Last week I printed the Coalition’s list of ideas for helping parents obtain the phones that can help them to limit use and avoid potential misuse of the cell phones. The Coalition encouraged parents to point out that the phone was a privilege the youth has earned and included a warning to use it responsibly. Here is their complete list of what they recommend your youth sign. They started it by stating:
“I agree to the following principles in the use of my cell phone and other wireless technology (i.e., laptop, iPod, PlayStation, Wii, etc):
1. “I will not share any personal information, including my date of birth, address, phone number or specifics about what school or church I attend. I recognize that sharing such information could lead to harm if it gets in the hands of someone who intends to hurt me. I fully recognize the threat this is to my safety.
2. “In all my communication through the cell phone, I will be respectful of others and will never threaten or bully anyone. My communication will always be truthful, encouraging and helpful.
3. “I will never use vulgar or sexually explicit language, and if someone begins using such language with me, I will immediately hang up and refuse further communication.
4. “I recognize there is no such thing as real privacy when using my cell phone, especially when connected to the Internet. I understand any content I post about myself or anyone else on the Internet can be distributed across the world without my knowledge or permission. Even if I intend such communication to be private, I have no guarantee that will be the case.
5. “I understand that while I am communicating with persons whom I don’t know, they are able to deceive me and may not be truthful about who they are and their intentions. I recognize it is impossible for me to really know that anyone I’m communicating with over the Internet is really who he/she says they are.
6. “I will not post information on any of the social networking websites such as MySpace, YouTube, Facebook or Zanga without first discussing it with you and getting your permission. I recognize that information shared on these websites is available to millions of people whom I do not know, some of whom intend to do great harm to children and youth. I realize there is a risk.
7. “In the use of my cell phone, I will be completely open with you in terms of how I am using it, what I am communicating and what others are communicating to me.
8. “I have earned your trust by obeying you as my parents and I have every intention of continuing to do so. I willingly enter into this covenant agreement to be held accountable to you. By faithfully following these principles, we have agreed I will continue to enjoy the privilege of using my cell phone and/or other wireless devices.”
NOTE: You might add a note about use at school, loaning the phone to others, late hours or any other problem you might anticipate. Obviously, every parent has to adapt this to their own children.
Parents Signatures Young Person’s Signature