• Dr. Bill Walker

The Importance of a Cell Phone Contract with Your Kids

Has any device in the history of devices become more popular for teens than smartphones? I doubt it.

As we discussed in a recent article, the downside of this technology is the opportunity for great abuse.

Many unscrupulous adults use smartphones to try and take advantage of your child.

I often hear parents saying they feel overwhelmed at trying to control their child’s smartphone usage.

The Smartphone Contract

A very effective first step parents can take to deal with this problem is making a smartphone contract. This contract is a written agreement between you and your child that clearly lays out the rules for the use of their phone.

Benefits of a Written Contract:

Following a contract teaches your child the responsibilities of having a cell phone and the consequences of not honoring those responsibilities.

This will be the first written contract for most children. Learning about the importance of honoring contracts and the responsibilities and consequences that go with them is a good experience, preparing them future contracts with organizations outside of your family.

What Does A Smartphone Contract Look Like?

Here is a good example of a Smart Phone Contract for Parents & Teens [1].


This contract between [Parents' Names Go Here] and [Teen's Name Goes Here] is intended to establish family rules and consequences regarding cell phone usage.

[Child’s name here] Cell Phone Responsibilities:

  • I will not send threatening or mean texts to others

  • I will not text or place phone calls after 10 p.m.

  • When I leave the house I will make sure my phone is charged (so my parents can contact me & vice versa, if needed)

  • I will not bring my cell phone to the family dinner table

  • I will not exceed our plan's monthly minutes or text message limits. If I do, I understand that I may be responsible for paying any additional charges or that I may lose my cell phone privileges

  • I understand that I am responsible for knowing where my phone is, and for keeping it in good condition

  • I understand that my cell phone may be taken away if I act disrespectful to my parents, I fail to do my chores, or I fail to keep my grades up

  • I will obey rules of etiquette regarding cell phones in public places. I will make sure my phone is turned off when I am in church, in restaurants, or quiet settings

  • I will obey any rules my school has regarding cell phones, such as turning them off during class, or keeping them on vibrate while riding the school bus

  • I promise I will alert my parents when I receive suspicious or alarming phone calls or text messages from people I don't know

  • I will also alert my parents if I am being harassed by someone via my cell phone

  • I will not send embarrassing photos of my family or friends to others. In addition, I will not use my phone's camera to take embarrassing photos of others

Cell Phone Contract: Parent Responsibilities:

  • I understand that I will make myself available to answer any questions my child might have about owning a cell phone and using it responsibly

  • I will support my child when s/he alerts me to an alarming message or text message that they have received

  • I will alert my child if our cell phone plan changes and impacts the plan's minutes

  • I will give my child _______ warning(s) before I take his/her cell phone away

Signed ______________________________ (Teen)

Signed ______________________________ (Parents)

Date ______________________________



1) Feel free to write your on guidelines, tailored to your child.

2) The contract will be more effective if you include your child in the drawing up of the rules. By giving them input they will feel more obligated to follow the terms – afterall, they helped write them.

3) During the writing of the contract be flexible. IF you want them to not use their phones after 10pm on weeknights be willing to negotiate somewhere else in the contract – like moving the stop use time up to 11:30pm on Friday and Saturday nights.

4) The age and maturity of your child should be taken into consideration as you set the limits of phone usage. The older and more mature the child the more responsibility and trust you should allow them.

5) Nevertheless, as the parent, YOU are the boss – not your child. Trust your instincts.

Before You Go

Know anyone that could benefit from this article?

Please share and respond so others might be helped!

Thank you,

--dr. bill