Mom Makes 12-Year-Old Son Sign 17-Point Contract Before Getting His First Cell Phone
Giving your child a phone is a tricky decision to make. And it has become increasingly so over the last few years. Many parents worry that their child being in possession of a cell phone could potentially put their health and safety at risk.
And that's because having access to a cell phone, in turn, gives the user access to potentially harmful material. It can also make them vulnerable to developing issues with their body image and alarmingly creates more opportunities for them to come into contact with predatory individuals. Aside from all that, it is also believed to adversely affect their social development.
In light of this, many parents struggle to come to the "right decision" in terms of whether or not their child is ready to have their own phone.
If you can relate to this, you may want to follow the same course of action taken by one particular mother who found herself in a similar position.
Her name is Mel Watts, also known as The Modern Mumma, and she made her son Ayden sign a 17-point contract before allowing him the privilege of having his very own phone. She then posted the contract to her blog.
"Before we gave Ayden his mobile phone we wrote up an agreement that was to be agreed on by his three parents (modern-day families these days lol)," she wrote on the blog. "And then had to be signed by ALL parties. This piece of paper pretty much gave up the ability to put down some ground rules and also allow us to monitor what he’s doing."
"To be honest no I don’t think we should be giving our younger teenagers mobile phones with social media, however, I didn’t want to be that parent who wouldn’t allow it," she continued. "I grew up with parents who didn’t allow me to have a phone and I did feel isolated and left out, it wasn’t a nice feeling.
"Having to trust that your child is doing the right thing is nerve-wracking. It's a big step and a scary one for some parents."
If Ayden breaks any of 17 rules in the contract, he will be aptly punished by having his phone confiscated.
Here are all 17 of the clauses in the contract:
- You acknowledge that if phone is broken or lost, you are to replace it or fix it at your own cost. We have taken the responsibility to provide you with a top of the range screen protector and cover.
- Always answer your parents' calls. If you can't answer, message us, call us when you can. If no contact is made, then we look for you.
- Data - once you go over your data you don't get any extra till your next data top-up.
- No mobile phones in rooms.
- Mobile phone is to be given to parents before you go bed - at both houses.
- Screen times apply. No messaging people before 7.30am, some people actually sleep in, strange huh?!
- Follow the school's rules and policies for mobile phones.
- Do NOT take photos, movies of people who aren't aware. This includes strangers. Especially if someone asks you not to take image.
- Do NOT upload anything on social media that you wouldn't like being uploaded about yourself or your sisters. Or you wouldn't want your mother or grandmother to see.
- Don't troll people on social media.
- Passwords and account names - accessible at all times. You change the password and we don't know - IT'S GONE.
- If you delete and purposefully hide things on your phone, social media or emails, you'll lose the accounts.
- Remember what you write and say. Writing something can come across completely differently to what someone might have meant.
- What you post on social media is forever.
- If you are being bullied - show us. Don't hide it.
- Understand your SIM card and use of our phone is a huge privilege.
- Any violence, issues that cause us to lose trust in your will result in banned phone.
Also included in the same blog post, in which she uploaded the contract, are some tips for parents who remain unsure as to whether or not to give their child a phone.
- Trust your gut. If you feel something is off search the phone. Children (yes regardless that’s what they are) hide things from their parents usually because they're scared they’d get in trouble or embarrassed.
- DO NOT allow them to hide you from your social media. If you’re being hidden they’re doing something they shouldn’t – trust me.
- Kids are smarter in this area, it sucks I know but they are. Be strong and stand your ground. If they’re being protective of the phone take it and search. Password changes – loss of phone.
Do the clauses in the contract seem like reasonable ground rules to set before allowing your kid to have a phone of their own? Or has Watts been a tad overzealous here? Share your thoughts in the comments!