Cell Phones for Tweens: A Privilege, Not a Luxury
When did your kids get cell phones? This mom gives you her thoughts on the issue.
At what age do you think kids should have cell phones? It's a tough call. I don't get why a 6 year old needs a phone or even a 10 year old but I think it really depends on the child, how responsible they are and what the purpose of the phone is.
We’re on the brink of equipping our twin tweens with cell phones. I’m cautious but relieved that they will be able to reach me if they need to. As they get older and head toward their teenage years, there will be more events and activities they attend without me so having a cell for emergencies makes sense.
My husband and I have thought and fought about when we should add them to our plan. We are actually behind the times because most of their friends already have phones. If we could have held out a little longer, we would have but it is time. They are at an age where independence is necessary. When we were their age, there were pay phones everywhere so we could call for a ride when needed. Now, if you are lucky enough to find a pay phone, it most likely won’t work so cell phones are somewhat of a necessary evil.
We have made it clear to them that their phones will serve a purpose and will be an earned privilege, not a luxury. There are too many ways to get in trouble with a cell phone so they (and we) must be prepared.
Texting will not be a hobby for them. I understand it's the way to be social in 2012 but I want my kids to also be able to interact face to face with others so texting will be limited and monitored.
There will also be rules about cell phone use during school. I will not defend my child if they pull a cell phone out during class. Nothing is that important that it can’t wait until the bell rings at the end of the day. Patience is something all young people struggle with today. It's not really their fault, everything is instant in their world. They don't have to work or wait for anything. Learning to wait gracefully is a lost art. Sadly, many adults have issues with this as well.
I worked in the high school for a short time and it boggled my mind how many parents couldn't wait until the school day was over and texted their kids during school hours. I often wondered if parents didn't know their kids would get in trouble if they were caught texting or even checking their texts.
I have a funny story to share with you that demonstrates how crazy parent/child cell phone use is in schools. This interaction made me scratch my head in wonder. A parent came into the school office with a mug of hot coffee for her teenage daughter. She said her daughter texted that she forgot to drink her coffee in the morning and wouldn’t make it through the day if her mom didn’t bring it to school for her. The secretary says, “I’m sorry but she can’t carry her coffee around the halls with her and they’re not allowed to drink it in class.”
It’s school, not Starbucks!
The parent says, “Oh, well she texted me and said she needed her coffee to get through the day, so I brought it right over.” The secretary responded saying, “You know she’s not allowed to text in school, right?” The mom laughed and said, ”Yes, I know but she does.”
I was flabbergasted by the entire exchange—the texting, the coffee delivery and the lack of concern regarding rules. So, needless to say, my kids will be in extreme trouble if they text me from school, especially if they ask and expect me to bring them coffee!
A little phone packs a big punch if used inappropriately. A cell phone in a child's hands can be a disaster waiting to happen or a way for a responsible child to show how grown up they can be.
When will your kids get phones?
— Janet Tumelty writes for Cinnaminson, NJ Patch.