Skip to content

Safer Internet Day - 3 outstanding mobile-safety
contracts for your kids

Pinterest
More Options

Discover which digital-device agreement best fits your family

  
   COMPREHENSIVE INTERNET SECURITY
   SOFTWARE:


   FREE TOOLS:

With Safer Internet Day within waving distance, this is the perfect time to figure out how you can ‘create a better internet together’ with your children. And what better place to start than with the digital devices they so dearly love?

Find out what a mobile-safety contract is, which 3 digital-device agreements are the most helpful and how to successfully collaborate with your family members to create your own agreements.

 

What is a mobile-safety contract?

It’s a list of digital device-usage policies you craft with the help of all household members. Rules ideally cover every aspect of gadget ownership such as passwords, privacy, sexting, cyberbullying and etiquette.

 

Which ones made the top 3?

In honour of Safer Internet Day, we carefully combed the web and curated the 3 best mobile-safety agreements for tech-savvy parents and kids:


Common Sense Media (CSM): Customizable Device Contract (click here).

CSM is a San Francisco-based non-profit focused on media literacy of children, families and educators.

Pros

  • Valuable discussion prompts that guide the conversation
  • Simplified process – contract divided into 5 sections: where, when and how long; checking in; privacy settings; care & maintenance; and, communicating responsibly online.
  • Conveniently interactive – PDF has editable text fields


Cons

  • Narrow focus – only covers tablets
  • Hard character limits – restricted space for family language
  • Somewhat problematic – doesn’t allow for copying and pasting between text fields

  • Janell Burley Hofmann: Gregory’s iPhone Contract (click here).

    Hoffmann is a mother and writer who crafted a hilarious-yet-heartfelt mobile-device policy for her 13-year-old son. The Huffington Post published the piece as an article, and the contract swiftly went viral.

    Pros
    • Hot-button issues addressed like online-offline balance, digital curfews, checking in and pornography
    • Relatable parent prose with just the right amount of humour
    • Crucial connection drawn between ethical device ownership and ethical living

    Cons
    • Narrow focus – on covers smartphones
    • One sided – doesn’t include children’s input
    • Fixed format – unable to add family language to the document

    Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) & A Platform for Good (PFG): Contract Cards for Families (click here).

    International non-profit FOSI and its subsidiary PFG program are committed to creating a ‘culture of responsibility’ where children, parents and teachers safely navigate digital spaces.

    Pros
    • Wide focus – covers smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, cell phones and laptops
    • Shares accountability between parents and children
    • Extra space provided for written personalization

    Cons
    • Less thorough – addresses fewer mobile-safety and usage concerns
    • Non-interactive PDF only allows for expectations to be handwritten
    • Christmas-design aesthetic not relevant year round (perhaps we’re being a little picky here...)

    How can we create a contract from scratch?

    Whether your family decide to create an original digital-behaviour contract or Frankenstein one together from various online sources, first start with a conversation around relevant issues:


    Critical mobile-safety topics
  • App purchases
  • Check ins
  • Content consumption (Ex: How much; how long; what kind?)
  • Cyberbullying
  • Digital curfews
  • Ethics
  • Etiquette
  • Gaming
  • Maintenance & responsibility
  • Online-offline balance
  • Online relationships
  • Parental controls
  • Passwords
  • Permissions & protocols (Ex: Is lending or borrowing allowed?)
  • Piracy
  • Pornography
  • Privacy settings
  • Schoolwork & cheating
  • Security software
  • Sexting & sexual harassment
  • Social media
  • Texting (ex: when is it inappropriate)
  • Uploads & downloads (Ex: Which content is safe?)

  • When a consensus has been reached, it’s time to draft the document. (Children must be a part of this creation process for the agreement to stick.)

    Next, your brood reviews and revises – you may want to take a 24-48 hr break before taking this step.

    Once everyone agrees upon the terms and signs the dotted line, the contract is displayed in a central location in the home.

    Going forward, your family can behold the document in all its glorious digital mastery as well as quickly point to it should selective amnesia arise... and it most likely will.


    The takeaway

    Know that this parent-child pledge is a living document that’s subject to change based on day of the week, time of the year or advancing age and maturity of the kids.

    For many families a mobile-safety contract works, but it’s not without hiccups. In the last year since she wrote her 18-point policy, Hofmann reflects that there was a time when she had to take away her son’s iPhone. But overall, she says the contract works, and her son actually thinks she’s right!

    You may not have enough time to create a digital-device agreement by Safer Internet Day, but that doesn’t mean your family shouldn’t start the process now.

    As a parent, you are the single-most influential factor in your children’s technology habits. Take this opportunity to make a positive impact on their digitally mobile lives.

    Let us know: Did we leave anything out in our list of critical mobile-safety topics? What will you do to make sure your digital contract reflects your family’s offline values? Share with us below or tweet us at.


Social Media

Connect with us on