LIKE plenty of parents, Wendy Robinson was reluctant to give her children access to technology, fearing that the worst-case scenarios come to pass if they were unleashed on the internet unattended.
She got her kids an old iPad to share but imposed strict rules on the amount of time and type of content they were allowed.
She stuck to her guns as long as possible, but Wendy decided it was time to give her son a phone when he entered middle school and she realised that he was the only one of his peers without one.
The final nail in the coffin was one occasion when her son was the only person to turn up to football practice after it was cancelled by text.
The poor lad then had to walk the mile home in the pouring rain as he didn't have a phone to call his parents.
Seeing him shivering in his wet uniform, she decided it was time to get him a device of his own.
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But, writing for CafeMom, Wendy explained that they put plenty of measures in place to make sure their child was protected.
She and her husband installed parental monitoring apps and blocked any adult content and most social media sites.
They then presented him with a three-page list of their expectations for him if he were to get a phone and asked him to sign it as a contract.
The list included their grade expectations, and that he couldn't take the phone into his room at night.
When we explained to him why we blocked certain sites, we ended up talking about pornography and how early exposure can be harmful to kids.
She said: "It turned out, however, more of the contract ended up being about what kind of person we want him to be and getting the phone was opening the door for us to have some really deep conversations.
"We ended up having really candid conversations with our son that went far beyond the kind of content we’d covered when we’d had 'the talk' (or, really, the series of 'the talks' we’d had over the years).
"When we explained to him why we blocked certain sites, we ended up talking about pornography and how early exposure can be harmful to kids."
But the talk didn't end there as Wendy spoke to her son about the ethics of sex work and that they hoped he would have a great sex life in the future.
She said: "When we talked about texting and sexting, we got a chance to be really explicit about consent, coercion, and how once you send a picture or a message, you lose control of it forever.
"Again, we got to dive even deeper into how to be an ethical partner and friend and made sure he knew that consent is a two-way street and how to respond if he got unwanted sexts or pictures someday."
The chat didn't just cover sex, they also put a plan in place if he was ever out having drinks and things got out of hand.
They also discussed bullying and how not to be a bully, editing images and the "reality" (or lack of) on social media.
When we talked about texting and sexting, we got a chance to be really explicit about consent, coercion, and how once you send a picture or a message, you lose control of it forever.
Wendy explained that the opportunity to share why they put those rules in place helped their son be a better person, which is incredibly valuable.
She said: "He knows our rules but more importantly, he knows our values and how they connect to his sense of the kind of adult he wants to be.
"That is powerful stuff! Plus, now sometimes he texts me just to say he loves me, so that is definitely a mark in favour of technology!"
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