Every Kid With An iPhone Should Follow These 18 Rules

If your mum and dad bought you an iPhone for Christmas, or if you're a mum or dad who gifted an iPhone to your kid, you should make your kid follow the rules of Janell Hofmann. Hofmann bought an iPhone for her 13-year-old son Greg and gave him 18 rules to follow.

If you think Hofmann was being an overbearing mum, think again. There's good advice in her 18 rules! Sure, she requires to know the password of the iPhone and demands to receive the phone at night, but she also encourages her kid to not get so caught up with her iPhone and just live life. Rule #5 wants Greg to "have a conversation with the people you text in person" because it's a life skill. Rule #13 says not to take a "zillion pictures and videos" because you should live your experiences instead of being so focused on documenting everything.

But the two best rules are probably the last two. Rule #17: Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without Googling. And rule number 18 admits that Greg is probably going to screw up eventually, but that they'll figure it out together because they're a team. Yeah, you can say aww.

In a world where technology is taking over people's people skills and people's peopleness, we should all try and follow these 18 rules to realise that technology isn't everything. Or at the very least, Greg Hofmann should definitely follow the rules. Check out Janell Hofmann's full 18-point list of rules below and her full letter to her son at her website.

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. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am. If you would not make a call to someone's land line, 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 does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It's a life skill. *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.

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. Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money. It will happen, you should be prepared.

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 the hell out of the crossfire.

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

9. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.

10. No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask a person ? preferably me or your father.

11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.

12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else's private parts. Don't laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.

13. Don't take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.

14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO — fear of missing out.

15. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.

16. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.

17. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.

18. 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.

[Janell Burley Hofmann via Yahoo, ABC News]



    18 rules? Poor kid. But then, he's only 13 years old. Here's what he actually heard...

    Mwop mwop mwp I'm gettting an iPhone! mwop mwop mwop My very own iPhone! mwop mwop wmop mwop Wish she'd shut up so I could play with my iPhone mwop mwop mwop Could I install iTunes while still looking like I'm paying attention? mwop mwop mwop iPhone! mwop mwop mwop MY iPhone! mwop mwop mwop Oh FFS enough already just give me my iPhone! mwop mwop mwop mwop wmop.

    Last edited 04/01/13 8:43 am

      I totally disagree.

      Lucky kid in fact... Has a parent who cares, and hopes they will grow up educated, responsible and a valuable member of society. Not to mention, a parent who understands it is their responsibility to properly raise their child.

        Yeah, you're right, the quantity of rules clearly equates to the quality of parenting.

        In fact, I feel it was irresponsible of Janell to stop at only 18 rules. Personally, I don't feel I've done my job as a parent unless I've created at least 21 rules for my kids to ignore.

        I find that, by adding a stern lecture to the delivery of the rules, I can usually put them in a hypnotic post-suggestive state which enables me to impart a further 6 to 10 rules on top of that.


        Last edited 04/01/13 10:05 am

          I am guessing (by your comments), that you are a kid yourself - It is ok, one day you will understand where your parents are coming from.

          Until then try not to be too much of a brat - you will be slapped.

            You have to be kidding. Virt does understand and points out in an amusing way that loading a kid with vast numbers of rules simply. does. not.work. If your a parent, test it out. Give your teenager 12 instructions, ask them to repeat the instructions 2 days later. Now give them 2 rules, ask them to repeat the 2 rules 2 days later. Guess what the outcome is going to be?
            If your the type of parent to hand out numerous rules - take a good hard look at yourself and start again.

              Thank you for understanding my post :-D

            not sure where you got the idea virt is a kid. Maybe he/she is, but I can't tell from the comment.

        Your forgetting the biggest problem that a parent has to overcome, the current generation of kids are for the most part (not all) greedy, lazy, never have to lift a finger to do anything, want it all now and for free, little pricks. The big exception here being my son, who was brought up having to earn his pocket money and treat elders with respect. Love ya son....

          Yeah, tell me about it, it's always some other persons kid who's the little shit........

          No offence, but I get the feeling you could have said that about the same age of kids in the '90s, and the '80s, and the '70s...

