Phonewise Boot Camp for Parents

Setting your kid up for success with their first phone

“So, can I have a phone?”

“All my friends have a phone, when can I have one?”

Your kid has just asked you for a phone, and you’re freaking out.

They’ve been bugging you to buy them a phone for months. Maybe you even got them a phone already, and now you’re not so sure it was a good decision. You spend more time fighting about their phone than talking to each other.

What are they doing on there?

You’ve considered getting your kid a phone, but you’re scared—they’ll have access to literally the entire world at the swipe of a screen.

You’re worried about cyberbullying, naughty pictures, and endless text messages.

You don’t want to raise a screen-addicted kid who has trouble looking people in the eye.

Don’t freak out.

You want to keep your kid safe, healthy, and happy. You want to trust that they can be responsible with their phone, without spying on them or having a screaming match.

Phonewise Boot Camp is a 4-week online course that prepares you and your child for their first phone.


After Phonewise Boot Camp

You'll know the right words to use when talking with your kids about phones so that no one storms out of the room in tears.

You'll notice how kids respond to mentoring and monitoring.

You'll know how your phone-addicted behavior affects your kids.

You'll be proud of the empathetic kid you are raising.

The idea of a phone won't be scary anymore—you’ll be ready to get curious about your kids’ interactions with technology.

Enrollment is open – join now!

We had given my 10-year old daughter a phone when she started walking to school. We wanted to be able to track her location to know she was safe. Phonewise helped give us the conversation starters and tools to have open communication with my daughter about why we were using geolocation and app filtering. I also loved being able to interact live with Devorah and get real-time feedback from her.

— Danny, father of a 10 year old daughter

In Phonewise Boot Camp, you’ll learn:

  • How to know if your child is ready for a phone and what level of access is appropriate for their age.
  • To have calm and open discussions about social skills, etiquette, and setting up healthy boundaries.
  • Simple and practical tools to use right away, like scripts for how to stay curious and handle conflicts, a phone contract between you and your kid.
  • How to be a positive digital role model and how to show your kids empathy.
  • That the idea of a phone isn’t scary anymore—you’re ready to get curious about your kids’ interactions with technology.

Feel confident you’re teaching your child to make smart decisions on their phone, even when you’re not there.

We confidently launched my son as a new cellphone user after finishing this class! We have a system in place for green-lighting new apps and my husband, my son and I are on the same page. We loved that the course focused on realistic, everyday issues.

– Ellen Krause-Grosman


What's included in Phonewise Boot Camp?

4 Weekly Modules

Evolve into a digital-savvy parent at a pace thats productive, but not overwhelming.

Video Lessons

Where I'll walk you through this process parent-to-parent and explain every step.

Downloadable Worksheets

To guide you through this process step-by-step. Fill out in the PDF, or print them.

DIY the class, or build your own learning community.
Take it with your book group, your spouse or parents at your school.

Reach out to me directly if you enroll with a group. For groups of 10 or more registered, I can add a live Q and A webinar. Contact me [email protected] about this option !

After you enroll, you’ll have instant access to all of the course materials immediately. While this course is designed to take four weeks, it's self-paced so that you can go as fast or slow as you'd like, based on where your family is in your digital journey.

My parenting approach is more nuanced now. I love having real, practical tools, like a parent-child phone contract to complement the philosophy and strategy of supporting learning and appreciating mistakes—even important ones—as opportunities. Phonewise lowered my anxiety level about my daughter and social media.

— Ari, father of a 11 year old daughter

Inside the Phonewise Curriculum

Module 1 | Assessing your family's relationship with technology

You'll evaluate your personal relationship with tech, your child’s existing digital life, their key areas of strength and difficulty, and how these affect their ability to manage a phone.

Module 2 | What makes a successful cellphone communicator?

Understand the crucial skills your child needs to be a successful phone user, such as empathy, conflict resolution, setting boundaries and impulse control, and how to encourage those skills in your child.

