Make a mobile phone contract with your child they’ll actually stick to

You’ve taken the plunge and purchased your child’s first mobile phone. Now’s the time to set some basic ground rules of phone ownership, as well as outline the responsibilities that come with having a mobile phone.

Creating a contract between you and your child mightn’t sound like fun. However, it has been shown to help teach children about rules, responsibilities and consequences.

Before you hand over their new mobile phone, draft a contract and go over every aspect of it with your child. Give them the opportunity to ask questions. They might even make some useful suggestions.

Sample mobile phone contract

There are a few different types of parent-child mobile phone contracts around. But if you want an agreement your child is actually going to want to read and sign, consider the balance of seriousness and fun.

The sample below can be used exactly as it is, or you might want to edit it to reflect your own rules and consequences.

My mobile phone agreement

Because mobile phones and apps are supposed to be fun and functional, here are some commitments we’re going to make together. These commitments will let us safely enjoy having the world at our fingertips and ensure our mobile phones don’t become something we fight about.

FOR U18S

I agree:

To balance my time online with other activities that involve:

  • Fresh air
  • Major muscle groups
  • Actual human beings
  • Homework, when required

If I’ve ceased to become a good judge of this ‘balance’ I’ll take your advice.

To respect myself and my privacy and the privacy of others. I will especially think twice (and sometimes three times or more) about signing up to, downloading, sending or forwarding any information from the internet.

To appreciate that:

  • Access to gadgets and wearables and their use is a privilege in this house,
  • Chatting with my friends, and watching online TV shows and YouTube clips costs money

To protect my equipment and avoid racking up expensive bills.

To report anything to my parent, trusted adult or school counsellor if it makes me uncomfortable and I know it is wrong. I will also encourage others in trouble to do the same. If someone is being bullied, I’ll do what I can do support them and get them help.

Signed:

FOR PARENTS

I agree:

To be cool. I acknowledge that it’s important to:

  • Have small freedoms
  • Develop your friendships and online identity
  • Explore the latest apps and technologies

I’ll respect your curiosity and take an interest in the viral videos, memes and games you want to show me.

But I won’t be too cool. I won’t:

  • Shame your in front of your friends – in person or online
  • Stalk you on social media
  • Photobomb your online images
  • Post any embarrassing baby photos of you without your permission

To set a good example, I won’t embarrass myself on social media, or engage in behaviour that sends the wrong message, like using the phone in the car, at dinner, or while we are having an actual conversation.

To listen. If you come to me with a problem, no matter how big, I will listen, trust you and won’t jump to conclusions. There is never a time limit and there is no issue too serious that I won’t want to hear from you. Your safety and the safety of your friends is too important to me.

Signed:

Do you have a mobile phone agreement in place with your child? What does it include?