Gregory’s iPhone Contract

Gregory iPhone_jan13

This is causing a bit of an internet hoo-har. I feel the need for commentary. Thus…

My overall feeling is that it is a little too controlling and is predicated on a lack of trust. I do believe in the essence of much of the contract, but if you have a good relationship with your son, if you genuinely believe he is responsible, smart, etc, do you need to lay out the terms for “owning” an iPhone in patronising detail? Sure, have a conversation about it, loosely monitor his usage, etc, but a lengthy, detailed contract…?

Anyway, point-by-point…

1. It’s not really a gift then, is it? A child should understand the value of things and be appreciative of gifts, but is it necessary for them to not even feel they own anything?

2. I suppose that’s fair enough.

3. Do you not trust your son to use his judgement? What if he’s on the loo? What if he’s in the middle of a conversation which he feels it would presently be rude to interrupt by answering his phone?

4. You say, “Listen to those instincts,” but you’re not really trusting him to use his own instincts! That said, some kind of curfew is probably a good idea.

5. Disagree! Being someone who works in a school, obviously you don’t want kids phoning, texting, etc, during lessons, but there is no getting away from the fact that phones are a part of the modern child’s social interaction. Phones are about so much more than phoning or texting. Kids share apps, tunes etc, like previous generations shared stickers and comics. As to what types of apps, tunes, etc, are shared… isn’t it again about trust?

6. Fair enough, generally speaking, but does not this level of personal responsibility somewhat contradict point 1, that he doesn’t actually really own the phone?

7. Does this point need to be made? Shouldn’t this be a general principle across all human interactions? Show that you trust your “good and responsible” son by not pointing out what should be obvious.

8. I know I speak differently in writing. Again, isn’t it just about trusting your son to be “good and responsible”?

9. Oh come on! Throughout history, children/teenagers have spoken differently around their and others’ parents than when they are just with other children/teenagers. Cracked record time… trust!

10. Well again, it shouldn’t be about necessarily being transparent to parents, but about exercising responsibility and moral instincts. Although I suppose a blanket “No porn!” policy (without the extra stuff) would be wise!

11. Directly contradicts point 3!

12. A good point to make. The vastness and power of Cyperspace cannot be too strongly expressed!

13. Taking pictures and videos is fun! Unless your son has a genuine tendency towards obsession on this kind of thing, is this a necessary point to make? Perhaps a little patronising?

14. Agree that one should be wary of “FOMO,” but as much as we used to live without mobile phones, they do now provide a genuine safety function – unless, of course, one is blatantly diddling with one’s iPhone 5 while walking alone down a dark alleyway…

15. Controlling! This point does not need to be made with specific reference to an iPhone! Yes, generally encourage your offspring to have expansive horizons, but no need to have this form a part of an iPhone contract!

16. Why write it down?!

17 & 18. You have issues with your son texting and emailing, rather than talking… and yet you contractualise (!) points which would surely best be covered in a conversation?

The author of the contract concludes…

” Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life. You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world. It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get. Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine.”

Yes, agree with all that… so should not the details be discussed rather than contractualised?


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