Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cell Phones for Middle Schoolers & Tweens

We a have completed survived Week #1 with the children having cell phones.

Biggest surprise: Oldest Son's friends texting Youngest Son - did not see that one coming. Our intended relief of communication challenges with the kids has been realized immediately.

I have come to the important realization that the middle school and tween years provide an opportunity to teach our kids how to appropriately use a cell phone, text messages and email - just like we have taught them table manners and to say please and thank you and look people in the eye when they meet them. At this young age, we still have great influence and control. Frankly, they are also just so grateful to enter the 21st century. As we hit the Upper School years, I know our control becomes less and less as it should - we are trying to create that voice in their head that guides them when their parents are not around.

So our Commuter Family has come up with a mutually agreeable Cell Phone Contract and we have executed it. The boys' reaction? There was zero grief and Oldest Son even thanked and HUGGED us for putting the contract together so there is no confusion. Both boys asked me to email the rules to them! Here it is ...

Rule #1:    YOU will place your phone in the office by 9pm to charge. The cell phone is not allowed in your room at night.
Rule #2:   YOU will not use your cell phone during regular school hours. The phone must be on "silent mode" during school hours and left in your backpack. You must read and know your school's rules for cell phones and follow them.
Rule #3:    YOU will not use your cell phone on family days, at family meals or during other important family times.
Rule #4:    YOU will not text or email pictures or videos of any kind.
Rule #5:       YOU will make sure that each cell phone contact is a real friend or family member.
Rule #6:       YOU may only give your phone number to a real friend or family member.
Rule #7:       YOU will not answer any calls or reply to any texts unless you know who it is (Caller ID). You will always respond when Mommy or Daddy calls.
Rule #8:       YOU will not use your cell phone until your homework and chores are completed for the day.
Rule #9:     YOU will provide your phone for inspection whenever Mom or Dad requests it.  This is NOT a democracy!
Rule #10:    YOU are not allowed to delete any texts without permission from Mommy or Daddy.
Rule #11:    YOU will not send threatening or mean texts or emails to others.
Rule #12:    YOU are responsible for knowing where you phone is, and for keeping it in good condition.
Rule #13:    YOU understand that your phone may be taken away if you:
·               talk back to your parents or other adults
·               fail to do my chores, or
·               fail to keep my grades up
Rule #14:    YOU promise to alert Mom and/or Dad if I receive suspicious or alarming phone calls or text messages from people I don't know.
Rule #15:    YOU promise to alert Mom and/or Dad if I am being harassed by anyone.
Rule #16:    YOU promise not to use your phone's camera to take photos or videos of others without their permission. No embarrassing photos.
Rule #17:    YOU promise not to text one friend while you're spending time with another. That's rude and can hurt feelings. Text messaging and phone etiquette requires you to think about how your actions make other people feel.
Rule #18:    YOU promise not to text a friend when you've just had a disagreement, fight or angry with one another.
Rule #19:    YOU promise that, since text messages can be misunderstood because the recipient of the message can't see the sender's facial expressions or hear her tone of voice, you will make it clear that jokes or sarcastic comments are just that through the use of words, smiley faces, etc.
Rule #20:    YOU promise not to give bad news in a text or message.
Rule #21:    YOU promise not to gossip about others, trashing others, or be unkind in general about others in a text message or emails.
Rule #22:    YOU promise to follow the rule:
                  “Never say something in a text message or any online posting that you would not say to a person face-to-face”
Rule #23:    YOU promise to put down your phone immediately when a parent or adult asks or says “PHONES DOWN”
Rule #24:    YOUNGEST SON may not take the phone out of the house. On occasion, special permission to take phone other places may be given by Mommy or Daddy if logistics or circumstances require.
Rule #25:    MOM and DAD promise to:
·               Pay or supplement the cost of your cell phone on a BASIS THAT MAY CHANGE OVER TIME.
·               Pay or supplement the phone upgrades on a BASIS THAT MAY CHANGE OVER TIME.


Oldest Son

SIGNED BY: ______________________________________


Youngest Son

SIGNED BY: ______________________________________


Mommy with Commuter Husband

SIGNED BY: ______________________________________


Commuter Husband

SIGNED BY: ______________________________________




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  4. Mommy and daddy? Middle schoolers? We could delete a message and you wouldn't know so :P