Ella’s iRules Contract: A Poem For You

Janell Burley Hofmann, January 10, 2017

Since the holidays, Ella & I have been co-creating a working set of iRules for her new phone. First, I asked her to come up with some tech rules on her own based on what she already knows and the thoughts and ideas we’ve talked about with the tech in her life to this point. Ella created a slideshow outlining some tech boundaries based on what she believed to be reasonable and important. I added some and we had a few different discussions about it. Yesterday, I collected the pieces of our work together and created a neat little poem for us to reference. Of course there is always more to say and do and add. But I’m proud of the foundation we’ve made here.

To Ella – it’s an amazing time to be growing up. I’m excited to see what you do with the digital world. I’m here for you on and away from the screens. Always. xoxo Mom

Oh Ella, my girl. Oh Ella, my baby.

It’s your turn for a phone? This is just crazy.


Well then, let’s go. Here are some iRules for you.

I know you are smart, but there are things you must do.


You must think of yourself. You must think of others.

Put it down, turn it off – it’s the same for your brothers.


Especially at times that are special to us – eating & sleeping, with friends & at school.

When with other people, your phone must not rule.


During the week, please shut your tech down at 8.

Sleep, study, sweat & each day will be great!


On weekends screens are a little more lax, 

So 9:00 turn off…10:00, max.


What is appropriate? What should you post?

What do you love and what matters the most?


Just be yourself, take your time, think it through.

This phone can be fun, if it represents you.


I know selfies & texting & pics are exciting,

But nothing is private, this is no place for fighting.


In person you must have the tough conversations.

Speak from your heart, express your frustrations.


Personal info needs your protection!

But ask us for help, no need for perfection.


You get to say no and unfollow and block.

Use a password to keep your phone set to lock.  


This phone is a gift, a privilege, a joy.

Keep track and take care, it’s not just a toy.


Remember your phone is a tool, a machine.

I can take it away if your room isn’t clean.


This phone is a part of your life now, I know.

But there’s a lot more to living than what this screen will show.


Be curious. Make art. Have fun with it too.

But never forget the power of YOU!


I love you and love the way you are growing,

Let’s share lots of stuff, I can’t wait to get going!


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