or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Wwyd?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
My SD's mom wants to get her a cell phone. Not a complex one--maybe one of those Fireflys that can call Mom, Dad, and a few other programmed numbers. This is sort of understandable (SD is now mobile with her bike, she'll go off by herself at the farmer's market, she'll be taking a school bus next year) but also sort of...I don't know, she's 7. My husband doesn't much care for this idea, but he hasn't outright vetoed anything.

It's not a major life activity requiring a joint custody decision...if her mom wanted to get her a prepaid cell phone, there wouldn't be much her dad could do about it...but, SD's mom just wants to add service to the family plan.

Why is this my business?

I am the account holder of the family plan. My husband's ex is on our family plan (saves all of us $, since she pays a third of the bill).

So...I'd have to be the one to actually approve and activate the line.

WWYD?
post #2 of 29
I would not get a cell phone for a 7 year old. I don't think she's likely to be able to use it responsibly at that age. My DD is 9 and I have considered getting her a cell phone for when she's at her dad's but I still think she's too young as well.

If you want your DD to have a little more independence in the neighborhood I would get a walkie talkie. We have a good set that has a range of about a mile. DD uses it if she walks the dog on her own or goes to a friend's house in the neighborhood. You could try that for a while and see if she can use it properly and appropriately before you invest in a cell phone for her.
post #3 of 29
Interesting. We just caught quite a bit of flack yesterday over this issue. DSS's mom heard from DSS (9) that we were planning to get him a cell phone. We aren't. We told her all we had in mind was a Firefly with only parent numbers and only for travel days if he ever flies to us unaccompanied (in case there was a travel issue, mechanical or weather problem, etc.) So anyway, just so you know -- she was highly opposed to the phone idea and was annoyed at DH about it until we clarified. We'd be opposed to him having a phone for general use at that age too, and your DSD is two years younger.

If it's just a Firefly, I can see it being useful, but if you and your DH don't want it, then you don't want it. I wouldn't add anything to my bill that I personally didn't approve of. How strongly opposed are you?

1) You could say no, unbundle your "family" plan and let her mom do as she pleases, and have DSD leave it at her mom's house when she's with you.

2) You could decide it's no big deal, and go along to get along.

Personally, I think kids need some independence and breathing room and they have too much phone contact with parents. Not sure there's much to do to stop it at this point. I see it with my college students all the time -- they still call their mothers every day -- sometimes multiple times per day, for the simplest decisions -- and it gets excessive and they never cut the apron strings.

So, your post asked what would I do?

I'd probably take option 1, but I don't think it's 100% obvious which way is better. Good luck!
post #4 of 29
I got one for my kids so that all phone calls via dad and kids happened on a phone separate from mine. Also when they have visitation they take the phone with them just in case they feel they need to call for any reason. The kids take it with them on sleepovers as well. I feel safer that way and the kids feel like they can call when they need to without having to bug others to use a phone. Granted i do have a restraining order with their dad so him not calling my personal phone is for a reason. And his visits are supervised so the kids having a phone is also for safety reasons. I keep the phone away from the kids unless it is phone visitation time or they are going on a sleepover. I didn't allow any text messaging on the plan and the only people that can be called are me, their dad and 911.
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
Personally, I think kids need some independence and breathing room and they have too much phone contact with parents. Not sure there's much to do to stop it at this point. I see it with my college students all the time -- they still call their mothers every day -- sometimes multiple times per day, for the simplest decisions -- and it gets excessive and they never cut the apron strings.
I have to say I see absolutely nothing wrong with calling your parent every day. I talk to my parents every day, and I am 27. We see each other on average once a week, and proud of it. In fact, DSD, DP and I just came back from playing Scrabble at my parents' house. :P

I think healthy family ties are the most important thing in this life (granted, I don't ask my mom for much advice, even though she offers it ). I do check in how she is doing, and I know it makes her happy to hear about little things that are going on over here. So, why not? I sure hope DSD never thinks twice about giving us a call when she grows up.

At the same time, I do think that a cell phone for a 7 y.o. is way too early. I appreciate the convenience, but it seems to be an unnecessary luxury. I'm all for encouraging kids to use the house phone though.

I think a cell phone is a good stepping stone for when a child enters middle school. But at 7?..
post #6 of 29
I have issues with my 15 yr old's cell phone. His dad has my 18yr old and 15yr old on his plan he pays the bill. Both boys have losts phones and both have broken phones.

I would not give a cell phone to a 7 yr old. Lost phones broken phones extra calls etc.

