So you are giving your child a mobile phone!

phoneMY 13-YEAR OLD NIECE recently did something to her mobile phone...and it locked her out. Her mother took the pains of getting the telco in order to get it back to working order. Her daughter was quite content to wait for the mum to settle it for her.

This is not an isolated incident. Parents are indeed allowing their children to have their own mobile phone, and even taking the initiative to ensure the device is in working order!

We also resort to reminding them to take the phone when they are out on approved activities so that we can contact them when necessary.

While boys tend to be ambivalent about the device to the point of forgetting they have one, girls tend to be more consumed with it...probably because they develop their linguistic skills earlier!

Contract on mobile phone usage
In this connected time, we can see the value of such a device to staying connected, teaching budgeting skills, cultivating responsible communication habits, etc. In this context, some parents are preparing a mobile phone contract (with their children) together with the presentation of the phone. The contract details can be reviewed on a periodic basis (maybe half-yearly or annually) and a fresh one signed to supercede the earlier one.

We would love to hear from onSponge parents on what you think of we attach a sample made between a fictitious kid called Juanita and her parents:

Sample contract

Juanita's mobile phone: Contract between Juanita and her parents.

Juanita will be leased a family mobile phone daily and it will be used with the following rules:

1. Phone will be leased to Juanita on a daily basis.
2. We expect the same rules on the phone as we do in personal interactions – all language both verbally and through messages should be appropriate, respectful, and kind at all times.
3. All Contacts in the Phone Book must be approved by Mum or Dad.
4. No phone calls after 9pm weekdays, 11pm weekends unless they are to Mum and Dad, or pre-approved by us.
5. Juanita is allowed the voice and messaging limits set by her service plan.

6. Any additional features (eg new ring tones, games) require permission from Mum or Dad and payment by Juanita.
7. No mobile phone at any meal table or during family time unless permission is obtained from Mum or Dad.
8.   Web Surfing is not available or approved on phone.
9.   If asked to turn off/stop playing/get off mobile phone, must do so immediately.
10. When at home, will only use the regular phone instead of mobile phone to make calls.
11. When out with friends will always have mobile phone with you and ‘on’ so mum and dad can reach you if needed.

If the rules have not been met, these consequences will be implemented:

1. If you break any of the rules above, you will lose phone privileges for 1 day.
2. If you go over the limit in phone charges, you must pay the entire difference for that month. If it happens again, you will lose phone privileges.
3. If asked more than twice to turn off/put down mobile phone, or the phone is used during meal or family time, personal phone privileges will be removed for a day (only may be used to call mum and dad).
4. Mobile phone is your responsibility. You may not loan it to friends, and anything a friend says or messages on your phone is your responsibility.
5. This is a one-month trial period, and will be re-evaluated at the end of September or upon receipt of the phone bill for September. After that, we will re-evaluate every 6 months to discuss any appropriate changes or increases in privileges.

Signed:  Juanita  /  <her parents>
Date:  31 August