Archive for the ‘to Cell phone or not to cell phone’ Category

To Cell Phone or Not To Cell Phone?

August 14, 2009

It’s that time. You know….
Time to make the big decision…
Should we or shouldn’t we?

The oldest is 11.

And She’s going to Jr. High in a week.
And she thinks she needs a cell phone.

And for over a year… we’ve said no. What the heck does a 10yrold need with a cell phone? Did you have one when you were 10? What did you do when your bus was late from a field trip? What did you do when you were ready to come home from a sleepover? What did you do when you got sick at school?

Oh my heck! You used a PHONE… how crazy is that, you walked up to a teacher and asked to use the phone?

The thing is… she’s going to Jr. High NOW, {that would be 20 years different than when I did}. If she’s freaked out at a friend’s house and doesn’t dare ask to use the phone..that could be awful.. if her bus is late from a volleyball trip over the mountain… I’ll be home assuming the worst… if she’s at the skating rink with friends and they are finished early and were forced to sit there waiting… I’d feel bad at least?

These all three happened in the last year. And each time she either borrowed a friend’s cell phone, or I ended up leaving my phone with her.

So which is it? Does she NEED a phone.. or do I need her to have one?

In my post ‘You Gave Your Toddler A Cell Phone?’

Um.. I was shocked.. to say the least. Over 70 people voted, and there were 4 who said they would or already did give their toddler a cell phone! Wow I thought that sounded crazy?

You can see the discussion in the comments on that post.. after chatting both here on my blog and over on Facebook.. I was enlightened as to WHY people offered their toddler a cell phone.

Blogging Pal Arizona said:

I was in the hospital for 6 weeks when I was pregnant with my twins (and then for 2 more weeks while they were in the NICU) and I gave my son a cell phone while i was an inpatient so he could always get a hold of me. He was 2 at the time. Yes. 2 YEARS OLD. I set it up to speed dial me and he would call me or I’d call him and we’d talk (as well as you could with a 2 yr old!). It helped alleviate the stress he was going through with me gone and it made me feel a little better that I could call him and hear his voice when I wanted to. He used to say he had Mama in his pocket. My husband took it away from him a couple of times because he said my son was going to get brain cancer from it, but I made sure he got it back. When I got out of the hospital we took it away for good since he had no one to call anymore. When he goes out with my MIL I sometimes give him the phone again so he can call if he gets lost (he’s now 4 and can do that).

Others voted to never give a kid a cell phone, instead let ’em buy one when they are out of high school:

From Chatty Natty’s teaching experience:

I voted never! I think it’s completely ridiculous how children these days are glued to technology, especially their cell phones. Whatever happened to being a kid?

However nearly 75% said they would buy a phone for a kid age 11 or older. I’m not saying my poll is scientific or anything. But that’s a pretty big percentage? And while here in our household we’ve been sittin’ the fence for a long time… we are currently leaning towards the cell phone side of the pasture.

Mom of older kids: Georgie puts it this way:

when all the children were in 5th grade we got them a pre-paid phone they had to prove responsible by buying their minutes and not loosing or tearing up the phone-

doing it this way taught them more than responsibility since it was prepaid and they used allowance to buy minutes they learned to keep conversations and texting to a minimum

Once they hit 6th grade we added them to our plan…so far so good

According to The Yankee Group {a research firm}, 54% of 8 to 12yrolds will have cell phones by 2010. And as of last year, about 60 percent of teenagers had cell phones.

I think we all agree there is a safety issue concerning kids tween to teen, making it worth getting them a cell phone. But what about the dangers associated with cell phones themselves? We recently sat thru a discussion sponsored by my local church about ‘Sexting’ in addition to other problems. Do I want to open my kid up to some of these issues? Here is a great article explaining some dangers associated with kids and cell phones. (FYI: They want to sell you parental control software..but I still appreciated the article. )

That brings me to companies who sell phones aimed at tweens and younger? Phones that have few keys, and parental controls built in, and limits on everything from incoming to outgoing, texts and all that… is one and there are others?

Here’s the bottom line for me. What do I want her to get out of having a phone? I think it’s a really great way to help her learn responsibility (both in limiting herself to calls we approve of, and taking care of the phone), and learn to adapt and adjust to these exact ‘scary’ things in this big world. I don’t want to scare her. I want to empower her with knowledge and understanding that these things don’t have to happen to her. That she can control it. And stay away from it.

Because honestly there are a lot more bigger, scarier things out there, High School is right around the corner, {I can barely imagine having a teenage driver}! I’d rather she practiced a little independence and responsibility now when the outcome (like her academics) aren’t going to count so much in her future.

What are your thoughts? Can a kid in Jr. High make it without a cell phone?

An additional resource I found interesting is this Texting Primer for parents from AT&T: Text2Connect with Teens

From A cell phone contract
Time limits, Phone Curfew, Minutes, Texting, Costs.

What features to look for when buying a phone for your Tween, from looks to Technology.

*note: See my twitter favorites folder for additional opinions on cell phone use for children.

Check out the comments, Jenn’s story about her daughter has just convinced me. The phone IS happening!