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Dan Walker makes his children sign a contract before he gets them mobile phones

Dan Walker makes his children sign a contract before he gets them mobile phones

Best to start them off young, eh?

What's one surefire way to take the excitement away from kids getting their first mobile phones? Making them sign a mock legal document, of course.

That's what Dan Walker says he and his wife Sarah did with their children Susanna, 15, Jessica, 13, and Joe, 11 - and they're pretty strict about it too.

The new Channel 5 news presenter is quite open about the issues he has with social media and, probably like most parents, he's terrified of how the vast landscape of the internet will affect his children.

BBC Breakfast

Dan explained that, because of his concerns, his three kids were 'behind a lot of their friends' when it came to joining social media apps like Instagram, and were only given their first mobile phone when they started walking home from secondary school on their own.

While his kids managed to get their hands on their first phone at age 12, they couldn't sign up to Instagram until they turned 13.

Speaking to The Times, he said: "We are strict. When we got them their phones, we got them to sign up to [the contract and] we had a chat."

According to the 'contract', Dan and Sarah say they're happy to let their kids have their own phones - but only if they agree to certain terms and conditions.

"There are things we expect from you in terms of what you do with [the phone] and how you use it. If you cross the line, we will take it away for a period", he said.

One of the conditions of the contract is that the children can't have their phones in their bedrooms. Instead, they're left downstairs overnight to charge.

Plus, he and his wife will 'routinely' check the contents of their kids' phones, including what apps they had downloaded and what websites they've been looking up.

To be fair, Dan has good reason to be wary social media and how it might affect his kids. Thanks to his regular TV appearances on the likes of Match of the Day, BBC Breakfast, and Strictly Come Dancing, the presenter has experienced his fair share of trolling online.

Dan wrote about his gripes with social media in his new book Standing on the Shoulders: Incredible Heroes and How They Inspire Us, writing: "There is no break for this generation of children. Issues like bullying don’t stop at the school gates.

"It can be a non-stop, 24 hours-a-day drip-drip build-up of pressure. There can be no release and no let-up.”

He adds: “I often get threats of violence on social media. That is never nice. I have a family to protect and look after and I take their safety more seriously than I take my own."

Featured Image Credit: Bettina Strenske / PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Celebrity, Social Media, Instagram