How to Make a Cell Phone Contract Before Giving Your Child a Smartphone
When you take that big and irreversible step of buying the first smartphone for your child, most experts agree that it’s a good idea to put your expectations down on paper in the form of a contract, discuss them with your child extensively, have them sign it, and hold them accountable for rule violations.
You can write your own, or choose from the many options available online. Here are several different versions to choose from:
Common Sense Media
Common Sense is the leading source of technology recommendations for families and schools.
An organization advocating for the rights of children with learning disabilities.
Family Online Safety Institute
FOSI is an organization working on public policy, industry best practice, as well as good digital parenting.
Screenagers documentaries and advocacy explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction, how tech time impacts kids’ development, and how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world.
The original contract by the iRules book author
Janell Burley Hofmann, the author of the book iRules, has pinned this contract/letter to her son after getting him an iPhone for Christmas, which started the whole cell phone contract for kids movement.
A Fair Warning
Getting that contract on paper is a helpful step, but do not get comfortable with a false sense of security yet. Here is a warning about its efficacy from Wait Until 8th campaign – you are dealing with teenagers after all.
At the end of the day, you are the parent, and you are in charge. Simply write down your non-negotiable rules and hand them over to your child together with that first smartphone.
Before you think they are ready for the smartphone, get them a simple phone without Internet access.
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