Mom’s 18-Point iPhone Conditional Gift Seems Outrageous but It Is Right on Point
When I first read about the mother who gifted her son with an iPhone for Christmas and then gave him a list of 18 terms and conditions, I bristled. My mind immediately went to the father who wrote his children the poison pen letter a few months ago and then allowed one of them to post it on the Internet.
I pondered the proliferation of people who air their family laundry on a blog or YouTube, then land on Good Morning America; further propagating the issues they are having with one another.
Thirteen-year-old Greg Hoffman’s iPhone came with a list that started out with the first rule, “It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren’t I the greatest?” (gma.yahoo.com) I groaned as I thought about the rest of the “rules” and what could possibly cause GMA to interview the family.
Just before I threw up my hands in disgust and clicked on to a different news story, I was compelled to read further when I saw the next line, “‘I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well-rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it,’ Janell Hoffman wrote. ‘Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.’” (gma.yahoo.com)
Hoffman continues her list with technology and social etiquette for her son; she warns him against sending explicit messages, becoming addicted to the phone, and ignoring life happening around him. The teen’s mother also sets rules into place for when and where it is appropriate for him to use his phone such as school, restaurants and the public.
One of the rules in the contract is for the boy to “wonder without googling”; interestingly enough, I had this conversation with a relative while playing Scrabble the other day. We were trying to recall something from the past and it took us a while to recollect the historical event, but we finally did. It prompted a discussion about people with addictions to technology and how they have a difficult time remembering because they whip out their cell phones and look something up instantaneously instead of using their memory.
I have often opined about people who sit anonymously behind their computer and write nasty grams to people or who engage in bullying on Facebook or other social networking sites. If the young Hoffman takes his mother’s advice, he will not have to worry, her rule number 8 states, “Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.” (gma.yahoo.com)
One merely has to spend half an hour on the Internet, people-watching in a café, or mindlessly channel surfing, and studying people to learn many valuable lessons could be learned from the terms and conditions being placed on Greg Hoffman. His mother’s advice to play games, live life, and explore music different from the mainstream is good advice.
Still, with all of the advancements in technology and new devices available to us on an almost daily basis, I like her lucky number 13 guidance best of all, “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.” (gma.yahoo.com) In a world where every stupid pet trick and celebrity blunder is kept in perpetuity, your memory is the best hard drive available.