Thursday, January 17, 2013

How we choose to deal with cell phones at our house...AKA: child abuse

At least some people think it's child abuse.  We choose to look at it as character building.

Bubba has wanted an iPhone for about a year.  We got him a standard cell/messaging phone with no data access about 2 years ago.  He thought it was for him, but it was mainly for me.  It was a way for me to continue bossing him around even when he was not with me.

The phone came with many of the same rules that most of you have for your own children and their electronics.  no using it in your room...turn it off at a certain time every night...don't delete texts until mom or dad have read them...must plug it in every night in the living room...if it breaks/gets lost/gets taken up at school, you pay to fix/find/reclaim it, etc 

Bubba was happy to follow all the rules and regulations and has become very responsible with it all.  This technology thing has really opened up a whole new parenting world, and he has been pretty patient as we experiment on him.

Here's where the child abuse comes in.

When the iPhone came up, we just weren't ready for the added cost of the data plan every month.  We told him that we didn't mind the idea of an iPhone, but he had to save a year's worth of data cost before we would get him the phone.  So he started saving.

Then Christmas came around and the grandparents wanted to get him an iPhone.  We agreed to give him some cash to go towards his data savings as his gift, some others pitched in, and by the end of Christmas he had his phone and enough cash for a years worth of data.

After we explained that if the phone was lost or stolen or damaged, we would not be purchasing another iPhone, he wanted to purchase insurance. He's a smart one...7th grade boys are hard on their stuff.  We worked out a plan for him to do 4 simple chores (in addition to his regular chores) each month  (1 each week) that would pay for his insurance. 

Then I came up with a way for him to see it all on paper:

HOLY TEXT MESSAGES BATMAN!  Glad we have unlimited texting.  

Bubba was curious about how much data he was using, and I wanted him to see in writing how many text messages he was using.  I signed off on the chores he's done and this afternoon when he pays me, I will initial and date it at the bottom and he will keep this slip of paper in the bank where he keeps his cash.

It's still a work in progress, but I think this will work for us.  How do you manage parenting and technology?


Misty said...

Where does the child abuse come in to play?

Sounds pretty smart to me...

We have tried baby stepping into it but our entitled 13 year old wants all priviledge, no responsibility. She lies, steals and cheats her way through every area of her life and, as a result, now has no access to ANY technology. It's sad. :(

Lora Field said...

We use what I can afford, which is the prepaid service from Clear Talk. Two phones, $35 a month for unlimited talk & text. We have data, but the screen is really too small for that to be helpful. So...we never go over and we both have phones. And I'm sure that's WAY better than the alternative, which is nothing. Or the prepaid phone from Dollar General that he started out on. He's grateful, but he sure would like one of them there iphones too!