            It's a steadily declining trend imo. Getting worse with each new generation. I may be showing my age, but I know that during my formative years, I would never swear at, or just plain act like a dick to my elders, for fear of my fathers wrath. In fact, discipline is probably the biggest thing lacking in today's youth.

              I dont know, those baby boomers with their elvis and their rock and roll... They're all trouble if you ask me...

              "The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers." - Socrates (469–399 B.C.) Yep, steadily declining since 400 BC.

              Don't get me wrong, I find myself thinking the same things (I'm 30 btw), but then I realise it's more that society itself is getting more and more... 'loose'. The teenagers are just keeping up (or a step ahead, as the case may be).

              What I mean is, discipline is lacking just as much now as it was. But the discipline itself is different.

        No denying the parents care but virt is absolutely right - that IS what a teenager will hear. At least the normal ones.

        Lucky kid my ass. Let's not gloss over the most important point in the article - his mother likes to blog about how she parents. So this kid grows up in a world where every step of his childhood is being ridiculed on a blog.

        Sure, give your kids rules, but don't be self-centred and blog about how great you are as a mom.

      What do you mean, "heard"? The article clearly says his mum wrote the rules down in a letter; the kid doesn't have to memorise them. I bet you can't recall every single law either, but that doesn't mean you don't have to abide by them. The kid just has to read them through carefully once and agree to them. If he messes up, the parents can bring out the rules, show him which rule(s) he violated, and he can face the consequences accordingly. I think it's brilliant, teaches the kid how to honour an agreement and behave responsibly.

    I think Janell is an awesome parent for doing this. Many parents (but not all) don't even consider the implications technology will have on kids. Often from infancy, technology is becoming part of their lives with toys designed to hold iPhones and apps targeting children, but not many stop to think, "Is this a good thing?" I'm not saying technology is evil (far from it actually), I just think sometimes it is so much a part of our lives that we don't consider the impact is has on our kids and how aspects of technology may replace some (social) skills that would normally be developed. Furthermore, I have met many parents that don't even understand the capabilities of devices like smart phones, much less, how they work. Credits to any parent who actually takes the time to do this and actually enforces it. This set of rules not only teaches kids good phone etiquette, but also how to be a better person overall.

      I second this. Awesome parent. While I may not fully agree with all the rules, this is a parent who is taking responsibility for their child and helping their child take responsibility.

        Good parents are becoming harder and harder to find. I wish Janell luck and if Greg ever reads this (on his new iphone) you are one lucky kid to have parents who actually care about you and what you do.

    For the most part I agree, however I don't think the kid would really read/care about these rules until they stuff up, so it's a bit ambitious and probably overkill. A lot of the rules are more like common sense than anything and apply across different areas. Having said that there are some rules that I don't really 'get'

    #5 - I thought the whole point of having a mobile phone was to have it when there was no access to a landline? So what's the point of not taking it to school if the kid will only have it when they're at home, with access to a landline?

    #13 - Can't take lots of pictures? That just stifles creativity and teaches that doing something (slightly) creative is bad/unnecessary, what about if the kid just really likes taking photos?

    #15 - doesn't really apply to a phone, but just to taste in general?

      on #15 you're completely right, and while I hate most of the music "millions of your peers that listen to", I'd never go so far as to restrict it from someone else. It's all art, who does a person think they are to restrict it?

        It's not a restriction. I don't see that it's saying they can't download music their peers listen to. Just that they should also download other stuff.

      #5 - Schools have landline phones, a school office will let you ring your parents if you need to contact them about something urgently. Kids don't only goto school and stay home, you never went to a friends house? went to the movies with a friends family? etc etc

      #13 - Don't take a ZILLION pictures, snapping away at every little thing constantly is not creative nor is it going to teach creativitiy. learning to recognise a good photo opportunity is going to enhance creativity more than snapping away at anything.

      #15 is just good life advice

      Last edited 04/01/13 10:15 am

        I wonder how many photographers started out playing with cameras like toys, taking photos of everything, versus how many photographers started out learning good photography skills.
        Creativity doesn't always come from being good. The most important stuff I learned about drawing as a kid came from just getting used to holding the pencil and copying games, comics and magazines. That enthusiasm led to creativity in basic ways like copying a picture slightly differently, and eventually grew into being able to draw my own stuff. It may not seem super creative but I was a kid.

