CellPhone Rules For Kids


Looking for a new hero? How about Janell Hoffman? The mother of a 13-year-old who wanted a smartphone for Christmas decided she’d grant his big wish … but before Janell handed over the shiny new iPhone, the Massachusetts mom made teenage son Greg sign an 18-point contract she’d written up.

Love my cellphone though I do (seriously, you’ll have to pry my iPhone from my cold, dead hands), I have to admit this woman is a mom after my own heart. Everywhere you turn, there’s another “jerk with a cellphone,” and parents handing them out to snot-nosed teenagers willy nilly doesn’t exactly help. In fact, I’m wondering if Hoffman went far enough.

Hoffman’s cellphone contract calls for her son to:

Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without Googling.

All great points. But if you’re fashioning your own contract for the kid, you might want to add in:

1. I will not text you from my bedroom when I could just get off my butt and walk into the kitchen.

2. I will not go over to Grandma’s house and give her another reason to get on Mom’s case about what a bad job she’s doing as a parent because I was staring at the little box in my hand the entire time.

3. I will not download a ringtone that makes Mom jump out of her skin every single blessed time a friend calls.

4. I will not use it to photograph every single thing I eat and upload it to Facebook because it’s now 2013, and, well, actually no one liked it in 2012 either.

5. I will use a password more complicated than 1234 or 1111 so that some jerk can’t just jack my phone when I leave it in my locker.

6. I won’t use it in English class and get it taken away from the teacher so Dad has to go up to the school and argue with the principal for an hour to get a $300 item back.

7. I will not duckface. Or take photos in the bathroom with Mom’s bra hanging off the towel rack in the background.

8. I will take advantage of the maps and dictionary apps instead of asking Mom and Dad ANOTHER DUMB QUESTION.

9. If my Temple Run score is better than Mom’s, I will not hold it over her head.

10. I will call when soccer practice is cancelled, not three hours later after all of my friends have left, and I’m standing in the freezing cold in a pissy mood about being alone and cold.

Come on, help a mother out, what are the annoying things your kids do with their cellphones that you could have prevented in a contract?

. About the author
Jeanne Sager writes articles for The Stir by day, slays closet monsters and bounds through bedtime stories with her elementary schooler by night. The Phineas and Ferb soundtrack reverberates through her brain.

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