Kids View Phone Contracts to Be ineffective When Giving Them Digital Devices

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself "Why are kids doing such bad things today?" I'll bet you have. Do you know the reason to that qu


Some of the main of questions I get asked by my clients and followers online are: Do you have a phone contract that works? How do you create successful phone contracts that kids actually stick to? Do you have a copy of that phone contract I can have? The simple answer is I created something better than a simple phone contract for kids. It’s 100% effective, simple to implement and has some amazing consequences built in.

Why Don’t I Use Phone Contracts?

I’m going to be 100% honest with you: the world’s phone contracts that I have seen are the worst invention ever. Why do I say this? In my years of experience, never have I had a parent come to me and say, “Thank goodness I had this phone contract!! It saved my child from doing something bad on his phone!!”

Think about what a contract actually is. According to the dictionary it’s “an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified.” What are your kids learning from the phone contracts you have them sign? What is the purpose of the phone contract? What part of the contract are they really involved in besides signing it?

I asked a group of kids (ages 11-17+) what they learned when they signed a phone contract and lost their phones. Do you want to know what their answer was? Nothing.

Phone contracts mean nothing. Kids sign them to “shut [their] parents up and get a phone.” (Their words, not mine.)

What Do Phone Contracts Lack?

The phone contracts I have seen neglect the single most important parts of parenting: teaching principles, learning acceptable behavior and repenting of wrong doings. Why is this a necessary part of the contract? Let me give you a small list of the real results I have seen come from phone contracts enforced on “rebellious” kids:

  • Lack of Learning
  • No Appropriate Consequences
  • Not Teaching Responsibility
  • Lack of Remorse
  • Avoidance
  • Distrust
  • Contention
  • Power Struggles

I asked a room full of 17 kids how many had their phones taken away. Five hands went up. I asked them how many of them learned their lesson from losing their phones. One hand went up. I asked that kid how they learned their lesson. His response, “My parents lectured me for 3 hours on what I did and why it was wrong.” The only consequence I have seen parents implement with these phone contracts is taking away the phone when the “rule” is broken. In lots of cases, I have even seen parents take away the phone with no connection to a rule actually being broken. This consequence only works with some individuals and in certain circumstances. After all, kids can just do what they were doing on another device, right?

What Do I Use Instead? A Family Tech Plan

So do I even have a phone contract? No. I have a Plan. A Tech Plan of Action. It’s a phone contract on steroids basically. I take the phone contract parents come up with and divide it into 3 parts:

  • Rule
  • Appropriate Consequence(s)
  • Redemption Plan

I have parents look at things in a completely positive way. We’re not listing behaviors our kids are not allowed to do. We look for ways to implement behaviors we want our kids to do.

How Does It Work?

Each rule is a positive behavior parents want their kids to do. For every rule there are at least 2 applicable consequences that cause the child to feel guilt (hopefully). Then there is the redemption plan. This plan serves two main purposes: is a way for the child to earn the device back and for the parent to regain trust in their child. The whole purpose of the Tech Plan of Action is this:

To Teach Kids How To Use Technology Appropriately And Come Back From the Mistakes They Make.

Does It Work?

Yes. I have had many families implement their own Tech Plans and it 100% works. Kids have come up to me and thanked me for introducing this plan to their parents. I have found that this plan works because it focuses on teaching instead of controlling kids. Is it still a battle for parents? Yes, but not as bad as other ways. It gives parents direction, options, and a clear plan of what to do. I see it preparing parents and changing them from problem thinking to solution thinking. It forces parents to look for potential or actual problems they are having and find a solution for them.

Will It Work For My Family?

For it to work for you, it all depends on you. It’s work. It’s all in how you implement it and how consistent you are at it. I have parents that have it work for years. Other parents have to constantly change the consequences every so often to fit their growing kids. And I have parents that constantly change the redemption plans to fit their various children. Tweak this and make it your own though.

I have parents that simplify it for elementary school kids. I have parents that have 2 different plans—one for their older kids and one for the younger kids. The important thing is to make it your own. If you’d like to see how to create your own tech plan you can find more information in my free Family Tech Plan Outline


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