Mum’s iPhone Contract for Son


Most of us have had to deal with phone contracts but most contracts come from our telecommunications company, not our mothers.

Janell Burley Hoffman has made news around the world by issuing her 13 year old son with an 18 point contract along with his Christmas gift of a new iPhone.

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.

The contract is full of rules to govern the use of the phone, including a reminder that it’s mum who pays the bills and she will control the phone.

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

Most of the rules are just good common sense and would be useful for everyone who owns a smart phone. In fact, many of the rules apply to a range of areas in life and remind us that people are more important than ‘things’.

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

Rapid advances in technology often mean that good guidelines for using new technology lag behind their availability. However, this mum has reminded us that manners and simple common sense go a long way in whatever new situation we find ourselves.

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.

Parents around the world are hailing the contract as a return to common sense. It’s a reminder that when we hand over a new responsibility we, as parents, still get to decide how far that responsibility stretches. Just because a smart phone is full of features, it doesn’t mean that every feature should become immediately available to a young person. The contract is a great mix of compulsory rules and an encouragement to develop self-discipline.

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.

A lot of parents have been asking if they can use the contract for their own children. Janell Burley Hoffman has responded via her Twitter account, “To all that have messaged about using “the contract” in your home for your family, go for it!”

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.

What do you think of the contract? Would you hand someone a contract like that?

Do you think that there are guidelines in the contract that we could all do well to follow? What other rules do you think should govern the use of smart phones for everyone, not just children?

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Mum’s iPhone Contract for Son? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

Distracted to Death

I’m conflicted. I use Apple products every day but there’s something about the inevitable fanfare of their new product launches that concerns me. I’ll admit that it’s clever marketing but it always leaves me feeling quite unsettled.

The iPhone 5 has been launched and according to their marketing chief, Phil Schiller, shipments will start in about a week in the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia and Japan, and the latest must have device will be in 100 countries by the end of the year. There have been forecasts of sales of up to 12 million new iPhones by the end of September.

I have certainly embraced new technology but I do worry about the relentless pursuit of the newest and latest. I read somewhere recently of a young woman who loves Apple so much that she says she’s had about eight iPhones over the last couple of years. For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone needs to be buying that many phones.

Apple is not the issue.

Just in case you think this is a rant against Apple, it’s not. I love music so I love the iPod that I received as a gift some years ago. My wife won one of the original iPads and gave it to me. I use it every day and find it very handy for a variety of purposes. I currently have the use of an iPhone for work and I find it both fun and functional. Apple isn’t the issue. The relentless push to have more and more of the very latest is what causes me to feel uneasy.

My ‘old’ iPad didn’t cease to be functional when the next generation and the one after that were released. My iPod is several years old and several models out of date but interestingly enough, it still plays my favourite music. With a change in positions at work I’m about to swap my phone for an older model and it really doesn’t concern me.

It seems that we keep trying to fill every moment of every day with distractions that really don’t add anything to our quality of life and they certainly don’t answer the bigger life questions. We feel that we need something new simply because it’s available and the thought of not have the latest causes some people to break out in cold sweats. And don’t tell me it’s about functionality. It’s about feeling that we’re missing out if we don’t have the latest. We imagine that it’s better whether it is or not. This video proves that point.

It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes all over again. We’ve let ourselves be duped into believing that satisfaction in life is just one more purchase away. The strange thing is that when then next new and shiny item is offered for sale we jump for it, demonstrating that the last item we thought would satisfy didn’t really improve our quality of life at all. If it did we wouldn’t need the latest version. Strangely enough we refuse to learn the clearly obvious lesson and so we just repeat the cycle.

I’ve got news for you. It doesn’t stop and it will never satisfy.

All the latest gadgets, useful or not, are just distractions. They all cause us to take our eyes off what’s really important in life. They distract us from relationships, contemplation, relaxation and spirituality. We know that all the distractions don’t bring lasting happiness or joy but we keep pursuing them, refusing to learn that they’ll never satisfy. We keep chasing the distractions. We’re being distracted to death.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading Distracted to Death? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.

iPhones hit Australia

iphone.jpgThe iPhone was finally released in Australia yesterday.

As I made my way through our local shopping centre I noticed the long lines at the Telstra and the Optus shops. The shops had put up those retractable tape barriers that form those mazes that we all love so much at airports. Shoppers were corralled into dedicated iPhone shopping queues. People were determined to get their iPhone and they were prepared to kiss their day goodbye as they waited in line. They needed an iPhone.

Have you ever wondered how it is that things that weren’t even thought of not so long ago have become essential? The iPhone wasn’t even available in Australia a couple of days ago but yesterday it became something that thousands of people couldn’t live without. I only recently had to get a new phone because my old one broke. I got a reasonably basic one but it’s still got more fruit than I’ll ever really need. A mobile phone is a luxury anyway but all I really need is something to make and receive calls as well as sending the occasional text message.

Sure, we progress, and I certainly wouldn’t like to go back to days without electricity, running water and many of the others things we now take for granted, but I wonder if we get things a little out of proportion when it comes to what we consider as the basics of life. Are we confusing what is essential with things that are simply helpful or even luxuries?

Don’t get me wrong, there are certain toys that I’m happy to have. I listen to my iPod Mini everyday. I’ll admit that some people think it’s archaic, seeing as it’s one of the first 4 GB iPod Minis that was available. I think I bought mine only a short while before they stopped making them. I’ve got all kinds of bits and pieces that I don’t really ‘need’ but hopefully I’m keeping them in some kind of perspective. I don’t want to give up all the ‘stuff’ that living in Australia can offer, but on the other hand I don’t want to forget how fortunate I am to have access to so much wealth.

I know that by the simple fact that I’m now sitting and tapping away at this old computer with its staggering 1.2 GHz processor and 512 MB RAM, I have greater technology at my fingertips than the vast majority of the world’s population. In fact, knowing that I can walk a few steps from where I am right now, turn on a tap and pour a glass of drinkable water, puts me at a huge advantage over millions of people on this planet.

If you’re going to rush out and grab an iPhone, I hope you enjoy it and that it does what you need … er … want it to do. New technology is fascinating and I’m sure you’re going to get a lot of pleasure from your new purchase. I simply hope that you realise how incredibly fortunate you are to be able to spend more than what many other people in the world would earn in an entire year on your shiny new gadget.

Do you think some of your friends would enjoy reading iPhones hit Australia? Please use the buttons below to share the post. Thanks.