A Cell Phone Contract to Help Build Sticky Faith

Kara Powell | Sep 15, 2014

Photo by sally anscombe.

In celebration of the release of The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, stickyfaith.org is hosting a “Blog Tour” to share some of the book’s research highlights and practical ideas. This cell phone contract emerged from the research we conducted for chapter ten: “Home Sticky Home: Making Your House a Hub of Faith”.

Dan and Denise’s fourteen-year-old son has two cell phone contracts: one with his cell phone carrier and one with them. In order to clarify their family’s cell phone expectations and protocol, Dan and Denise printed the following guidelines and had their son sign them and post them in his room.

001 It is our phone. We bought it. We pay for it. We are loaning it to you. Aren’t we great?

002 We will always know the password.

003 If it rings, answer it. Say hello and use good manners. Never ignore a phone call if the screen reads, “Mom” or “Dad.”

004 Hand the phone to one of your parents before bed every night.

005 If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.

006 Put it away in public (for example, in church, in restaurants, in movie theaters, wherever you are with other people). You are not rude; do not allow your phone to change that.

007 Do not use your phone to lie to, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first.

008 Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.

009 No porn. Nothing you wouldn’t want your mother to see.

010 Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Despite your intelligence, someday you might be tempted to do this. It is risky and could ruin your life.

011 Take pictures, but don’t forget to live your experiences. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk.

012 Leave your phone home sometimes and be okay with that decision. Learn to live without it.

013 Download music that is new or classic or different from what your peers listen to. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.

014 Play a game with words or puzzles or brainteasers every now and then.

015 You will mess up. We will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. We will always be learning. We are on your team. We are in this together.

What other ideas do you have for cell phone agreements with your kids? What types of limits have you set on kids’ use of technology to help strengthen your relationships with them?

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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