My 10-year-old daughter, who turns 11 this summer, has noticed that a lot of her friends have cell phones.
“Mommy,” she says. “I want a cell phone.”
I wish James and I didn’t have cell phones. Every time I hold mine up to my ear I think of Ted Kennedy who died of brain cancer. Every time I multitask—talking on the phone while exercising, which is something I love to do, for example—I think of how Thich Nhat Hahn and other Buddhists believe that we should be where we are in any given moment, mindful of what we are doing instead of distracted by other things.
Though I held out for many years and I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, I like my cell phone. I appreciate that I can reach my husband while he’s traveling. I like that I can catch up on phone calls and go for a bike ride at the same time. I feel safer knowing that my kids can reach me wherever I am by just dialing a ten-digit number.
I am deeply divided about cell phones, though. When my battery recharger was misplaced and I couldn’t use my phone for several days, I noticed that the quality of my life, and my focus, improved.
There is little doubt that cell phones are bad for your health.
As Alexandra Grabbe, who writes Chezsven, a blog about living on Cape Cod and running a Bed & Breakfast in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, mentions in her post today, the forward thinking city of San Francisco will require cell phone manufacturers to put warning labels on cell phones because the radiation emitted may be harmful to your health.
Despite the powerful lobbying groups trying to keep this information underground, we know that cell phone radiation is harmful and we know that cancer in the United States is on the rise.
We also know that texting and talking on the phone while driving is responsible for thousands of car crashes a year.
There are many reasons to worry specifically about children having cell phones, as this mom points out in an article from last year in the New York Times: the cost, for one thing; downloading inappropriate or even illegal material onto the phone from the Internet; playing video games on the cell phone; texting at night instead of sleeping.
Maybe it’s time for me to model better behavior for my children and turn off—or get rid of—my cell phone…