Our iPhone Contract

6TH GRADE GRADUATION VPE 06-13-13b (15 of 28)When is it the proper time to allow your child a smart-phone? Each family has their own needs and thoughts on the matter. I support everyone’s decision. It is a personal one. For our family, we just crossed over in allowing our oldest this sensitive right of passage. With that came Our iPhone Contract.

Many moons ago she admittedly felt she needed/wanted/had-to-have one.  I will not lie,  the whining of peer pressure was knocking on the door.  But, we held out. Old School Style.  Fighting off the peer pressure with our heads held high. We made her wait for Graduation/Promotion, whatever you wish to call it. Knowing she was going to graduated with uber  honors from 6th grade, working long hours for those A’s her entire elementary ‘graded’ career, we felt an iPhone would be her graduation gift after crossing the finish line. It felt right. But we made her wait.

Over dinner last night we handed her this lovely gift. Wish you could have seen her reaction. It belongs on Ellen. After iTunes accounts were sync’d this morning, there was one more thing. Drum roll please.

Our families iPhone CONTRACT.

With Father’s Day approaching I would be remiss not to mention my Father always did this with my kin. Back in the day he would have my siblings and I sign contracts whenever he felt a right-of-passage was upon him. Drivers licenses, high-school curfews, and paying off first car purchases were just to name a few. You know what, if smart-phones were around when I was a young grasshopper, he would have drafted his own version of an iPhone Contract. It would have been epic and gone ‘viral’.

I did a little research online and came up with two amazing resources; Kelly Gallagher and Janell Burley Hofmann.  Be sure to check them out. I thank them for helping me on this one. With their words as my inspiration and cornerstones, we crafted our own families contract. If you want to make it your own, I’d be both honored and flattered. Besides, in spreading this word, my hopes that  future generations of smart-kids will know how to properly use their smart-phones with manners,  making living on this little blue marble a little bit of a better place for both  you and I.

Without further adieu;

Dear Graduate,

Congratulations honey! You are now the proud owner of an iPhone. Hot Diggity Dawg! You are a fantastic student and responsible 13-year-old girl and you deserve this gift. With the acceptance of this gift come rules. I know.

Please read through the following contract. We hope you understand it’s our job to raise you into a well-rounded, mentally healthy young woman that can function in the world and coexist with technology.

Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership in part or in total, either temporarily or permanently. Your parents will decide.

We love you madly and look forward to sharing eleventy million text messages with you in the days, weeks and years to come.The ground rules are as follows:

1. It is our phone. Mommy and Daddy bought it. We pay for it. We are loaning it to you. Aren’t we awesome parents?

2. We will always know the password.

3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad.” Not ever. Ever.

4. All school policies will be followed pertaining to having the iPhone on campus during school hours.

5. Hand the phone to one of your parents or plug it into the KITCHEN charging station promptly at 7:30pm every school night and at 9:00pm weekend nights remaining there the entire night.

6. If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, either early in the morning or late in the evening, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families.

6. If it falls into the potty, the screen shatters after being ‘placed’ on the ground, or vanishes into thin air; you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Organize drawers in the kitchen, fold laundry, wash the dogs, and stash some birthday money. It will happen; you should be prepared to pay $200. We bought you insurance so you wouldn’t be out $600. You’re welcome.

7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, deceive or hurt another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first and stay out of any drama/crossfire.

8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person. Even if you are angry.

9. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.

10. No naughty stuff. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask an adult — preferably Mommy or Daddy.

11. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult/professional life. Everything you do on your iPhone, text – calls – photo, is saved by someone or something. Assume anything you write or photograph will become available to everyone on the internet. Worldwide. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.

12. Follow proper cell phone etiquette. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

Phone Etiquette Rules

  • Lower your voice when taking calls in public.
  • Avoid personal topics when others can hear you.
  • Avoid taking calls when you are already in a face-to-face conversation. If you do take a call, ask permission of the people with you.
  • Avoid texting during face-to-face conversations.
  • Put your phone’s ringer on silent when in restaurants and movie theaters.
  • Don’t light up your screen when in a dark movie theater.
  • Hang up and drive. At any given time, about 3% of people driving are simultaneously talking on their phones. NO TEXTING AND DRIVING.
  • Acknowledge the delay. All cell phones involve latency, which means there is a delay when you speak and when the other person hears it.
  • Don’t blame the other person for a dropped call. If you make 100 calls a week, you can expect to experience between 2-4 dropped calls each and every week.
  • Avoid looking things up during a conversation,
  • Avoid inappropriate profile picture. Facebook lets users synchronize contact information, including profile pictures, with their cell phone address books. Many higher-quality phones show your pictures on the screen when you call.
  • Be mindful about Facebook tagging. When you snap a photo with your phone and tag someone in it, you’re showing the picture to all of his Facebook friends.
  • Observe the 10-foot proximity rule. Keep a distance of 10 feet from the nearest person when talking on a cell phone.

13. There will be a Life360 GPS tracking application installed and operational at all times on your iPhone. We will be able to see your GPS map location and vice versa. It is meant to keep you safe, and help locate the iPhone if it has gone missing. We both will instantly feel peace of mind in knowing that everyone is where they’re supposed to be. Consider it our life line to you. This one is a deal breaker. Don’t leave it at the library to go to a rager when you are 16, we will find out. Always. You will be busted. Not that you would ever do this. We trust you.

14. You will mess up. We will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You and I, we are always learning. We are in this together.

It is my hope that you can agree to these terms. Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life. You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world. It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get. Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any smartphone. We trust you.

We love you and hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone.

Your Parents,


Signed and Dated

Teenage iPhone user


Signed and Dated

She signed it and we will be checking on her in the days, weeks and years to come.


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