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Dear ___________________,


You are now the proud owner of an iPhone.  You are a good & responsible 13 year old and you deserve this gift.

But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations. Please read through the following contract. I hope that you understand it is our job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy human who can function in the world, coexisting with technology, who is not be ruled by it. Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.

We love you madly & look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.


 1.  It is our phone. We bought it. We pay for it. We are loaning it to you. Aren't we the greatest?

2.  We will always know the password and will check your texts.

3.  With that being said, do not delete text strands without allowing us to see them first.  Be trustworthy in this.

4.  If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads "Mom" or "Dad". Not ever.

5.  Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 8:00pm every school night & every weekend night at 10:00pm. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am. If you would not make a call to someone's land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.

6.  If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money. It will happen, you should be prepared.

7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay out of the crossfire.

8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

9. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone or about someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.

10. No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask a person.  Preferably one of us.

11.  Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in church, a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

12.  Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else's private parts. Don't laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear -- including a bad reputation.

13.  Don't take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14.  Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO -- fear of missing out.

15.  Download worship music and use this phone to enhance your walk with Christ .  Download The Bible app or other devo apps such as “She reads truth” that will encourage you on your journey.  However, don’t let this take the place of your physical bible and the goodness that comes our of the smell of the leather and the joy of using a real highlighter and pen to take notes.

16.  Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17.  Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.

18.  You will mess up. We will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. We are always learning. We are on your team. We are in this together.


It is our hope that you can agree to these terms. Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life. You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world. It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get. Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine. We love you. We hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone. Happy Birthday!



Mom and Dad



*Note: This contract by Janell Burley Hoffman has been copied and pasted and tweaked by many parents over the years.  This is my version I tweaked for my teens.


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