If you are planning to handover a smartphone to your child, a smartphone monitoring contract could be a nice idea to mediate their first few years of cell phone use. This is a contract between you and your child that can teach them how to be a responsible and safe digital citizen.
Following are a few clauses that you could possibly add to a smartphone contract and the reasons why you should have a smartphone contract with your child.
Text free zones
This rule will set limits on when your kids can text, or more precisely, when they can’t. You can add text free zones during meals, or any other family time when you find that cell phones could really hinder the whole bonding and communication process. “No phone zones” could be really effective, not only for a better family bonding, but also for keeping your kids safe. Their productivity could also improve if they are only allowed to use their cell phone for a certain time in a day. They can sleep better, drive more safely and can even concentrate better with this rule.
Your kids’ cell phone abuse cannot only consume their social life, but also the academics. Smartphones are a great distraction for your child in class and during homework time. This lead to serious damage to their school grades. You don’t necessarily need to keep strict routines and unnecessary restrictions. It’s possible that your kids understand the importance of their school and only use their cell phone after completing their schoolwork. It’s also possible that your kids are keeping the perfect balance between schoolwork and their cell phone use. A recent study discusses how strict parenting could lead to delinquency in the later years of a child. Don’t be that parent!
Smartphones contracts are a privilege, not a right
It’s startling that how quickly adults start believing that it’s their right to monitor their kids’ smartphones. However, a smartphone contract has no legal value and is only a way to reinforce positive habits in a child. So never constitute any such terms and conditions that could negatively reinforce their behavior. You may own their smartphone but not their privacy and rights.
In fact, there is a study by CDC that discusses how clear communication (about expectation and consequences) could lead to healthier upbringing of teens.
You might want to refrain yourself from monitoring your teens after reading through the aforementioned, but the reality is that teens could get themselves in the labyrinth of social media upheavals unintentionally. You can’t deny the fact that internet is not one of the safest places around, and therefore, you can leave your child’s personal devices unmonitored. Reward your teens with something that could positively encourage them to keep up the good behavior.
When you setup a smartphone contract, your child needs to know that you are always there for them if something unfortunate happens. You need to take the right steps to keep your child safe from bullying or harassment. If your kid ever find themselves being bullied, console them and explain that it’s not their fault.
Let them take the control
No matter how much you do, it’s always going to end up on your child. It’s their phone and it’s their responsibility to use it for the right reasons. Let your kids face the natural consequences that aren’t too tough on them. If your kid breaks, loses or damages their phone, they are responsible for it. If they don’t charge it and have to spend their whole day at school without a cell phone, that’s on them. Let them learn through consequences that won’t have a dynamic impact on their lives. They will learn one day why it’s so important for them to be a responsible owner of their property.
Include a parental controls use into the smartphone contract
The easiest way for you to take care of your child’s cell phone use is by inculcating parental controls on their cell phones. You can do that by taking some help from a smartphone contract. If your kids wont acquiesce to the use of a smartphone monitoring app, tell them they won’t be able to use their cell phone. These apps can help you track your child’s cell phone activity without intruding their use.
Be an example
Lastly, you need to realise that whatever you want your kids to follow, it needs to be reflected through your actions first. You can’t tell your child not to use their cell phone during meals, if you are constantly checking on your notifications. Similarly, put aside your phone during family time like watching TV or when on a family vacation. Disconnect and work on a better bonding with your kids. After all, a good communication is centric to healthier parent-kid relationship.