Friday, September 3, 2010

Kids and cell phones

Grade school kids with phones… who would’ve thunk it?

When I was a teenager, not only did I have bedroom ill-equiped withOUT a TV and a landline phone, but I also had to rent my parent’s car, buy insurance, and pay for my own gasoline if I wanted to drive after I obtained my license. We didn’t even have a cordless phone I could sneak into my room for those long delicious teenaged phone marathons! I got a job and was able to use the car and pay my portion. I also paid for my own home phone line (and answering machine!) in my bedroom – but this was as a result of getting permission to do so when I was a senior in high school. I got a pager and a TV for my own room when I was 19, and bought my first cell phone when I was 24. (I’m 38 now, so I wasn’t ahead of the technology curve at all.)

I appreciate what my mom was trying to do when I was growing up.  Well, now I do.  Was I annoyed back then?  Heck, yeah I was!  "Everybody else" had a TV in their room.  "Everybody else" had a phone line in their room or a cordless phone they could take to their rooms for privacy.  These days, "everybody else" will have a computer in their room.  But I think my mom felt a teenaged girl should have no expectation to privacy ... and in this day and age, I agree with her!  Kids these days have been taught through the media that "sexting," posting provacative pictures online, and engaging in completely inappropriate conversation is perfectly acceptable when you are 14.  And, if you are lucky enough to have a cell phone, you have your own little media outlet in which to get yourself into trouble.

My kids will not get a TV, private computer or laptop, cordless or phone line in their rooms any time soon (I have 4 kids between 2-4 yrs old now).  Well, maybe I will give in when they reach high school, providing they are responsible about it.  Who knows what the world will be like in 10 years?  They will certainly not have their own media-enabled cell phone until they are able to prove they need it.

But a basic cell phone? These days, especially if they are doing things after school, such as sports, etc., I definitely want my kids to have a cell phone to reach me in emergencies.  A GPS feature might be a good thing too. The technology is there… use it!  I will probably have a few basic “group” phones that the kids can grab if they go out somewhere, but that will return to the phone basket once they return. It will be used to call mom or dad and to communicate with us, not to chat with friends or spend the day texting.

But at what age is appropriate to start handing out cell phones along with brown bag lunches every morning? 10? 13? 16? Well, we might be different than you. One of my daughters has severe anaphylactic-reactions to food allergies and asthma. I don’t want to find out at the end of the day that she had to use her Epi-pen due to a bee sting during morning recess – I want to know NOW!

At what age will MY kids get a mobile communication device? I don’t know. I'm still grappling with that one. If my asthmatic daughter is going to have to carry her epi-pen and inhaler with her everywhere anyway, what’s the problem with adding a phone to it? I will most likely send her to kindergarten next year with a phone – maybe one of those phones with 3 programmable numbers (mom, dad, 911).

Wow… I never thought I’d even consider giving a cell phone it a 5-year old.  But it might save her life one day.

When do you think your kids will get their own mobile phone and why?

photo credit:


  1. I am here from MBC! You have a nice blog! I think cell ohones as an emergency measure is fine, but any more than that is dangerous. The radiation is bad enough for adults, let alone little ones. More and more studies are coming out shoowing this. Come visit my blog, Mama's Little Chick and say hi and follow if you would like. :) Also visit my blog network, Mama's Little Nestwork. It is a super group of bloggers!

    Mama Hen

  2. I got to say as a peron who works in the school system, I HATE that kids have cell phones. To me there is no need for it, while they are in school they have all the adult supervision neccessary, if there is any type of emergency, there are plenty of people to contact the parents, I know in my district there is an "all call" system in place in the event of a school or district wide emergency. It calls the parents at the given number, be it a home phone or cell phone and advises the parents of the situation. And as you stated for your daughter with health issues, if she needs to use her Epi-Pen for any allergic reaction you would be called immediately. Again this is something I have had experience with and with all the nut allergies these days, unfortuantely there have been instances where an Epi-pen has had to be used and the childs parents were notified immediatley as the Epi-Pen is only a temporary fix, the child usually needs more medical attention other than the Epi-Pen... I know for myself that I do not PLAN on giving my children cell phones until high school only because pay phones are not readily available as they were when I was a kid (I am 37) and want my children to be able to reach me as well. Now I say PLAN because with the rapid rate of technological advances, who knows, we may need "cell phones" for the kids as a school supply, something equivialnt to needing a pencil or notebook. My kids are only 15 months so school is a long way off, so we shall see.

  3. Thanks for the insight from one who is in the school. I guess those of us without school aged kids really have no clue about the current communications schools have in place now - especially since we were in school 20-30 years ago! I can imagine that the cell phones are abused in schools ... besides texting, cheating on exams by using internet/calculator, etc., but also by calling daddy when a teacher disciplines or by *threatening* to call a parent if things don't go their way. *sigh* What will we do?