Creating a Family Cell Phone Contract for Tweens and Teens

Between you and your tween, there’s a lot to discuss. You may be wondering how to best handle phone access for your child. A cell phone contract may help set the tone for what’s appropriate and what is not.

As you know, your tween is becoming a young adult. And as we all know, young adults love their cell phones. It’s important to establish rules to ensure that they use their new devices responsibly while they are under your roof. You can create a cell phone contract with your tween to help them set some rules to follow while they have the phone in their possession.

Smartphones, social media use and youth mental health

Impact of mobile phones and wireless devices use on children

Cell phones, Teens and Mental Health – McGill University

Creating a Family Cell Phone Contract for Tweens and Teens

Cell phones are a must-have in today’s world, and tweens want one just as much as any other age group. But with the rise of smartphones and increased social media use has come a greater risk of addiction and distraction.

As parents, you need to step up your efforts to help your kids manage their screen time while they’re with you. One approach is to implement a contract that regulates your children’s cell phone use.

Simple Cell Phone Rules for Teens

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Contracts can be effective because they give your child something to lose if they don’t uphold their end of the deal. If every member of the family has a contract for cell phone use, then everyone will know what’s expected of them—and what the consequences are for not following the rules. This contract will be between you and your tween, so you can tailor it to his or her needs and make it more specific than the one you would have with an older child.

A good cell phone contract will cover the following:

1) Your tween will use the cell phone for talking, texting, and taking pictures with friends and family when given permission by you.

2) Your tween will not use the cell phone for any inappropriate purposes (i.e., inappropriate pictures or texting).

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3) Your tween will not use the phone during homework time or anytime it is distracting others from what they are doing.

4) Your tween will respect other people’s privacy by not looking at or taking pictures of others without their consent.

5) Your tween will keep the phone charged at all times when it is in his or her possession.

6) They should never be mean or hurtful to anyone else online.

7) They must have permission from you before posting personal information online, including pictures.

8) They should not use phones at the dinner table (or at the breakfast table, for that matter).

9) They may not make or receive calls after bedtime (or after a certain hour on school nights).

10) They should never text while driving or riding a bike, no matter how hands-free their phone may be.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of the holidays and the stresses that come along with them. There’s one less important thing you can let fall through the cracks, though: your relationship with your child.

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It’s crucial to schedule time together so you can connect on a level that goes beyond the issues of daily life. If your child is a tween, this is an especially important time for you to be talking about what it means to be responsible—and an effective way to start that conversation is to establish a cell phone contract between you. 

The rules should be put in place to help your child understand how you expect him or her to use their phone responsibly and safely. With this contract, you will set guidelines for when, where, and how they use their phone—and help them learn how to handle those situations when they inevitably arise!


  • Your child is not allowed to use their cell phone during school hours. During this time, the phone will be turned off and placed in their backpack or locker. If they are not able to put the phone away during school hours, they must keep the phone at home or in their locker during the day.
  • Your child is not allowed to use their cell phone while they are driving. This includes texting, using apps and talking on the phone. If your child needs to make a call while they are driving, they must pull over first and park before using the cell phone.
  • Your child is not allowed to go on any websites that have a suggestive rating or that have inappropriate content/language.

House Rules for Teenagers


After homework is finished every day, there should be a set time when cell phones are turned off and placed in a designated location (such as inside a backpack). 

You should require that your child spend some time relaxing during this period—reading a book or playing an instrument or doing something else that isn’t electronic. 

At the end of the allotted amount of time (which can start off being pretty generous), the phone can be turned on. When this happens, all electronic devices should be returned to their place in the backpack (or wherever you choose) before bedtime.