Manage Kids’ Cell Phone Use with a Contract
By Jon Bailey - June 27, 2018
When we first decided to allow our girls to have their own cell phones, it wasn’t to keep up with the Joneses. Despite the kids’ arguments that they “needed” them for conversation with their friends, we decided to get them when the girls started going to events without us. We didn’t want to enter into this new world without parameters, however. We came up with ways to manage kids’ cell phone use with a contract, and a friend shared a document to build from.
This turned out to be a pretty great idea. Sitting down with the girls to go over a written contract made the whole ritual of getting their first cell phone far more serious. It wasn’t just a toy, it was positioned as an important contractual deal with the parents in control.
The best part is that it was worked pretty well!
Manage Kids’ Cell Phone Use with a Contract
Some of the kids at school started getting phones around age 8 or 9, which seemed shockingly early to us. Maybe we are the “strict parents” but there was no way Sophia and Ava were getting phones at that young age. We waited until they were 12, and then sat down at the kitchen table for a family meeting where the contract was presented.
Golden Rule of Cell Phones and Kids
From Day One, we made sure the girls understood our Golden Rule of Cell Phones. We told them this was our cell phone THAT WE WERE ALLOWING THEM TO USE UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS. When the concept was engrained in them that they were essentially borrowing their phones from their parents, it was easier to enforce the rules. If the rules were broken, we would restrict their access to our phones.
Now at ages 14 and 16, the girls have grown into a more mature place of responsibility. They are given far broader access then when they were younger, but the contract remains in place.
Cell Phone Contract With Kids
Here are the details so you can modify for your own family’s circumstances. Good luck – our hearts go out to you in trying to manage this!
- I will not send threatening or mean texts to others.
- My phone will be charged at all times.
- I will not bring my cell phone to the family dinner table.
- My cell phone will not be taken to bed at night, and I will leave it downstairs in the kitchen where I will charge it.
- I am responsible for knowing where my phone is, and for keeping it in good condition, and will pay for cracked screens or broken parts.
- I understand that my cell phone may be taken away if I talk back to my parents, I fail to do my chores, I fail to keep my grades up, or am not kind to my sister.
- All rules of etiquette will be obeyed regarding cell phones in public places. I will make sure my phone is not in use when I am in the library, or a waitress is speaking in a restaurant, or quiet settings of any kind.
- Anyy rules my school has regarding cell phones will be obeyed, such as turning them off during class.
- I promise I will alert my parents when I receive suspicious or alarming phone calls or text messages from people I don’t know.
- I will also alert my parents if I am being harassed by someone via my cell phone.
- Under no circumstances will I use my cell phone to bully another person.
- My cell phone will not be used to take pictures or video of nudity, violence or other unlawful activity and I will not send embarrassing photos of my family or friends to others. In addition, I will not use my phone’s camera to take embarrassing photos of others.
- Social media will be kept to an agreed upon amount each day, and will not abuse it.
- A cell phone can be helpful in an emergency, but I know that I must still practice good judgment and make good choices that will keep me out of trouble or out of danger.
- The number of people that have my cell phone number will be limited to only people I know well.
I understand that having a cell phone is a privilege, and that if I fail to adhere to this contract, my cell phone privilege may be revoked.
- I understand that I will make myself available to answer any questions you might have about owning a cell phone and using it responsibly.
- I will support my child when she alerts me to an alarming message or text message that she has received.
- My child will be given one warning before I take her cell phone away for any reason or cause.
I agree that I have read and understand the above responsibilities. If I fail to follow them or adhere to them, I face consequences which could include a number restrictions, including the loss of cell phone privileges.
By signing I agree that I have read, understood and agree to the above.
In today’s world, this is serious business. We’re sure you hear the same stories as parents that we do. There are real issues regarding cell phone addiction, health issues related to mobile technology, cyber bullying, and more. These kids are young, and not mature enough to be making important decisions about their own safety.
Hopefully this is one way we can do our parental duty. Hope this Cell Phone Contract With Kids is helpful to you!