An Alternate Parent-Child Cellphone Contract

What the hell, I don’t usually post this kind of thing here, but the ‘contract’ that provided the incentive to write this apparently got 88,000 likes on Facebook in 20 hours and if I want to have any counter-proliferation I’ve got to reach as far as I can. So here’s a set of ground rules for having a cellphone to provide to a child or teenager you’re raising. They encourage positive behavior instead of expecting negative behavior. Please share it if you like it!

Positive Parent-Child Cellphone Contract

1.) Be polite. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t do anything you know you shouldn’t do on a computer. Don’t do anything you shouldn’t do in real life.

2.) Your phone is a journal to help you remember and enjoy your life. Don’t let it become a barrier to experiencing it.

3.) Paying attention while driving (when you drive) is an important experience. Especially don’t let your phone become a barrier to this.

4.) I will always pick you up, without reproach, if you call me and ask. No matter when, no matter where.

5.) Take pictures. Show them to me.

6.) If you think something bad has happened, don’t assume other people will make a call. Be the one. You may save lives.

7.) Your phone can prevent injustice. If you can’t stop something bad from happening, record it.

8.) If your grades suffer because of your phone, I’ll be disappointed and your phone will be sad. Don’t make your phone sad.

9.) Try out that popular music you scorn. Try out that old music you laugh at. It’s easy and nobody will know.

10.) Answer my texts, or else I’ll probably call to make sure you got them and that would be embarrassing for both of us. But wait until you’re no longer driving.

11.) Yes, I’m going to have the password. If you’ve left your phone behind, you’ve probably left a vital clue to rescuing you from kidnappers on the device.

12.) Try to be kind to somebody every day. What does this have to do with your phone? Well, a phone opens up so many more ways to be kind. Encouraging texts, playing somebody’s favorite song for them, calling your grandmother….

13.) If you break your phone by installing dubious software, dropping it into the lake, or throwing it at the wall, you will no longer be able to take awesome pictures, listen to secret pleasures, text your best friend or play that ridiculous game. None of us want that. Replacing it will cost you time, great photo-ops, a high score and money. Do your best to treat your phone well.

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