I wish I had done that!!!

Janell Burley Hofmann with her son Gregory

Janell Burley Hofmann with her son Gregory
She gave him a cell phone on Christmas with a Code of Conduct

Over the years, cell phones have become quite indispensable. In fact as I had written in this blog post, they have almost become our sixth sensory organ.

They have become the most coveted objects for the teenagers. The age at which they want to get their own cell phone is becoming younger.

But the cellphones are also very addictive as we have been witnessing. They may turn teenagers unsociable, lead to accidents or compromise their hearing by giving them iPod-itis.

At the same time, teens face  tremendous peer pressure to posses cellphones. And we, as parents, want to give everything in the world to our children. How do we do it, and minimize the risks involved?

Janell Burley Hofmann, gave it to her son, with a code of conduct. You can read the original post here. She starts by saying

Merry Christmas!  You are now the proud owner of an iPhone.  Hot Damn!  You are a good & responsible 13 year old boy and you deserve this gift.  But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations.  Please read through the following contract.  I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.  Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.

 I love you madly & look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.

After that, she is all business. It is a contract with 18 numbered points! 🙂

She tells Gregory in no uncertain terms that since she has paid for the phone, it belongs to her and she has only lent it to him. Some other significant points are

  • Phone password must be known to her. No secrets on phone from parenrs
  • All phones from the parents must be answered.
  • The phone is out of bounds later in the evening, after 7.30 PM. On weekends he can use it a little longer, till 9 PM.
  • Not allowed to take the phone to school
  • Don’t be rude with people because of the phone.
  • Start collecting money to replace the phone in case it is lost / damaged
  • Not to use the phone to cheat, lie, hurt anyone else
  • Not to  say anything on phone that you won’t say in person
  • No porn
  • Not taking and sending pictures of his own or someone else’s private parts
  • Leave the phone home from time to time and still feel safe & secure
  • Don’t be completely engrossed in the phone. Be in the real world and be with people.

I think that’s a great way to make the child responsible.

Still I think she missed an important one. Not using the phone to listen to music with earphones while walking on the streets.

I wish I had done similar thing with my children, when I gave them the phones. We have a verbal agreement no doubt, but no written contract. I think the act of creating a written contract would have made those verbal agreements a little more binding.

What do you think? How to make sure that children use their cellphones more responsibly? Do write comments.

This entry was posted in Fundas, relationships and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to I wish I had done that!!!

  1. Aadil says:

    I’m not so sure of this method. I think any written contract very soon gets adhered to in letter rather than in spirit. People have a natural tendency to figure out loopholes to do what they want and still not break the contract. It might be better to keep subtly guiding the kid towards what you think is right.

    Dont you think such a contract is inconsistent with your idea here?

    In all my naivete as a recent parent…i might change my opinion when i actually have this problem 😉

    • Adil
      It’s not important that it was a written contract. WHat is important was that there was an accepted code of conduct around the smarthphone.
      I don’t think it in anyway conflicts with my ideas about trust between parent and child. There can be an accepted code of behaviour between them, and then the parent can trust that the child will follow. e.g. Between me an my father, there was a known expectation that I will tell whatever I do, and he will give me a patient hearing. It was not written, but it somehow evolved. And that’s why I did tell him when I smoked.

      The growth on the parenthood journey is very exciting. Not only does the chile grows, but so also the parents. Enjoy the journey. 🙂

  2. bschirato says:

    Great blog. I love the idea of a written contract, and actually have a written “academic contract” with my 15 year old son that is stuck to our refrigerator and is signed by me, my husband and my son. I did NOT do this for cell phones, and will consider it with the next upgrade. 🙂 That said, the peer pressure (here at least) is incredible. Just this morning my 6 year old son said that people are calling him a “nerd” because he doesn’t have a cell phone. 😦 Of course I tried to explain that possession of a cell phone (or lack thereof) doesn’t make one a nerd, but I feel this is a conversation I shouldn’t even need to have at this young age.

  3. Prajakta says:

    Adding one more …this holds true for adults too 🙂
    Use of cell Phones while driving . I still don’t understand people have the best of the car and best of the phone but save on Bluetooth ear device …

  4. Aniket says:

    Nice article. We being parents are so addictive to cell phones and listening to music when we are walking on roads, it becomes difficult to ask children no to do so. (they are following their parents :)). I agree with Makarand sir. There should be some king of written rules and regulations and children should understand the seriousness of those. there has to be balance maintained with luxury lifestyle, habits / addiction and awareness of using such things.

    Thanks you sir for getting this topic in discussion as we will be going through the same shortly 🙂

  5. Kiran Mohite says:

    Use of phones is to make and receive calls,
    If parents provide their child phones with basic features then they don’t even need to worry for all 12 points mentioned above :).
    One more way to make child responsible, is not to present their wish as gift,
    This will automatically make them responsible.

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