• Dr. Luisa Bryce

To My 13-Year-Old, An iPhone Contract From Your Mom, With Love. A Response


Janell Burley Hofmann, a writer for the Huffington Post, recently published the following article outlining an iPhone contract for her 13-year-old son. I found this article not only entertaining, but also very useful and effective for establishing rules for your children around cell phones and other electronic devices. To my 13-Year-Old, an iPhone Contract From Your Mom With Love


What I liked best about the article was Hofmann’s ability to combine validation of her son while laying out strict rules throughout the entire contract. Instead of just matter-of-factly stating the rules of the contract, rigid and without emotion, she validates her son right off the bat (“You are a good and responsible 13-year-old boy and you deserve this gift”). This helps to set the tone and increases the likelihood her son will be accepting of the contract. Throughout the article, Hofmann sets specific and concrete rules and guidelines, differentiating weekend rules from weekday rules, and allowing for some exceptions (e.g. taking the iPhone to school on the day of a field trip). If you as a parent adopt this contract as your own, you may change these rules and that’s fine; just remember, be as specific as possible and leave a little wiggle room for special circumstances.


My second most favorite part of this article was Hofmann’s ability to see eye-to-eye with her son. She states “We’re in this together,” indicating that both parties (mom and son) must put forth the effort to make the iPhone ownership successful. Hofmann foreshadows that her son will likely “mess up” but states “WE will start over,” and reinforces the iPhone ownership is a team endeavor.


Overall, I thought the article was definitely worth a read even and a bookmark. If I were going to adopt this contract as my own, I might add in specific consequences that will occur should the kiddo, for example, send an inappropriate picture. I hope you enjoy this read as much as I did.

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