Having a cell phone or smartphone opens up a whole new world for tweens and teens. Parents and kids need to be on the same page - literally - and this phone contract can help achieve that both with actual logistics as well as a broader idea of what phone behavior is acceptable, and what is not.
This is just an idea of what you may want to include in a contract that you and your kids have for their phones. Items you may want to add: what communication/approval a child must have with/from a parent prior to downloading anything, what the exact consequences of breaking the contract are, and specific financial details regarding phone replacement or over use.
Parent-Child Phone Contract
1. The phone belongs to the parental unit(s). I/we allow you to use it, provided that you abide the terms below. If you do not do so, I/we will take the phone away and you will have to earn it back.
2. I will always know the password for this phone and any app. I will monitor your phone regularly, including text messages, videos and apps. If there’s an issue, we will discuss it together.
3. Always answer calls from your parents. If you miss a call/text from them, return it immediately.
4. Give the phone to a parent at ___ p.m. every school night and every weekend night at ___ p.m.
5. Don’t call or text people if you can talk to them in person. Live in the moment, not on your phone.
6. Follow school rules about cell phones.
7. If something happens to your phone, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. If anything happens to it in your possession, you are responsible. The same is true if a friend does something to it. May I recommend starting an emergency fund just in case?
8. I permit you to use this phone because I trust you and believe you are a good person capable of making good choices. Do not use this technology to speak ill of another human being. Any form of bullying or rude behavior will result in loss of the phone. Be kind always: online, on your phone, in person. Also, be honest.
9. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud to them or their parents. If there’s ever any doubt, do not send/post/share it.
10. Keep your private parts private. Don’t search/view/share anything you wouldn’t share at the dinner table.
11. Do not take a photo or video of someone else and post without their permission.
12. Do not use your phone at mealtimes or while speaking with someone. Be polite and respectful.
13. If you exceed the allotted minutes and messages, you are responsible for the charges.
14. Remember that the Internet is forever. You will be tempted to do something questionable or risky. Know that what you do on the Internet can impact your life today and well into the future. Don’t do it. If you don’t want to explain it to your oldest relative or future boss, don’t do it.
15. Do not be disruptive in your cell phone use. If any adult asks you to stop talking or texting, you will.
16. If you have a question about anything, ask a parental unit.
17. You will make mistakes and there will be consequences. We will deal with that together. My job is to help you be safe and responsible. I love you.
Signed & Dated:
Click here for a printable version of the contract:
Every family is unique and so each family's phone contract should be unique, too. Adapt this however it works for your family. Actively involve your tweens/teens in writing your contract and ask for their input. You may be surprised at their suggestions.
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