Module 3 | Co-creating a plan – Mentoring vs. Monitoring

You'll learn the difference between mentoring and monitoring and whether you should spy. You'll also work with your child to create a phone contract that outlines boundaries and responsible phone use.

Module 4 | Pulling it all together and launch experiments

We'll cover what to do if you see something questionable on your kid’s phone, how to handle conflicts, who your kids should communicate with and, finally, why you shouldn’t be freaking out about launching your new phone user.

Enrollment is open – join now!

I was feeling overwhelmed by the technology in my 6th grader’s life; my daughter was accessing online tools and social media sites I wasn’t familiar with, and I needed to provide more guidance. Now have a framework for keeping my daughter safe and happy online.

– Michelle Golden

Phonewise is for you if:

  • Your kids have been asking for a phone because their friends have them
  • Every conversation with your kid about technology has been stressful for everyone involved and ultimately unproductive
  • You think your kid is responsible and mature enough for a phone, but you want to be sure and do it in a smart way
  • Your kid isn’t ready for a phone yet, but you want to set up healthy behaviors and habits today

Enrollment is open – join now!

The short videos were incredibly helpful. Love those tidbits of wisdom! All the material is so rich that I keep circling back to it!

– Allison Joelson

Devorah Heitner

I’m Devorah Heitner, and I support parents seeking advice on how to help children thrive in a digital world. I’m here to take the fear out of this emotionally-charged topic and help you guide your kids toward empathy, kindness, and integrity.

My book, Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World gives parents new insights into kids’ digital world, so they can stop feeling afraid and become tech-positive parents.

Since earning my Ph.D. in Media/Technology and Society from Northwestern University, I’ve been working with communities, schools and companies across the United States and beyond. I speak to schools, organizations, and corporations, lead workshops, and consult with educators on their toughest concerns in teaching kids to use tech in a smart way. My writing about kids and tech has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN Opinion. I am delighted to be raising my own teenager and I live with her family in Chicagoland. You can follow me on Twitter @Devorahheitner and on Instagram @devorahheitnerphd.

Enrollment is open – join now!

This is a journey that parents and children take together and this course can help you make that connection with the right questions. Loved the videos and the live classes. It's great to connect with other parents to to see what other parents are experiencing and know that I am not alone!

– Tina Shepardson

Frequently Asked Questions

May I see a preview of the course?
I've made one lesson from each module available as a free preview. Check them out here.
My kids are a few years away from getting a phone, is this course for me?
Yes! Because you can rewatch the videos as many times as you like (forever) you can revisit each section as you’re ready. Actually, the best time to complete this course is before you get your kids a phone because you’ll be able to take your time, start modeling positive phone behavior, and getting good habits in place well in advance.
My kids already have phones. Is it too late?
No! It’s not too late. Many of the parents I’ve coached learned a ton of helpful information and have reported that they feel like better role models now, and their kids are learning healthy boundary-setting with less fighting!
Will I never fight with my kid again about phones?
Sorry... no. This course will help you anticipate and plan for some of the most crucial decisions to make around your family's approach to integrating this new device. It can reduce stress and conflict, but it won’t eliminate all of your challenges.
What are some things the course doesn’t cover?
This course won't tell you which phone to buy, what kind of plan to enroll in, how to set up your kid's phone, or recommend any monitoring apps. The course can help you figure out criteria to make these decisions, but you may still need tech support in your own community. Phonewise is focused on your family's approach to tech, and how to support your child's skill set around digital communication.
What if I need more than four weeks to take this course?
This is your course! If you want to linger in any of the lessons for an extra week or two of planning, you’re welcome to do so. While I cannot guarantee that this course will be around forever, it will be available at least until the end of 2021. You can return to the materials for self-guided study, and you are free to print the handouts, worksheets and readings, and keep them forever!
I still have questions!
Send me an email at [email protected] - I'm happy to help!