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Thirteen-year-old Gregory Hoffman, who received an iPhone as a Christmas gift, holds the contract his mother drew up that governs his use of the smartphone. The contract’s 18 points demand that he share passwords with a parent, answer his or her calls, avoid hurtful texts, and pay to replace the phone if it’s lost or damaged. The agreement predicts: “You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again.”
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Willie Jones is an associate editor at IEEE Spectrum. In addition to editing and planning daily coverage, he manages several of Spectrum's newsletters and contributes regularly to the monthly Big Picture section that appears in the print edition.