Mom’s iPhone Rules

He begged his Mom for an iPhone, and finally received it on Christmas day… along with a very personal and detailed iPhone contract… written by his mom!

13-year-old Greg seems like any other middle school kid, but his mom, Janelle Hoffman isn’t just any mom. She is teaching her son that owning a smart phone is a privilege, not a right. Perhaps this is a better option than just smashing our kids’ phone!

Janelle was willing to give Greg an iPhone, but only if he agreed to their list of 18 conditions. Here’s just a few:

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.

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 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm.

(you can see all 18 iPhone rules here)

ABC News interviewed the mother and son:

(what a great video to show a parents’ small group and discuss)

So what about you?
Which of Janelle’s rules did you like? Which ones would you probably not use? Why?

What rules do you have for your kids’ phone use– maybe something Janelle missed?

How do these rules change as our kids get older? (like by age 17½ perhaps?)


Actually Setting Guardrails

Teenagers and SnapChat

Consuming Music… (Do the Lyrics Affect Me?)


About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
[Are you getting this daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it's real easy-go here.
This entry was posted in Entertainment Media, Parenting, Youth Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Mom’s iPhone Rules

  1. Hi Jonathon,

    I think Janelle is a parenting genius. She is setting her son up for true success. As a professional teacher and parenting advisor, I see many parents who do not understand the power of today’s technology. Kids must have boundaries set. Technology is like fire. When handling fire, one must be knowledgeable and respectful. Start playing around with fire carelessly, and someone is going to get burned. Technology is no different. I am in support of every rule Janelle put into place with her son.

    One major generalization I have made over the years through observation as an educator is that the students who are more kind, respectful, personable, engaging, empathetic, compassionate, hard-working, and goal-oriented are the ones who usually do not have cell phones. This is over a decade-long observation I have made while working with preadolescent children. My major advice to parents is if you do decide you want to allow your children to have a phone, then be prepared to be actively involved in how your children are using the phone in the same way Janelle is through the rules she set up with her son.

    Nicholas Kleve
    Professional Educator
    Youth Leadership and Parenting Expert