How We Manage Our Teens’ Devices ~
Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool and Introverted Moms
The Question: How do you handle devices with your teens?
The Answer: Our Young Adult Devices Agreement/Contract, which I created several years ago and revamp periodically as the kids get older and need more access.
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Please note that the specific boundaries are what felt right and needed for us, but I’d never suggest you need exactly the same! I’m merely including the below as a starting place for you.
In our family, we chose to keep individual screen use (computer/phone) to a minimum before the teen years, and slowly increase access as we felt that our teens were ready for more – that means it’s also been different for each child, not based on age.
When that time came, we developed, printed and signed the below. Feel free to copy and edit to create your own!
How We Manage Our Teens’ Devices: The Young Adult Devices Agreement
The point of this agreement isn’t to focus on what you “can’t” or “shouldn’t” do, but to focus on building healthy habits that will open up a wider world to you both now and in the future, using devices as your tool and servant, instead of you becoming the servant to them.
I agree to the following, knowing that in life more freedom comes with more responsibility:
* I commit to use my devices in agreed-upon ways that are appropriate for my physical and mental health.
* I agree to keep the majority of my phone/messaging/music/computer time within these hours: 6-9am and 3pm-Dinner.
* I will leave my phone in the agreed-upon area downstairs during school hours from 9am-3pm (unless using for essentials), mealtimes, after dinner, and at bedtime.
* I agree to mainly use my computer for educational purposes during the hours of 9am-3pm.
* I agree not to text, email, post, or say anything through my devices that I would not say in person.
* I agree not to take or share inappropriate pictures of myself or others.
* I agree not to download apps without permission.
* I agree to remove myself and tell an adult immediately if anything does not feel comfortable online.
* I agree not to give out personal information including passwords, addresses, or phone numbers to unknown individuals.
* I agree not to be dishonest about what I am doing on my phone because that will hurt my closest relationships.
* I agree to leave the curtains open when I am using the computer downstairs.
* I agree that Mom and Dad can check my computer/phone periodically to see how I have been stewarding my time, so I will have accountability.
* I agree not to delete my site or message history.
* I agree not to change my passcode without notifying Mom or Dad.
* I will aim to act with integrity when it comes to the sites I visit, the amount of time I spend online, the music I listen to, and the messages I send.
* I agree that if I mistakenly access a questionable website, I will stop and notify Mom or Dad, knowing there will be no consequence if I do so.
* I will notify Mom or Dad as soon as possible if I notice that the usual parental controls have somehow changed.
* If I would like to request changes to this agreement, I will submit that request via writing (not whining!).
Additional Social Media Guidelines (for Older Teens):
- 15 minutes daily, with a break on Saturdays (limit set in Screen Time)
- Private account until age 18
- I will be part of the solution on social media, not part of the problem. The words and pictures I post will be uplifting and kind, reflecting the unconditional love of Jesus.
My parents agree to the following:
* allow increased use of our family’s computer and other devices as I need more time, and as I continue to handle my freedoms wisely and my mistakes maturely
* make sure that the computer is working well, sorting out any issues in a timely manner
* add access to tools that are beneficial for my education as needed
* pay for any repairs to the family computer
* pay for the monthly internet bill in our home
If I neglect to follow any of the points above, I agree that I will reset by taking a one-week break from the app/site/issue in question.
If my parents fail to keep their agreement on any of the points above, they agree to give me $25 to spend on books or deposit in my savings account.
This is how we manage devices with our teens – what’s been right for your family?
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