Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Ugh, the time has come. I know I do not have to "give in," but I am choosing to let go of my idea of what should be and welcome (with boundaries) what is reality.

Penelope has been using her iPad for school work for quite some time. This past summer, she began iMessaging her friends and cousins. The iMessages have continued and now she FaceTimes her friends when allowed. I am still very strict about screen time and where the iPad may be used, but allowing some progression has opened the doors to conversations of screen shots, what is appropriate, social media, bullying, etc. With Penelope's iPad on the fritz and middle school approaching, the hubs and I had a discussion (more like an argument in which I "won") about getting Penelope a smart phone for Hanukkah.


It is clear a device is somewhat necessary for middle school. Many student assignments are completed on line and via apps. Yes, she could bring her temperamental iPad or a new iPad, but then I thought some more. Penelope stays home alone frequently. She also watches Pandora from time to time and was a mommy's helper over the summer. No one, including us, has a landline. If power goes out, internet gown down, FaceTime becomes unavailable on her iPad. Penelope has her Gizmo Gadget to use during the power outage situation. I was feeling great with the whole don't get her a phone until I realized Penelope cannot call 911 from her iPad or Gizmo Gadget. Sure, she can call me after she gets out of the house in case of a fire, but if she or her sister fell, choked, etc....How the hell is a phone call to me going to help? It would waste precious minutes in a true emergency. THAT fear is why I am pushing forward, pushed over the hubs, and secured a phone for Hanukkah. My 11.5 year old daughter is getting a phone for Hanukkah. We are those people. (DO NOT TELL HER!)

In an effort to maintain sanity in what is proving to be a crazy world, Penelope will have to sign the following contract. Any refusal and she does not get the phone. I made this contract up based on expectations previously set forth in our home. All the rules are maintainable because of parameters already in place. If you are a parent of a tween, teen and want to use this contract - go ahead. If you have a suggestion for the contract, email me - I would love the extra input. Hanukkah is still a few weeks away and it is eight nights, so I am not sure which night Penelope will be over the moon only to be smacked back down to the real world with the following: (Again, please DO NOT tell her!)

                                                          Cell Phone Contract

The following is a cell phone contract between my parents and me. I will abide by all rules and fully understand I will lose all phone privileges for a specific amount of time if any part of the contract is violated. I am initialing at each line to indicate my agreement and understanding. I will ask questions before signing because once my initials are written, I am telling my parents I know the expectation.

1. This phone belongs to my parents. I am merely borrowing it. __________
2. It is a privilege to have a phone. It is not a necessity. __________
3. This phone may not be in a room with doors. ___________
4. Any locator app installed on the phone must remain on at all times. _____________
5. Social Media will not be downloaded. ____________
6. Air Drop must remain off at all times. ____________
7. I do not expect to have privacy. My parents may look at my phone whenever._________
8. If text messages and/or apps are deleted before my parents can see it, I understand
they will find out and I lose my phone permanently. _________
9. I understand text messages can be screen shot and shared. _____________
10. I will not text anything I would not say to someone’s face. ___________
11. I will not send any picture of myself or friends. __________
12. The phone will be on the kitchen desk by 6:00 pm and may not be accessed again until
7:00 am. __________
13. Screen usage will be monitored. ___________
14. The phone will not leave the house with the exception being I am leaving alone and
need it for safety. ___________
15. I will not engage in group text messages before finding out the identity of all the
recipients. __________
16. I will not share anyone’s contact information without their approval. ___________
17. I will maintain Honor Roll each grading period. ____________
18. My parents will know all my passwords. _____________
19. I will show my parents any text message, picture message, chat, etc that is inappropriate and/or breaks any of the above rules. ___________
20. Every download needs permission, including downloads for school. ____________

This contract is good from December 2019 - August 2020. All rules are subject to change. There may be rules added to this contract, if necessary. Breaking any rule results in punishment. Permanent loss of the phone can be the punishment. I am aware that my parents, especially my mom, hate technology and will not hesitate to take the phone away in a moment’s notice. I will not abuse this privilege and I will be grateful for this amazing gift of responsibility.

  ________________________                                                          __________________
   (Child's signature)                                                                             (Parent signature)

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