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10 Rules Kids Should Agree to Before Getting Cellphones

by Jeanne Sager on January 1, 2013 at 8:37 AM

cellphoneLooking for a new hero? How about Janell Hoffman? The mother of a 13-year-old who wanted a smartphone for Christmas decided she'd grant his big wish ... but before Janell handed over the shiny new iPhone, the Massachusetts mom made teenage son Greg sign an 18-point contract she'd written up.

Love my cellphone though I do (seriously, you'll have to pry my iPhone from my cold, dead hands), I have to admit this woman is a mom after my own heart. Everywhere you turn, there's another "jerk with a cellphone," and parents handing them out to snot-nosed teenagers willy nilly doesn't exactly help. In fact, I'm wondering if Hoffman went far enough.

Hoffman's cellphone contract calls for her son to:

Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without Googling.

All great points. But if you're fashioning your own contract for the kid, you might want to add in:

1. I will not text you from my bedroom when I could just get off my butt and walk into the kitchen.

2. I will not go over to Grandma's house and give her another reason to get on Mom's case about what a bad job she's doing as a parent because I was staring at the little box in my hand the entire time.

3. I will not download a ringtone that makes Mom jump out of her skin every single blessed time a friend calls.

4. I will not use it to photograph every single thing I eat and upload it to Facebook because it's now 2013, and, well, actually no one liked it in 2012 either.

5. I will use a password more complicated than 1234 or 1111 so that some jerk can't just jack my phone when I leave it in my locker.

6. I won't use it in English class and get it taken away from the teacher so Dad has to go up to the school and argue with the principal for an hour to get a $300 item back.

7. I will not duckface. Or take photos in the bathroom with Mom's bra hanging off the towel rack in the background.

8. I will take advantage of the maps and dictionary apps instead of asking Mom and Dad ANOTHER DUMB QUESTION.

9. If my Temple Run score is better than Mom's, I will not hold it over her head.

10. I will call when soccer practice is cancelled, not three hours later after all of my friends have left, and I'm standing in the freezing cold in a pissy mood about being alone and cold.

Come on, help a mother out, what are the annoying things your kids do with their cellphones that you could have prevented in a contract?

 

Image via slgckgc/Flickr

Filed Under: behavior, issues

Comments

19
  • mande...
    --

    manderspanders

    January 1, 2013 at 9:46 AM
    You mustn'tve actually read the contract. One point was that the kid IS NOT allowed to take it to school (field trips, after school activities would get special consideration). Also, the phone would be handed over and shut off at 7:30pm weekdays and 9pm weekends. Also, she directs him to actually have conversations with people instead of texting. And she will always have the password.
    It wasn't just a fluffy contract aimed at giving broad life lessons...it was practical, gave well defined boundaries, and is something that real parents do.
    I thought it was great.
  • Tonya
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Tonya

    January 1, 2013 at 10:17 AM
    That was great. I love the one about mom's bra hanging in the background. I've about died at some of the pics my kids have posted....with some awful mess in the background. Ugh. I've tried tom educate them that nosy people like me actually look at all that background stuff! Lol!
  • momof...
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    momof030404

    January 1, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Wow. I loved the lady in the articles list. Yours is....not so great. I think you may have been going for tongue in cheek but holy crap. I have MAJOR in law issue and I don't involve my kids in it, and god forbid your kids ask you another "dumb question". Anywho. I liked the original list :) Very smart mom that one.


  • nekoy...
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    nekoyukidoll

    January 1, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    I actually agree with both these lists but I'd add one of none of the kid's friends are allowed to use the device.  I've had too many "friends" of mine take my phone and make long calls or "ninja" their way onto my facebook page and post stuff.  I even know a girl whose friend's sister used her phone under the guise that she was texting her other sister at work but when my friend got her phone back, she found all these texts to a number she didn't recognize.  I get that emergencies will arise and the friend my need to call their parents but I think that lots of time people use others kindness to their advantage and think they can do whatever they want to on other people's cell phone since thier not payong for it.  Plus it's a great way to find out who your true friends really are; once I started telling these "friends" they couldn't use my cell phone anymore they didn't want to hang out so much.  


  • Jespren
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    Jespren

    January 1, 2013 at 2:43 PM
    How 'bout instead of 'dad has to spend an hour arguing over a $300 item' it's "we will not collect it until the end of the school year". My mom works at a high school and is constantly confiscating cells used against school rule. If my kid (hypothetical, my eldest is 4) broke school rules and lost his cell it would jolly well sit in the secretaries locked drawer until the end of the school year.
  • Mary...
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Mary Cimino

    January 1, 2013 at 7:08 PM
    My little sister who lives with me hates the rules I have for phones and computers. It's simple, I have to have access to her phone including passwords. If I can't get in I take it away until she tells me the password. The only computer she's allowed on is the desktop in the living room and it faces me so I can see what's she on at all times. When I go to bed I change the WIFI password so she can't get on when I sleep. If she wants the WIFI password of the day she has to do her chores. My Best Friend is a computer genius and checks it from time to time to make sure she's not going somewhere she shouldn't be. He can get info even after you delete it lol. It makes her mad because she thinks I don't trust her. Well, prove to me I can trust you then you get more freedom. It's that simple. Oh, and she's mad because I won't let her have a smart phone. I'm not spending money for a 16 year old to have a nicer phone than me, she can live with the $20 Nokia I found at Wal-Mart 3 years ago.
  • Melem...
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    Melemogul

    January 2, 2013 at 1:21 AM
    I love the contract. Wish I'd thought about it before my sons got their phones this Christmas. Hey, never too late! I'll be showing them this contract for sure. And why they feel the need to photograph everything is exactly what I was wondering.
  • wamom223
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    wamom223

    January 3, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    I think you should have posted more of the original contract.  I think what this mom did was  inventive and we should all take a cue from her.


  • Gracie
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Gracie

    January 3, 2013 at 7:19 PM
    Everyone thinks I'm a little bit over the top, BUT my husband and I talked about it well before my son was born and decided that he WILL NOT have a typical cell phone until he has a job and can pay for it himself. I see nothing wrong with this because I did not have a cell phone until I had a little part-time after school job in high school. I remember us having a one line house phone and I thought I was the coolest kid EVER when my mom bought be a teal vtech cordless phone to plug into the phone jack in my bedroom as a teenager (keep in mind it was still the same shared phone line). My son will probably carry some kind of phone so that I can get a hold of him or so that he can call for help, but it will be something very basic and cheap that he can call Mom, Dad, grandparents, and emergency services...and that IS IT!
  • Samantha
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Samantha

    January 6, 2013 at 10:20 AM
    I do not have kids. but i do have a younger brother, which he lives with my mom. He wanted cell phones and my mom said no. My youngest brother got a cell phone from me and my husband last year. When we gave it to him, I told him that i will not pay for it and if you want mom to pay for it you better help her around the house. I also told him he better keep his grades up , cause if i find out they are lower then a C i will take the phone away. Well no the less he keeps his grades up. they have fell a few times. and when he shows them to me i get after him about it. Then when the grades come out again they are back where they should be. Also he helps my mom out around the house alot more now. Which is great because she is a single mother doing it on her own.
1-10 of 19 comments

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