This is how agreement for device use helped me to establish online safety rules with my child.
Oh my God! Why on Earth is it so difficult to ask these kids to keep their hands off devices!
What to do when we know there is risk looming? How to deal with our children turning into tech zombies?
Should we allow children access to personal phones and devices under 12?
I searched to look for some fixation for the ongoing tussle with our children over phones and device use. I came across Juliana Miner, author of “Raising a Screen-Smart Kid” suggestion on the phone agreement with the children.
The idea appealed me, why not make things clear-cut and place in writing so both could be on the same page?
So our kiddos won’t come up and say you didn’t tell us before. Oh! I wasn’t aware of what not to do.
Writing clearly in black and white, and posting reminds them what is allowed and what’s not. Based on that, privileges would be given or withdrawn.
You can also draft a similar agreement for your children, but kept in mind your child age. Lots of things won’t be applicable to young children. And one-size-fits-all contract simply doesn't work.
As the child grows, they could be given more ownership to help them move towards responsible behaviour.
This agreement involves how long they can use the phone, how should they behave online, how would we act as a watchdog and when their privileges could be withdrawn.
How an agreement can help?
Keep them informed so no saying “I didn’t know that”.
Both should be are on the same page.
Any violation of a rule has consequences, keep it fair and consistent.
You cannot use mobile:
During homework and study time.
In the bedroom in the night, before sleep.
No texting and calling after 9’o clock.
Also, phone should charge outside kid’s room.
You can use mobile or devices:
After school and on weekends, but not more than 2 hours in a day anytime
Once homework and the work is completed
Behaviour at home is appropriate
After finishing chores
Me and you, watch list:
We approve all apps and downloads
We have all your usernames and passwords to your all accounts
We can access to phone anytime we want, but we will not read your messages unless needed.
We can periodically check your phone and device
You must ensure that breaking rules have consequences.
Also, tell them in advance and get them to agree on the consequences.
Once agreed, follow the consequences diligently - otherwise they won’t respect it and it merely turns into a piece of paper.
Also, see that punishments are not harsh - it could be more on stopping device use for a day, a week or a month.
Harsh words, strict punishment can make children sneaky about rule breaking, hiding and lying.
The consequence could be:
Break rule for the first time: Phone gone for a day
Next time: Phone gone for a week
However, our main objective is to raise responsible kids. For that, we need to inform and guide them so they can own and make wise choices. We can’t be watching them all their lives. The best we can do is to help them learn how to be responsible.
Leave your view and suggestions in the comment, we would love to hear from you how you are raising a device smart child. Share to help others make use of the agreement.