A couple of good parenting ideas have come across my desk.

One is an article from Parent Map on how to get your children to do their homework.  This mom made a "homework hour" for the entire family.  (I assume she got out her bills, etc. to work on while they did schoolwork.)

Any thoughts/tips from you about how you handle homework?  Do you feel like your child is getting too much/too little/not effective homework or is it just right?

The other story is from a mom's blog - Janel Burley Hofmann about an iPhone contract with her 13-year old son.  It is an 18-point contract full of some good stuff.    What I like is that she is blunt - about how he might use it and consequences to doing some of those things, how she expects him to use it, outcomes if it is lost or damaged, school use, etc.

 I do disagree a little with her saying she "owns" it if she gave it as a gift.  (However, if she and her husband are paying for the service - as I am sure they are - then yes, she has every right to her contract.)

A few of her points:

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.

8.  Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.
 12.  Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts.  Don’t laugh.  Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence.  It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life.  It is always a bad idea. 
14.  Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision.  It is not alive or an extension of you.  Learn to live without it.  Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO – fear of missing out. 



mirmac1 said…
One of SPD's cyberbully experts, Det Stefanie Thomas, says parents should absolutely retain ownership of phones, know how to unlock it, even hang onto it at night (buy a cheap alarm clock).

I am a helicopter parent when it comes to technology, social media, and internet use.
ArchStanton said…
I do disagree a little with her saying she "owns" it if she gave it as a gift.

It's rather a lot like other licensing agreements. You don't own the music/movie/ebook/software - you just have a license to use it. She could have phrased it more like that, but really all she has to do is cut his service off and let him keep his phone. Even if he has $, I don't think he can sign a contract at 13. Then he's left with a fancy media player.
Jan said…
In our house, I also retained "ownership" of the XBox (and its predecessor, the GameCube) that was obtained for the sole use of my kids (they "own" their own games for it.) That way, if there are limits as to numbers of hours, violence levels of games, general abuse of controllers, tvs, inability to come up with reasonable time sharing understandings with siblings, etc. -- I just reassert my ownership rights. They can't complain that I am depriving them of their "stuff," because it is actually MY stuff. They understand exactly WHY it is is mine, not theirs, and we have had very few problems with it.

There is a subtle difference between "mom took back her iPhone" and "mom took away my iphone" -- but for my kids, at least, it DOES make a difference in how they view it (their right to do what they want with their stuff versus their privilege to use the stuff I bought for their use, as long as they use it within the family rules).
Anonymous said…
This is not an example of "good parenting." An iPhone is an extravagance costing hundreds of dollars. When some kids have them at school but others don't it introduces envy and theft problems into the school community. An iPhone has web access which can become a distraction. A basic phone is better for a 13 year old. Nobody "needs" an iPhone, most adults we know can't afford one and if a young person does it's a worthwhile goal they can aspire to when they are older and saved their own money. I think this written contract is strange too, between family members communication should be open enough for parents and teens to have a natural conversation about appropriate cell phone use.

-Keeping it Simple
Anonymous said…
My teen kid did get the 3G iPhone after dad upgraded for next gen. I could have gotten the 3G, but preferred my basic "stupid" phone because I don't want work email to reach me on my cell. We didn't do the written contract, but sure laid down strict rules. So far so good. The only problem we've had is out of controlling texting from the teen's friends. At our house, phones are out of reach during homework, family/meal/sleep times. As to the envy thing, the kid would love the latest, but knows better than to ask. Envy is one of those human conditions that won't go away as Bill Gates rich we are not nor do we have the wit of Chris Rock or the beauty of Kerry Washington. Might as well learn to live with it.

making do
mirmac1 said…
Verizon lets you (for $4.99) block texts and calls from certain numbers.

Here's a link to a list compiled by Det Stefanie Thomas of the SPD (and a certain Madison mom) on cyberbullying, usage controls and other pertinent info.

Madison PTSA list

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