One mother's amazing iPhone plan for her son
The parental pitfall of which I am probably most scared is pretty much the entire description of parenthood: how best to deal with uncharted territory.
New things are coming on the scene every day. Things for which there aren't precedents as to how best to handle them. There is no freakin' manual. Oh, how I long for that manual.
Technology is one of the top contenders on the list of "How the Hell Should I Handle This?" for every parent. It's growing faster than we can keep up and every time we turn around there is some new item, service, activity, game. Things that weren't around when we were younger and so it's really damn hard to know the best way to navigate it.
We know it's our job as parents to do something, but exactly what isn't always clear. "Am I being too controlling? Am I being too lenient? Will it stunt their social skills? Make them smarter? Make them dumber? Make them unhealthy mentally or physically? Is my instinct right or is there some professional's opinion I can seek out? I'M GOING TO CHOOSE BADLY I JUST KNOW IT!!" And then thoughts of the therapist's bills start flashing in front of our eyes.
Smart phones. Whoa. That's huge. Smart phones are powerful, ultra-powerful pieces of technology. They give the user free reign to be overly connected. In the case of teenagers, we don't cut them loose into the world with anything else really. Why would we completely cut them loose in the virtual world?
But where to draw the lines? HOW to draw the lines? Massachusetts mom, Janell Burley Hofmann made an 18 point agreement with her 13-year-old son, Gregory as to how his new Christmas-gifted iPhone will be used.
I'd like to share a few of the points with you because the respectful and loving limits she has put on its use are so eloquent, so brilliant. When it is my turn to navigate the murky waters of parenting a teenager, I hope I do as well.
1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren't I
2. I will always know the password.
3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads "Mom" or "Dad". Not ever.
5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It's a life skill.
6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.
7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.
11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.
12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else's private parts...
18. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You & I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.
What are your thoughts on limiting phone use in this way? Intelligent and loving mother, or helicopter parenting?