Here are great thoughts from Kara Powell and the wonderful people at the Fuller Youth Institute on a cell phone contract. Every parent needs this! Be sure and check out the other blogs and materials at Fulleryouthinstitute.org.
A Cell Phone Contract to Help Build Sticky Faith
In celebration of the release of The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, stickyfaith.org is hosting a “Blog Tour” to share some of the book’s research highlights and practical ideas. This cell phone contract emerged from the research we conducted for chapter ten: “Home Sticky Home: Making Your House a Hub of Faith”.
Dan and Denise’s fourteen-year-old son has two cell phone contracts: one with his cell phone carrier and one with them. In order to clarify their family’s cell phone expectations and protocol, Dan and Denise printed the following guidelines and had their son sign them and post them in his room.
1. It is our phone. We bought it. We pay for it. We are loaning it to you. Aren’t we great?
2. We will always know the password.
3. If it rings, answer it. Say hello and use good manners. Never ignore a phone call if the screen reads, “Mom” or “Dad.”
4. Hand the phone to one of your parents before bed every night.
5. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.
6. Put it away in public (for example, in church, in restaurants, in movie theaters, wherever you are with other people). You are not rude; do not allow your phone to change that.
7. Do not use your phone to lie to, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first.
8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.
9. No porn. Nothing you wouldn’t want your mother to see.
10. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Despite your intelligence, someday you might be tempted to do this. It is risky and could ruin your life.
11. Take pictures, but don’t forget to live your experiences. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk.
12. Leave your phone home sometimes and be okay with that decision. Learn to live without it.
13. Download music that is new or classic or different from what your peers listen to. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.
14. Play a game with words or puzzles or brainteasers every now and then.
15. You will mess up. We will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. We will always be learning. We are on your team. We are in this together.
What other ideas do you have for cell phone agreements with your kids? What types of limits have you set on kids’ use of technology to help strengthen your relationships with them?