Family Covenants and Electronics

  • covenantGregory’s iPhone Contract
  • Acceptable Use Policies
  • An Electronic Device Covenant for you
  • Family covenants
  • God’s covenant

Covenants are a great tool that have been used through the ages and can be a useful tool for parents when it comes to setting clearly defined boundaries. We see covenants over and over throughout scripture. The Covenants of scripture carry a ton more weight and meaning than the covenants I will suggest implementing in this brief article.

At the beginning of January there was what turned out to be a minor blip on the media scene when Gregory’s iPhone Contract made waves on the news. Gregory Hoffman’s mother gave her son an iPhone for Christmas with an even better gift attached, the gift of parental involvement. She did not turn her child loose with the device, but outlined its proper usage purposes, location, surroundings and times. You can read the candid and caring covenant at this link.

This covenant may appear to many to be a personalized Acceptable Use Policy like many employees and students have agreed to in order to use devices and networks in their corporate and educational settings. Acceptable Use Policies protect the creator from misuses that could lead to legal situations as well as technical failures. There is much more present in Gregory’s iPhone contract than that though. This letter from a mother to a son, shows love; the love of a person who will turn love to tough love when necessary.

It was a week or so before this hit the news I had been given a contract like this that I planned to update and share for anyone interested. Rev. Randy Duncan had created a Facebook, Cell Phone and iTunes Contract for his family that I wanted to share with you all with some slight modifications. You can find a sample device covenant here. This is provided for you to modify and use for your setting. I would encourage you to write a covenant with your child rather than foisting it upon them. Getting your child’s ideas and buy in from the beginning of the creation will foster ownership in the process.

Covenants are certainly not limited to device usage. Here is a pretty neat family covenant I came across.  Covenants are great ways for families to clearly outline expectations for one another. You may consider creating covenants for many facets of your family life, chores, friends, dating, vehicle usage, etc. Covenants are even used to help organizations, teams and even friendships function in healthy ways. Trinity’s board of elders has developed and been working under a covenant since last summer. When operating with a covenant, it is easy to see when boundaries are being crossed and expectations are not being met. But at the same time, covenants allow each member of the agreement to know what they are able and encouraged to do.

God gave His people a covenant and reiterated and reinstated it many times throughout history. It is because of the covenant that God has given us that we know we are unable to live up to His expectations on our own and that we are in need of His mercy, grace and assistance. So when Jesus breaks out the new covenant in His blood we truly find something we know we need. Here again we find another parenting tool that we should learn to use, that of grace. But remember, you are a parent, not a friend and you cannot have grace without the law.

Praying for you as you parent your gifts with your gifts.