A Cell Phone Responsibility Contract for Kids

For many parents, one of the toughest decisions they’ll ever have to make is whether their child is ready to handle the responsibility having of a cell phone yet.  Today, children as young as first and second grade are asking for their own phone and, in some cases, they are getting it.  With the rise in school violence and mall shootings, parents seem to feel a sense of relief by giving their children a cell phone and being able to monitor their location at all times. Regardless of the reason and age you deem appropriate to give your child his or her own cell phone, it is wise to give them a cell phone contract to go with it.  By giving them a cell phone contract and having them sign on the dotted line, agreeing to all terms and conditions, you are putting the responsibility in their hands.  If rules in the contract are broken, consequences will follow, as they do in many real life situations.  Below is a general contract that I’ve created for my own daughter and have shared with many friends and family!  Use it, make changes to it and add or delete items as you see fit.

Kids and cell phones at school.

  1. I will not give my phone number to anyone that I do not personally know well and completely trust.
  2. I will have my phone with me at all times.  It will remain in my backpack while I am at school and will not come out until school lets out.
  3. While I am at church, a movie theater, the library or any other area that requires silence, my phone will be on vibrate or silenced completely.
  4. If my parents call or text me, I must answer and/or reply, regardless of where I am.
  5. If my phone is protected with a password, I must always provide my parents with it.
  6. My parents are allowed to check my phone at any time, day or night.
  7. The cell phone is not to be brought to the dinner table at home or while at a restaurant.
  8. My phone will be shut off from 9 p.m. until 7 a.m.
  9. When I return home from school, I will not use my phone until my homework and chores are completed.
  10. I will not use my cell phone to send threatening messages or any inappropriate messages of any kind.
  11. If I go over my minutes and/or text messages at any time during the month, I will give my parents the phone until the next billing cycle begins.
  12. I will not use my cell phone to take embarrassing photos of myself, my friends or anyone else.
  13. I will not use my phone to go on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site unless I have received permission from my parents.
  14. I will not download any apps without first asking my parents for permission.
  15. I will always accept text messages from family locator services so that my parents can know where I am.
  16. If my voice mail is full, I will delete them.
  17. If I receive a message or phone call that scares me, threatens me or offends me in any way, I will talk to my parents about it and show it to them if possible.
  18. I will not let anyone else borrow or use my cell phone. If someone needs to make a phone call from your phone for emergency purposes, make sure YOU are dialing the number so YOU know that it is local and not a call that will add charges to your account.
  19. If I break the phone, drop it in water, lose it or damage it in any way, I will replace it with my own allowance and/or money earned.
  20. If I break one of the rules above, I agree to talk about it with my parents and decide how to make positive changes so it does not happen again.

Top 5 Tips on Keeping Your Kids Safe To, From and At School

Now seems like a more appropriate time than ever to discuss safety for our kids in schools.  With the recent shooting in the United States at Sandy Hook Elementary and kidnappings across the globe, it has become all too real to parents that children are not safe anywhere.  Although we’d like to think they are safe at school, evil can strike everywhere.  This can be on their way into class, while inside the classroom itself and even on the playground among other kids and teachers.  Knowledge is power and it is our job as parents to teach our kids safety for any situation that may arise.  Below is a list of my top 5 school safety tips.  Read them, implement them and practice them regularly!

1. Safety in numbers.  If your children walk to school, take the bus or ride their bike, make sure it is always in pairs or in groups of two or more.  Perpetrators are less likely to go after children when they are in groups.  Children walking alone are targets for those looking to abduct or molest children in public places.

Childrens safety from and to school

2.  Travel the same route.  Whether you drive to school, take the bus or walk, try to take the same route each time you go.  If your kids go with a friend or a sibling, ensure that they do the same.  This will make their route familiar and, should anything happen along the way, they’ll easily be able to identify where they were when it happened. Neighbors and businesses in the area will also recognize them and will be able to recognize them should anything suspicious happen along the way.

3.  Say no to strangers.  Ensure that your children know now to talk to any strangers at any time.  If it is someone they do not know well, such as a friend’s parent, a teacher, a school staff member or a crossing guard, it is best they avoid conversation.  Remind them not to accept rides or gifts, regardless of what is being offered.

Say no to strangers

Say no to strangers

4.  Cellphones CAN be ok at school.  Although most schools discourage cell phone use, there’s no harm in allowing your child to take his or her cell phone to school as long as it is not used.  With so many family locator services available to track mobile phones, it is a great way to know where your kids are at all times. Pre-teens and teens tend to wander away from school at lunch and, at times, do not return.  Having a cell phone to track from a computer or other mobile device will allow you to check up on your kids at all times, even when you can’t call them because they may be in class.

Every child in school should have a family locator app/service

5.  Tell.  If your child sees or hears anything suspicious at school, such as another child or adult with a weapon they should not have in their possession or a plan to bring one to school in the future, encourage him or her to tell another adult about it as soon as possible.  Often times, children or adults tell their peers of plans they have to bring a weapon to school and possibly use it on others.  Some take it as a joke or dismiss it but it’s best not to take that chance.  Telling may prevent a situation that could take the lives of many, including that of your own child.

More tips to follow in part two of this article.   Check back soon for the remaining 5 school safety tips and additional information on keeping you and your family safe.