        It's a rule based on the adult world where taking a zillion worthless photos is obnoxious. If you don't want your kid to be one of those douchebags then letting them enjoy their camera while they're young is probably the best thing you can do.

          I think it does cover gray areas as below. but if the kid has talent for it they will learn the balance themselves and as I said below i still think it is a good rule to cover privacy issues.

          Playing with a camera and photo documenting every meaningless detail for the sake of it are two different things. Which I think is a point she tried to cover by using such a exagerated number, but its all in the details and we don;t know how these rules were discussed later.

        #5 I was more thinking about to and from school/after school activities. I went to school and had to travel 1.5 hrs each way, so would have been useful to have a mobile back then (before those new fangled motor cars and such).

        #13 yea i can see that, but it's a bit much to say don't take a lot of photos. I understand that the younger generations love to think everyone loves every single insignificant detail to their life and take lots of useless photos, but there really is no downside to taking lots of photos at all. Sure it might fill up the SD card or whatever but then that will just teach them to use their phone/camera better and probably to recognise what is quality and what is not (to keep and not to keep). I think the reasoning that photos are just 'documentation' and not a form of creative art is pretty ignorant. There are plenty of photographers that documented every aspect of their lives and others and contributed to the development of the art form (Jacob Riis for one).

        In other words maybe she should have said something like "don't take lots of photos of nothing, think about it and be creative with it".

          #5 I guess the rule was made on the knowledge that the kid might only be a short distance from home/will be picked up every day/etc when it comes to that detail it is probably more based on situation than a rule of thumb.

          #13 I guess it would of been a better stipulation of "dont take a zillion photos of anything then start throwing them in peoples faces and expect people to fall in love with them". It is still a good rule a I think, one that a child will learn to balance themselves over time, and it covers more of the privacy issue. if you photo document every little thing you are leaving a happy trail for anyone who wants to abuse that. But yes it covers a lot of gray areas, and was probably discussed in more detial later.

    Wow. That is FANTASTIC. #18 is probably the best one.

    Over half of them are rules we should all follow.

    BTW one would hope the kid would take "anything of this magnitude" as a compliment (if you look at the sentence it's in).

    Last edited 04/01/13 9:41 am

    I know it's not the same, but for my 12th birthday my parents got me an iPod touch, and while I didn't have any restrictions placed on it, I still turned out to be a perfectly reasonable and intelligent person. The only time I've done something on the Internet I regret was watch the trailer for the human centipede which I watched on my mum's computer, not my iPod. On the other hand, on my year 6 school camp I was the most popular kid on the bus because my iPod had 4 episodes of South Park on it.

      iPod Touch came out in 2008 - let's be honest here, you're still a child. You still have plenty of time to turn out into something ;)

      Jesus - now I feel old.

    I can summarise this all down to two much shorter rules
    1. Don't use this phone like a normal person would
    2. Kids these days, honestly back in my day.....

    #14 is going to be a huge issue to set a good example with for myself, I believe this is a solid rule that I have failed to follow myself. Now my career relies on me constantly being near my phone and needing to checking regularly.

    I find #10 to be a bit too closed minded in this day and age. I would rather my kid learn how to access adult vices that he will inevitably be exposed to in a position where I can monitor and educate. Just like teaching your kids to drink responsibly.

      Sooooo, you want your kid to learn how to access porn while you monitor and educate? So you would sit down with your kid and search for and watch porn together? Sounds like a good way to scar your child.

      (never mind didn't think)

      Last edited 04/01/13 1:31 pm

    Gotta say this mum is what parents are supposed to be, responsible. So many bogans these days trying to shift this kind of stuff onto the governments and the schools instead of raising their own children.

    That kid is lucky he has parents who care and are actually intelligent and open minded enough about technology and its implications to give good advice. Wish there were more parents like these around.

    No phone at school seems to negate the point of giving them a phone in the first place. It's essentially saying its a toy you can use after school (provided you're willing to come home and get it). 99% of the times I needed my phone it was on my way home from school, directly after school (when I hadn't gone home first) or during school. Those were the times that justified me having a phone.
    Also a lot of them seem to have an aftertaste of old people 'kids today suck because they're different' rules. Imagine getting a discman and having your mum tell you what sort of music to listen to.

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