Do you have a kids’ cell phone agreement?
So the day I’ve been dreading for years is finally here. Our oldest who is 13 is getting a cell phone sometime this month. There is a sort of dread because we are acknowledging Jules is really growing up and there is nothing we can do to stop it! There is also the dread of knowing that as parents, we realize we can not protect our little girl forever. As I was putting this contract together, I found so many other parents wanting me to share it with them. Thanks to so many of my IG readers for sending me advice and resources as I was putting together this kids’ cell phone agreement.
To tell you the truth, we were going to wait until next summer to give her a phone. She has been asking for one since 6th grade because most of her friends were given one in 4th or 5th grade. Jimmy and I decided that for our family, we personally wanted to wait as long as possible at least until they were teens. Connecting with her friends during quarantine was hard so I allowed her to use my iPad and phone to facetime with friends. Now that they are back in school, they use their devices to do a lot of technical tasks on their phones and Chromebooks. We live in a virtual world where the pandemic has made that even more of a reality.
Cell phones can be quite helpful. I know it’s not all bad. I do so much work on my cell phone so I understand it’s a fine balance. However, I also realize it’s one that adults struggle with just as much as kids when it comes to our devices. I have to personally be so intentional about not being enslaved to my phone. If anything, this contract will help keep me accountable just as much as our kids.
Because the nature of my work utilizes social media so much, I have seen firsthand the benefits of being on it AND the negative effects of it. Social media can be beneficial where it has actually helped form friendships with some of my blogger friends within our community. It can be a great source of entertainment, education, encouragement, and resource to learn something new.
I’m not writing this post to scare or shame anyone if you are a parent giving young kids this access. I will just say I believe we must be vigilant and careful if we do allow our kids to access things like Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat, etc. So much of what I have seen on those platforms is a big reason for us holding off on the phone as long as possible. Although Jules is not allowed to be on social media, I know there are going to be other challenges like the internet and even texting.
I have been on the receiving end of bullying comments and hateful direct messages. It’s sad but it comes with my job. I put a lot of content out there and sometimes, it just pisses people off. Pardon my language but it’s the truth. Who knew people were so impassioned about black painted staircases or my backsplash? It’s comical but that’s the reality of the online world of trolls. These trolls are actual human beings hiding behind their devices spending their time and energy spreading hate and vitriol. I’m not even going to talk about all the messages I receive from men trying to start a relationship with me. It’s maddening.
Jimmy and I were talking about this the other day because the same exact thing is happening to children. I’m a grown woman and I’ve had many years to know and embrace my identity in Christ. But if I’m receiving these types of messages, so is everyone else. When a child is still maturing emotionally and physically, this is absolute nonsense. Puberty was hard enough when we were growing up without all these factors am I right?
That’s why I decided a contract was important so we start with an understanding of expectations. It gives her necessary boundaries with the freedom she hasn’t yet experienced. I love sharing free content here with you all in hopes that it helps you tackle DIY projects, make that delicious meal, or inspire you to create. This is no different. It can at least help you with a starting point in communicating certain expectations with your kids. Feel free to use my exact agreement or modify it to fit your own family. Thanks to the Parent Cue for creating such a great agreement. I used their agreement as a base and added more to mine.
Click below to upload my kids cell phone agreement. Please also share this post with anyone that could use this type of information.
Jimmy did some research and discovered an amazing app called Bark to help monitor Jules’ phone. Bark monitors your child’s texts, email, YouTube, and 30+ apps and social media platforms for issues like cyberbullying, adult content, sexual predators, profanity, suicidal ideation, threats of violence, and more.
Jules is not allowed to be on social media but if your child is, this could be a super helpful app for you. It even has time limits where it shuts down certain activities. You can either pay monthly of $14 or $99/year. It also allows you to connect it to unlimited amount of devices so you can add their ipads, Chromebooks, etc. I HIGHLY recommend this app. This is NOT sponsored but coming from one vigilant mama to another.
If you look at the app, it has a bunch of low reviews. This is because a bunch of teens got on Tik Tok and spread the word to write bad reviews because they hated the fact that their parents were using it. You will see that all the high reviews are from parents. As kids get older, we can change the boundaries slowly to give them more freedom. This has given us so much more peace of mind.
Here’s to parenting with wisdom and not fear. Here’s to coaching our kids so they can learn to make good decisions as we equip them with discernment. There will be mistakes made on both sides but here’s to keeping an open line of communication so that they know they can always come to us for anything.
A couple of documentaries were recommended to me so I also wanted to share them here. A family friend who loves our kids dearly advised us to watch Childhood 2.0. Her family experienced some trauma and a very difficult number of years after her daughter received a phone at age 10/11. Another one is The Social Dilemma. Have you seen either one of these?
We’re in this together, parents! Please feel free to share any resources on the comments below.
Let all that you do be done in Love. 1 Corinthians 16:14
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