Technology

A contract for your child’s phone – why, how and a printable

A contract for your childs cellphone why how and a printable 1

It’s so important to have good conversations with your child about how to use technology well and what your expectations are. A contract is a great way to start that conversation. There are other ways – skywriting, billboards, subliminal messages hidden in Disney films, however talking still seems to be the most effective.

Do contracts even work?

For a contract to work, all you have to do is make sure that it protects and provides for the needs and desires of all parties involved. Say this to your child and they’ll be amped, then explain to them that the term ‘party’ has a very different meaning in this context.

The point is to enter into a partnership so that you can be actively involved in helping your child to form healthy habits with technology.

The point of this process is not to use a contract as the first decree of your technologically repressive dictatorship. The point is to enter into a partnership so that you can be actively involved in helping your child to form healthy habits with technology. So make sure you use this contract experience as the catalyst for conversation that leads to compromise and agreement.

What’s the goal of the contract?

The goal is for your child to understand three things –

  1. There are rules
  2. You’re concerned for their safety because you love them
  3. The rules, as defined by the contract, come with rights, responsibilities and accountability

That’s why you probably shouldn’t buy a phone for your three-year-old. If your child can’t understand the meaning and implications of rights, responsibilities and accountability, then they’re too young for a phone. It’s also important that the child understands that breaking the Ts and Cs of the contract comes with consequences – like losing their phone.

Cell phone contract

Start a conversation with your child about how to master the skills needed to be a responsible phone user

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Some pre-contract homework

Now, no one likes homework, not even teachers. But before you jump into the chat about a cellphone contract, there are a few decisions you might want to make regarding your child's first phone.

1. Will they own the phone or will it be a ‘shared’ phone?

Will it be a phone that is managed by a collective where each family member is the bi-weekly elected official to make decisions about the usage of the phone? Or will it be their personal phone? A shared family phone can be a great intermediate step to owning their first phone.

2. Will you be paying for their data, texts and calls, or will they?

If you want them to have a phone for safety reasons, it seems fair that you’ll be paying for at least some of the costs.

Our kids need rules, but what they need much more is to know the reason behind the rules and the most important reason to communicate to your kids is that you love them.

3. Will they get data?

If it’s their first phone, consider getting them one that doesn’t have data access. This way, your child gets a little of the connection they want, with slightly less of the risks of social media and online access that comes with a smartphone. You could get them a phone with limited data on a prepay plan, or you could get them a phone with wifi access but no data at all.

There are pros and cons to all of these options, but keep in mind, your child will have to learn how to navigate the internet by themselves at some point, and the goal is to set them up to do that well, no matter where they are.

The process of coming to an agreement may actually be more important than the contract itself. Our kids need rules, but what they need much more is to know the reason behind the rules and the most important reason to communicate to your kids is that you love them.

Technology contract

Start a conversation with your child about how to use technology well

Download your technology contract for FREE

Authors

Christian Gallen

Christian Gallen

Christian is a Senior Presenter and National Trainer for Attitude. He has spoken to over 100,000 young people nationwide during his long presenting career. Christian manages all the social media and online content for Attitude and is passionate about seeing young people make great choices online and offline.


James Beck

James Beck

James Beck is our Director of Development and has been part of our team for over 10 years. James started his time here as an Attitude presenter and has reached over 200,000 people in schools, prisons and workplaces all over the country.


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