Updated Teenage cell phone contract to include smartphone usage.

Two years ago, my husband and I gave our 14 year old son a cell phone for his birthday.
He was pretty convinced that he was the last living person to not have the ability to text.
His phone was a fairly basic pre-paid phone that could text and make phone calls, but little else.
Before we gave him the phone, we created a teenage cell phone contract.

That teen cell phone contract has been downloaded, shared and viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, 
and {though I promise I am not bitter}
I'm pretty sure it's even been copied and passed off as their own
{or been the source of "inspiration"}
for plenty more teenage cell phone contracts.
One may have even been picked up by the Huffington Post.
Again, I'm not bitter.

It's totally fine!
I think the best thing we can do as parents of teens is to parent intentionally.
Know what you are up against and don't just assume that your children know the unspoken rules.

As parents, we thought that with just two short years at home left,
we would allow our son to have a smartphone for his 16th birthday.
He needs to learn how to guide himself around the wild world of the internet,
with our help and guidance of course.
Which is why you will find the updated teenage cell phone contract below.

Our son can no longer just text and call with his phone,
 He can e-mail, search the web, download apps, take videos and so much more.
This is the contract that we have agreed on and will follow.

This contract fits our family.
Feel free to use what works for yours and change what doesn't.
But as always, please give credit where credit is due.
If you want to copy this and spread it out to every student in your school,
please do, just reference my blog and where the parents can find it.
If you want to write your own article about cell phones and teenagers, that's great! We need more parent friendly articles to help navigate this technology saturated generation, just link back to me when you use my information.

I know that having a cell phone to use is a privilege. I understand that my parents love me and want to keep me safe. My parents respect that I am becoming a young adult and want the privilege of having the use of a cell phone. With that in mind, I agree that:

1.    My cell phone must be turned off by my bedtime and placed in an agreed upon location downstairs.  It is my responsibility to be sure the cell phone is being charged when necessary.

2.    During family meals, my cell phone will be turned off or silenced and in my pocket or placed away from the table.  I will not check texts or take calls during meal time.

3.    I will practice proper etiquette when using my cell phone in public places, and be conscious of how my usage affects those around me.  My phone will be turned off or silenced when I am in church, restaurants, or other quiet settings, and I will not place or take texts or calls during those times.

4.    I understand that having a cell phone is a means of communication, and is not a replacement for actual face to face interaction with my friends and family members.  Therefore, when I am with others, I will make the people I am with my priority.

5.    I am responsible for knowing where my cell phone is and for keeping it in good working condition.

6.    I will obey all rules my school has regarding cell phone usage on school grounds.

7.    I will never text while driving, and will not ride in a car with someone who does.

8.    I will not use my cell phone to take pictures or video of nudity, violence or other unlawful activity.

9.    I will not use my cell phone for malicious purposes, i.e. bullying, spreading rumors/gossip, etc, nor will I send or forward text messages, pictures, or videos that are vulgar, obscene, violent, or sexual in nature.  I understand that such things are both highly inappropriate and potentially illegal.

10.  I am responsible for ensuring that my internet usage and that the content and apps on my phone comply with the standards of appropriateness set forth by my parents.  In addition, I will request permission before downloading any communication or social media related apps.

11.  I will alert my parents if I receive suspicious or alarming phone calls or text messages.

12.  I will alert my parents if I am being harassed by someone via my cell phone.

13.  I understand that my parents can go through the contents of my phone at any time, with or without my knowledge.  I agree to surrender my cell phone immediately to my parents if asked.  I will not delete my texting history without permission, and I will fully cooperate in showing my parents the contents of my cell phone, including contacts, pictures, videos, text messages, etc, stored within.

14.  I will always respond to my mom or dad’s texts/calls as soon as possible in the given situation.

15.  I understand that I do not have unlimited calling and that each call over the limit is charged by the minute.  I am accountable for my call usage, and am responsible for any overage fees.

16.  I understand that I am required to manage my time in such a way that my phone usage doesn’t interfere with my responsibilities, and that my phone may be taken away for failing to complete school assignments or not maintaining a sufficient grade point average, as defined by my parents. 

17.  I understand that my cell phone may be taken away for disrespectful or disobedient behavior, including (but not limited to) back talking, inappropriate sibling interactions (i.e. fighting, hitting, name calling, etc.), and failure to complete responsibilities at home when asked or required.

18.  I understand that failure to follow and respect any of these rules can result in the loss of my cell phone for any length of time determined by my parents.


got2havefaith said...

I wrote one for my tween! It is so important to have this conversation with your kids about what is acceptable and what is not.

the4browns said...

This is still the best cell phone contract around!

the4browns said...

This is still the best cell phone contract around!

Kim Tisdale said...

Thank you Rachel!! We have communicated all these points with our daughter regarding her smart phone, but to have them all listed in a contract that she can sign is exactly what we needed.

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