A Mom’s Brilliant Smartphone Instructions to Her Son

Mom Cell Phone Rules

A Mom’s Brilliant Smartphone Instructions to Her Son

We love these smartphone instructions!

We recently came across this list of guidelines from a mom to her son when he received his first iPhone. We’re on the verge of giving our own child her first iPhone, and this is the list we’re going to use.

Dear child. Here’s a new phone. And, here are a few guidelines. 

  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. No secrets. One-on-one with technology, whether you’re 14 or 40, the Internet eventually wins. This is why I (your dad) have an accountability partner (thank you Covenant Eyes).
  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 8:00 pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00 pm. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 6:30 am. If you would not make a call to someone’s landline, 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 may go to school with you, but it stays in your bag in your locker. 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 out of the crossfire.
  8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person. Does it pass the Grandma McKenna test?
  9. No porn. But, if you see it and have questions, let me know. This stuff is everywhere and it’s like a drug. You know this because we’ve talked to you about it for years. 
  10. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You & I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.


Print a version for yourself here!

What if I have more questions? How can I stay up to date?

Two actions you can take!

  1. Subscribe to our tech trends newsletter, the PYE Download. About every 3 weeks, we’ll share what’s new, what the PYE team is up to, and a message from Chris.
  2. Ask your questions in our private parent community called The Table! It’s not another Facebook group. No ads, no algorithms, no asterisks. Just honest, critical conversations and deep learning! For parents who want to “go slow” together. Become a member today!

The Table - Private Community from PYE

There are affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Enjoy!

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3 thoughts on “A Mom’s Brilliant Smartphone Instructions to Her Son”

  1. These are good rules. I used to use the Disney circle device to restrict content. On WiFi. Then we all upgraded to unlimited family data plan and I started to back off. I felt like it was a battle only I was engaged in. Even when I asked T-Mobile about parenting controls they had no idea. Shamed me by saying I was looking for something “unique” that other customers weren’t requesting. My husband also wasn’t entirely on board as he wanted to give his 16 year old anything she wanted because of divorce guilt. So I backed off and now I just found out my 11 year old daughter has been doing and saying very questionable things and it’s the talk of our small town. I’m so devastated and feel like an awful parent. She used to be so sweet. I’ve taken the phone for now. When I give it back it will be locked down. But I think the single most important step to take, that I am taking right now, is talking to them. It would be nearly impossible to live in current times without the internet. Maybe if you live off grid. So the idea of removing all devices until they are 18 and then saying “good luck” as they leave is certainly not the answer. I like this list. And I’m going to start with the “grandma McKenna”.

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