Shortly after college, I worked for the Sales Director of a large corporation in Sacramento. At one of the many sales-related dinners we hosted for our clients, he told us how he had recently purchased a car for his sixteen-year-old daughter. Apparently, this was something he had done for all four of his children.
My critical skepticism must have shown on my face because my manager started to chuckle. He explained the “terms and conditions” of this gift. Each child had to read and sign a contractual agreement upon receiving keys:
- No radio during the first year (he always removed it)
- Maintain 3.0 or higher GPA
- Wash vehicle weekly
- Perform scheduled maintenance on time.
Any failure to fulfill their end of the contract resulted in suspended driving privileges.
A contract (as long as it’s enforced) is an excellent idea because it provides a son or daughter with clearly defined expectations and consequences. Most of the time, we parents essentially hand the keys of a giant weapon to our new driver and cross our nail-bitten fingers.
Even with all the pre-license training, 16-19 year-olds have the highest risk of motor vehicle accidents. Imagine how many more accidents would happen if we failed to teach them?
We take so much care with driver’s training, yet so little care with technology training.
Our electronic devices provide children access to one of the most powerful and dangerous tools of our age—the internet. Occasionally, we are lulled into a false belief that parental controls will prevent our children from being “one of those kids”—those who post inappropriate pictures, suffer from bullying, or get lured away by predators.
Instead of blindly handing out devices, let’s lay down some ground rules…
Note to my readers: I read your comments on the last article and it seemed that most of you were ok with reading here and clicking over. In the interest of sharing traffic, I will continue to do it the way I have been unless you give me different feedback. Thank you all so much for reading!