This week my life as a mom is a bit stressful. We will hit a few monumental moments all in one week.
Saturday will be the first wedding in the family as my oldest son will be getting married. I've spent lots of time and posting on that, so I'll share the other big thing...this week our youngest son will turn 13...another teenager in the house!! Since there is a bit of a space between the youngest and his two older brothers, he's watched them for years as teenagers and can not wait to be one!
Things are a lot different with a teenager this time around for us. Facebook, cell phones, email accounts are a brand new world for teenager today. For a Christian family we should recognize the benefits of these, but also be aware of the dangers that they may hold. A 13 year old given unlimited access to so many freedoms at one time can be overwhelming. So...some guidelines need to be in place.
A recent article read shared some fantastic guidelines for a teen's first phone. It was called "The Mom Contract" and I loved it!!
1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren't I the greatest?
2. I will always know the password.
3. 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.
4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30 pm every school night., every weekend night at 9:00 pm. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30 am. 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.
5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It's a life skill.
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.
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 the hell out of the crossfire.
8.. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.
9.. No porn or anything inappropriate.
10. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.
15. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.
16. 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.
17. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You and; I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.
There is more than moral dangers with all this technology, there is the danger of missing out on real life, making face to face relationships and connections and the danger of manners slipping....may we as parents find that balance of keeping them up in the world of technology while keeping their feet and hearts grounded in love!