We talk often in parenting classes about the importance of technology contracts. Contracts accomplish several things.
- They clearly outline the terms of having a gadget or media privileges. It eliminates a child/teen saying “you never said I couldn’t ________________.” The terms are clear and we’ve agreed to those terms on the front side.
- Contracts are a way of life. They prepare kids for all of life. I signed a contract when I purchased my first car, with the mortgage company when I bought my house, with my employer when I took my first job, with AT&T when I purchased my cell phone, and on and on. Reading, understanding, agreeing to the terms, and acting within those terms will be a part of our kids journeys all throughout their young adult and adult lives.
Here are three links to contracts. Take a look at these sample templates. You can also search the web and Pinterest for other great ideas. We recommend highlighting within the contract that you give devices to kids who are responsible and respectful, and outline how the devices will be taken away temporarily when kids don’t demonstrate responsibility and/or respect.
1. Here’s a great Family Media Agreement template from Common Sense Media. They have a one page sample for grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12.
Common Sense Media also has a Customizable Device Contract for when your kids get their first iPod, Ipad/Tablet, X-Box/Gaming System or first Cell Phone.
2. The American Academy of Pediatrics has their own version of what they call a Media Time Family Pledge.
3. Here are some samples from A Platform for Good. You can simply click on the pdf of the gadget you are giving as a gift (smartphone, tablet, gaming system, cell phone or laptop), print out the template, and write in your house rules in the spaces provided. You can then wrap the contract with the actual gift so your kids understand both are part of the total package.