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Dad On Reddit Furious After Kids' Aunt Announces Plans To Overstep Smartphone Rules

“She is going to buy my kids smart phones for their birthdays if daddy is going to be a stick in the mud.”

Social media and cell phones have become one of the trickiest parenting boundaries to navigate in the last 10 years, and every parent has to find their own way to deal with it. Not every parent is going to make the same choices, which is fine. What is maybe not so fine is when another parent threatens to overstep someone’s chosen boundaries, like one aunt who announced plans to buy her brother’s kids smartphones, despite his rules against them.

The dad in question took to the sub-Reddit “Am I The A**hole” forum to share his fury over his sister’s recent announcement. As he explains it, his kids are 17, 12, and 9 years old, and he and his wife have let their policies about phones and social media be known. “In my house, me and my wife’s policy is no phones at all until they leave primary school aged 11 because then they will start walking to secondary school alone, no smart phone until they have proved they are trustworthy with their brick phone (keeping it charged, not losing it etc.) and no social media until they have reached the minimum age for that social media (for most it is 13),” he explained on Reddit.

The dad went on to share that he goes through his 12-year-old’s device, while allowing his 17-year-old privacy on his own phone and laptop. Something his sister, who is mom to 10-year-old twins, finds galling. Her twins have iPhones, according to the dad, and she “doesn’t go through their phones at all. This wouldn’t bother me because each to their own with parenting decisions but my 12 y/o is jealous her cousins are allowed social media, have a better phone than her and don’t get their text messages checked through, my 9 y/o because of his cousins has been begging for a phone.”

His sister made it clear that she thought the dad was being “invasive,” going on to announce in front of his children that “she is going to buy my kids smart phones for their birthdays if daddy is going to be a stick in the mud.”


Redditors were very much on his side. “Your sister is a MASSIVE AH for deliberately saying that when she knows your kids were in earshot. She’s doing it to try to make them think you’re a stick-in-the-mud or old fuddy-duddy or whatever, when in reality you’re actually being the responsible parent here,” wrote one person.

Another agreed that offering smartphones in front of the kids was a rotten move. “The sister shouldn’t be forcing her tech parenting style upon OP’s kids. It’s off-putting to think he’s being made out to be a big brother tyrant and then she lets his kids hear she’s going to get them smartphones. I think it’s really important to have talks with children regarding the internet.”

“If your sister plans to buy smartphones for your younger children, make it clear to her that you will confiscate them and you will sell them and put the money in their college fund, (or whatever),” another chimed in. “Your sister is massively overstepping. She can have her opinions and she can raise her own children annnnny way she wants to, but what she wants and likes stops at the threshold of your home. NTA.”

However, a few Redditors suggested that this dad’s rules about phones and social media could encourage his kids to be secretive. “My mom went through my phone when I was 12 and confronted me about it, and it still makes me cringe to this day. We never repaired our communication after that and I hid things from her throughout my adolescence,” one person shared. “Being super strict will just cause your kids to hide things from you, and they will never want to talk to you if they encounter a problem.”

Possible reactions aside, considering the fact that Florida, traditionally one of the most conservative states in the country, recently banned social media for users under the age of 14, this dad is not exactly being extreme. It’s tricky territory to parent through and having another parent vocally disagree with your approach certainly doesn’t make it any easier.