So here is a little situation we are in these days.
When do you get your kid a cell phone?
To be honest, for a long time, my response to this question was “never”. I just really didn’t see the need for it. My thought is slightly changing though as my Oldest continues to get older. A few weekends ago, we were at a basketball tournament in LA and I had to head out for an event, leaving my Oldest with another family. Being that we were not very close to home and that he would be hanging out in a gym for a couple hours, driving home and arriving while we were out, it was the first time I thought to myself “it would be nice if he had a cell phone so that he could check in with me on how the game went, that he was heading home and that he arrived safely”.
So it got me thinking, is he getting to an age where we, the parents, will not always be around, should we provide him a phone so that we can connect with him in those circumstances?
If it was just for the phone, I would probably be much more willing. Here is the problem I am seeing with this.
I have a MAJOR problem with seeing kids on cell phones. It drives me insane. I am not talking about communicating on their cell phone through a phone call. I am talking about the silent obsession of sitting on their phone playing games, texting, and looking on the internet. Who knows what they are doing but they are disengaged. It is my biggest pet peeve. I cannot handle when I have kids in the car and instead of doing all the things that kids do like chatting and laughing, they are sitting silent because they are too busy looking down at their phone. Do parents do the same thing sometimes? Absolutely. But we have learned the art of communication thanks to not having any of this when we were kids so we understand the balance. Unfortunately young children do not which has created a generation of kids who do not have the confidence they should when communicating with others and use technology to do the communicating for them. And then I could open a whole can of worms when it comes to social media, videos, photos and online bullying. Don’t even get me started on that entire mess. There in lies my problem with the whole cell phone thing and why I am so hesitate to take that step forward.
What I am finding though is that the husband and I are quickly becoming the minority when it comes to kids having phones. Entering 5th grade I drastically saw a jump in the number of kids who have phones. Most of my Oldest’s friends have phones. So am I being a prude when it comes to providing this kind of technology? Perhaps. I get that it is going to happen one day. But when? That is my biggest question.
I understand that this is really one of those “to each their own” situations. I am in no way judging parents who have given their children phones. I am truly unsure as to where I stand at the moment. Believe me, if we did get him a phone there would be so many rules around using it that I am sure he would not find it fun at all to have. And yes, I completely understand that this is hypocritical as I have made a business off of social media and technology and spent countless hours texting. I get this. Just another area of parenting that I am slowly entering and I would love to hear what you have to say! Please share what you have done with regards to this. This newbie is listening!