Raising children in the technological age can be a bit nerve-racking as the internet is an uncontrolled entity with possibilities for both good and evil. Parents had the ultimate control over outside contact in the days when kids only used the home phone, but now even very young children beg for their own phone. But how can you keep some control when kids get their first phones?
This has become an age-old question as parents balance technology against keeping their kids safe. Parents who raised their kids before the days of unlimited data had it much easier as kids had to prioritize their usage due before they ran out of minutes.
One mom, Mel Watts, who wrote a blog post on The Modern Mumma may have the perfect 17-rule contract for any kid’s phone usage.
The contract reads as follows: “By agreeing to these terms and conditions, you understand at any point, you can and will have this phone removed from your hands and reassessment may be done regarding the rules and conditions.
1. You acknowledge that if phone is broken or lost, you are to replace it or fix it at your own cost. We have taken the responsibility to provide you with a top of the range screen protector and cover.
2. Always answer your parents’ calls. If you can’t answer, message us, call us when you can. If no contact is made, then we look for you.
3. Data – once you go over your data you don’t get any extra till you next data top-up.
4. No mobile phones in rooms.”
“5. Mobile phone is to be given to parents before you go bed – at both houses.
6. Screen times apply. No messaging people before 7.30am, some people actually sleep in, strange huh?!
7. Follow the schools rules and policies for mobile phones.
8. Do NOT take photos, movies of people who aren’t aware. This includes strangers. Especially if someone asks you not to take image.
9. Do NOT upload anything on social media that you wouldn’t like being uploaded about yourself or your sisters. Or you wouldn’t want your mother or grandmother to see.
10. Don’t troll people on social media.”
“11. Passwords and account names – accessible at all times. You change the password and we don’t know – IT’S GONE.
12. If you delete and purposefully hide things on your phone, social media or emails, you’ll lose the accounts.
13. Remember what you write and say. Writing something can come across completely differently to what someone might have meant.
14. What you post on social media is forever.
15. If you are being bullied – show us. Don’t hide it.
16. Understand your SIM card and use of our phone is a huge privilege.
17. Any violence, issues that cause us to lose trust in your will result in banned phone.”
As many parents are aware, children long to have their own phones. They want to relate to their friends and fit in. And, as a parent, you want to be able to contact your children immediately if needed.
Do you think Watts has found the right balance with her contract?