.