Should kids have to sign a contract with their parents before they can have a smartphone?

It’s a question that’s been in the news lately, after 13-year old Greg Hoffman got an iPhone for Christmas. But the gift came with a catch.  Before he could use the phone, Greg had to sign a contract – not with the phone company, but with his Mom! And what were the conditions of that contract?

  • One rule states that Mom will always know the phone’s password.

  • Another says, quote: “Don’t ever ignore a phone call from ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad.’ Not ever!”

  • A 3rd rule says: “Don’t use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being”.

  • While another rule says: “Don’t text, email, or say anything through this device that you would not say in person”.

  • There’s even a rule in the contract that says: “Don’t send or receive pictures of your private parts, or anyone else’s private parts.”

Janell Hoffman is the mother who came up with the contract. And she says it’s her way of helping her son be responsible with technology. But she believes the terms could also apply to all kids using technology today.

What do the experts think? Josh Shipp is a teen behavior expert who says a set of rules are a must for today’s teens. He says you wouldn’t give your kid a car without making sure they knew the rules of the road. So, giving them a cell phone without clear cut rules is irresponsible on the part of the parents.

While most parents seem to agree with that thinking, some say making your kid sign a contract comes across as “overbearing.” Others say their kids would just ignore a contract.

So, parents: Do you think kids should sign a cell phone contract? And what rules would you write down for your kids? Weigh in at Facebook.com/JohnTesh.