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It’s an amazing world we live in…we can walk around with all kinds of information right in our hands! Cell phones can be wonderful tools! (I really like mine!)
Technology is a bit of a double edged sword to me. There is some scary stuff that comes up when handing your child a cell phone…and yet they are really handy! There are so many wonderful things available (can you say Pinterest!) I love being able to text my husband and my daughter has researched a lot about our family history. I try to keep communication open with my children…but, it is so easy to get sucked into the screen and neglect the things that are most important.
I know every mom has different comfort levels when it comes to cell phone use…I have found great value in talking to other moms about what works in their homes to help me figure out what to do with our kids.
As a mom, part of my job is to keep my home and family safe from “invisible ” dangers…like pornography, etc.
Our 2 oldest have recently acquired smart phones (ages 16 and 14). One of them has done a good job of setting boundaries and not having the phone as an extra appendage. The other child…well…not so much! This has led to discussions, arguments, tears, frustration…and we are still in the thick of it!
Talk it Out
I initially created a contract with boundaries that I thought were appropriate. Well…if you have a teenager who has a mind of their own (and I think that most do!) You might see that that was a bad idea. We had to do some negotiations and find a balance between what we both wanted…and we are still working on it!
As we have talked about setting boundaries together, I’ve come up with some talking points that have helped sort out what boundaries to set with our children regarding cell phones (and other devices since we also have an ipod touch and a kindle in the house)
Contract…or talking points for cell phones
This is the latest version of our contract …you could also use it just as a list of talking points. I left the times to have the device plugged in blank on purpose so you can decide what is right for your family.
- The Internet is always changing…which means these rules will change! We have many opportunities with technology to strengthen relationships and gain knowledge. Let’s have the wisdom to use it appropriately. And let’s remember that relationships are more important than our devices. If you see me on my phone too much…tell me! Remind me to be present…you deserve nothing less!
- Before using my device, I will have all my school work, piano, scripture reading, personal enrichment and chores done for the day. My device will only be used in public areas of the house and will not be used during school time.
- I will be intentional. Before I sit in front of a screen I will ask myself if this is the best way to use my time right now.
- I understand that individual technology is a privilege, and privileges can be taken away.
- I will have my device plugged in by __________ each weeknight, __________ on Friday nights, and __________ on Saturday nights.
- My parents will always have access to my password. My device is an open book. I will not delete messages in order to hide them from my parents. (I am busy and won’t read every message you write or receive, but privacy is not implied. Remember that when you are posting online, you not only represent yourself, you represent our family and our faith.)
- I will not alter my security setting without permission, unless it is to make them stricter due to new privacy policies
- I will not download apps, music, games, or programs without permission. I will download music that is uplifting. (Take advantage of the different types of music, don’t just listen to what is popular. Classical, Oldies, Spiritual, Musicals)
- I will keep my drama out of social media. Everyone doesn’t need to know when I have fought with my brother or how unfair I think life is.
- I am making a permanent record of my character with my posts and messages. I will not send texts/emails/messages/photos that would be considered bullying, gossiping, offensive, suggestive, revealing, embarrassing, or have foul language. I will unfriend anyone from my account that is posting inappropriately.
- Cyber bullying is ALWAYS wrong. If someone is bullying me, I will tell my parents and block the offenders. If I see others being bullied, I will tell my parents and block the offenders, even if it is a friend. If I am bullying someone else, I understand that my parents will punish me as severely as they would want someone who was bullying me to be punished, and my account will be deleted.
- I will remember that once photos are taken with a device they are forever. I will treat others as I would like to be treated. Consider what others would think about them…future employers, grandparents, college admissions officer, future spouse, future children!
- I will be present during family meal times without my device. I will not use it during family time or when my parents ask me to put it away. If I am in a social situation, surrounded by people or even just one person, I will put my device away, look people in the eye, and communicate!
- I will never share personal information with anyone online. I will not post location statuses, and will not tell people when we leave town.
- I will keep my eyes open. I will see the world around me. I will look out the window. I will watch a sunset. I will take quiet time without any media. I will develop my talents and try new things that don’t involve a screen in front of my face.
No public social media until age 13. (Facebook, Instagram, anything else that comes up…and only with parent’s permission)
You are more than the number of likes your post got or the number of followers that you have! If you ever doubt your value put your device away, and come and talk to me. I’ll remind you how much you are worth.
Cell Phone_Device Contract-3
Make it Happen!
- If your kids have cell phones or other devices, set aside a time to have a family meeting to discuss how great technology is as well as the importance of nourishing personal relationships.
- Print off my Cell Phone Contract as either a contract or as a list of talking points with you and your family.
- The most important thing is to keep talking! I am learning more and more how important it is to talk to your kids about the hard stuff…because it will come up!
Share Your Ideas!
- What technology rules do you have in your home? I would love to hear what is working for you.
If you are looking for more ideas to help create a strong family atmosphere…try this fabulous free audio series from powerofmoms.