Does Your Teen Want an iPhone? Make Them Sign This
For the past two years, my oldest son (now 14) has begged me for an iPhone. Each time the discussion came up, I explained the recurring monthly expense of smart phones. Instead of sending our family money to Apple (AAPL) and AT&T (T) each month, wouldn't it be wiser to bank the money for college or buy him a used car in a few years? I won the argument over and over again. Until yesterday, when he "graduated" from eighth grade. My wife and I finally broke down and purchased him an iPhone 5. But before he could use the device, I drew up a contract — a letter of agreement, of sorts — for him to sign.
Here's what it said:
Proper Use Contract
June 20, 2013
Dear Mom and Dad,
As a proud iPhone/smartphone/Internet user I promise you:
- NO SEXTING: No sexting or behavior of any type in that manner. If someone sends me adult content I will NOT reply but I will inform you that I received the junk.
- NO PORN, NO EXCESSIVE VIOLENCE: No viewing porn, nudity, adult content, excessive violence or junk of that nature.
- PAID APPs: I will not download or buy any paid apps without your permission.
- FREE APPS: I will only download free apps (that would meet your approval) while using WIFI within our home — not a cellular/data connection.
- MOVIES, MUSIC AND MORE: I will not find, accept, download, copy, store, watch or use rated R movies (or worse) or adult-oriented content on my iPhone.
- SOCIAL MEDIA: I will not sign up for any social media, email or other types of communication accounts without your permission. I will not use hidden accounts.
- DATA LIMITS: If I approach my monthly data limit I will let you know and also stop using data for the remainder of the month to make sure I don’t incur extra fees.
- PASSWORDS: I will share all account information (user names and passwords) with my parents. I will NOT share account information (passwords) with anyone else.
- COMMUNICATIONS: I will treat all people with respect in all communications.
- DEVICES: All of these proper-use rules apply to any type of digital device I use –- smartphone, PC, Mac, tablet, iPad, etc.
- VIOLATIONS: If I violate any of these rules I know I will lose the iPhone and be grounded.
In many respects my son earned the iPhone over the past year. His grades and maturity have amazed me. But my wife and I made it clear to him that:
- an iPhone (in his case) is a luxury, not a necessity.
- My wife and I maintain ownership of that luxury.
- He is merely a smartphone user (NOT owner) with limited rights that we'll revoke at a moment's notice if he screws up.
Here on MSPmentor, we spend considerable time blogging about mobile device management. Smartphones come with plenty of business risks. But personal risks are even higher. My son now has the power of the world at his fingertips. I'm confident he'll use that power wisely. But as Ronald Reagan often said: Trust but verify.
P.S. — My son signed the contract without hesitation.