In our book What’s in Your Pocket? we emphasise online and offline involvement in your child’s digital life. The fact is that…
You can talk to your kids until you’re blue in the face about the internet, but if you aren’t keeping tabs on what they are accessing, you’re not doing all you can to help them. On the other hand, you can keep watch like a hawk on what your kids do online, but if you never talk to them about it, you’re just gaining knowledge that you never use to make any change. You have to put forth the effort on both fronts.
One great way to keep offline tabs on what your kids are up to is with a device contract. This idea gives you the opportunity to have an up front discussion with your children about the safe measures you’re taking, why you’re taking them, and the role they play in their online safety. We recommend you make up a contract that encourages transparency and sets you, the parent, up as the one in control of that transparency. You should also list possible offenses and the consequences (usually losing the device for a while or stricter boundaries) for those offenses.
Below is a list of possible offenses and below that you can click the link to download a pdf of the sample contract from our book.
Feel free to set as many rules as necessary.
Here are some ideas of misuse: (this list is a starting point and by no means all inclusive)
If I delete anything incriminating from my device before showing parents. . .
If I hide contact on device through apps etc. . .
If I consistently contact someone I don’t know. . .
If I unfriend/block my parent. . .
If I lose/damage device. . .
If I change passwords/parental settings etc. . .
If I use an unapproved browser or app. . .
If I use my device past curfew. . .
If I install any apps without parental knowledge/consent. . .
If I give out personal information on social media. . .
Always talk to your children about what they are doing online. Let them know that you’re in it to protect them and that you have taken precautions to do so. When you see something on an accountability report that needs addressing, then have that conversation with them. When you make a change to their filter settings, let them know and tell them why. Set up this contract, it’s not only a great way to set rules, it’s a great way to take the emotion out of enforcing rules. Since you all agreed together on the consequences, they should assume they’ll just have to abide by them. Download the sample below and use it to help you craft the perfect contract for your family. Then go have those conversations.
Download Contract Here: sample-device-contract