Realisticly where is she going to be that she needs to call you?
I would only do a prepaid phone for a child of that age.
post #7 of 29
DD1 has been asking for a cell phone for texting. She'll be 10 in January. We obviously can't control what biomom does, if she chooses to get her one, but I think we're all pretty much on the same page that a cell phone isn't needed until she's going home alone after school (neither house has a land line, we only use cell phones), attending activities at which we drop her off and leave, or going places with a group of friends (like the movies or mall to hang out). Even then, it will have a minimum number of minutes on it and very few texts.

I don't understand the need for a 7yo to have a cell phone at all, and I think I'd be having a conversation with her mom if you're expected to add the line to your plan.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I have to say I see absolutely nothing wrong with calling your parent every day. I talk to my parents every day, and I am 27. We see each other on average once a week, and proud of it. In fact, DSD, DP and I just came back from playing Scrabble at my parents' house. :P

I think healthy family ties are the most important thing in this life (granted, I don't ask my mom for much advice, even though she offers it ). I do check in how she is doing, and I know it makes her happy to hear about little things that are going on over here. So, why not? I sure hope DSD never thinks twice about giving us a call when she grows up.

At the same time, I do think that a cell phone for a 7 y.o. is way too early. I appreciate the convenience, but it seems to be an unnecessary luxury. I'm all for encouraging kids to use the house phone though.

I think a cell phone is a good stepping stone for when a child enters middle school. But at 7?..
Sorry, wasn't trying to offend. I actually agree with what you said, but was trying to describe something specific I've noticed with the students. It's not that they want to talk to their parents all the time, it's that they need to. The simplest decisions can't be made, and their parents treat them like babies and even call my office if their (adult!) children get a bad grade. I'm for doing whatever is useful to get them to be independent, functioning adults. And if those independent, functioning adults want to call their family every day, then great!

And 7 is so little that of course they need lots of supervision, but somehow a little break from contact to ride the bus to school or whatever seems good to me. I mean, she doesn't need it yet socially, so at 7 it's really a tool for the parents to have them in constant contact. That could be good or bad, depending on the situation and the kid.
post #9 of 29
Honestly it is up to you too. Especially because its your account too. I say 7 is pretty young. I just got my kids the firefly and they are 13,12,10 and I don't allow them to carry it all over the house, only when we go out.

I say if you dh is against it and you have the same feelings, its up to the both of you too.

Whatever you decide good luck!!!
post #10 of 29
I personally would say no but for a different reason than any above. In this monthes Prevention magazine there is an article about EMP's and radiation, and that cellphones could cause Brain Cancer. Russia has actually made it a law that children under 18 may NOT use cellphones, and actually cordless phones that have a base and separate stations are just as bad..

They do reccommend that if you are going to carry one to make sure and carry the numbers close to your body and the battery pack out so the EMP is not aimed straight at your body.
post #11 of 29
If you do get one, make sure they block any features you do not want her to have access to, and ask them to make a note on your account that you have done this (customer service can do this) so you don't end up with a surprise internet or text bill.

If it is for emergencies only, she doesn't need a plan. Any cell phone, whether it is hooked up or not, can call 911.
post #12 of 29
Assuming she is reliable about paying her portion of the bill and she would be responsible about paying any additional charges inurred by your step-daughter's phone usage, I guess I would probably leave it up to my husband to say yes or no. If I had a compelling reason against it, I would tell my husband about it, but then I would ultimately leave it up to him. I would also make sure my husband and I are on the same page about cell phone use while she is with us.
post #13 of 29
My kids have had a cell phone since they were 9 and 7 and the peace of mind and extra freedom they got made it all worth it. My older child has ruined a phone but my younger one has taken excellent care and is very responsible with his. I am so happy I broke down and got them a phone. I don't think your dh should be able to say no to the cell if the mom provides it and he is expected to do nothing for it but in this case the situation is more complicated. I would like to say that he might want to think carefully before he denies his dds mother the peace of mind she is looking for.
post #14 of 29
The way I see it is the mom could get her daughter a phone if she wanted to no matter what. Assuming she would do that with or without your dh's approval (which technically she has the right to do), it behooves you and your dh and your relationship with dsd's mom to go along with it. It sounds like it would cost everyone more money if mom moved to her own phone plan instead of sharing a family plan with you guys, and frankly saying "no" to mom in this case won't stop her, just strain your relationship with her. Is it really worth it over a phone that would only be used for dsd to call her own parents anyway.

I guess I'm not really against a child in this case having that type of a phone (where they can only call parents and 911), I mean if Dh and I ever got divorced I would want my children to feel they could call me at any time without worrying that they might hurt their dad's feelings and visa versa, the phone would be one way of ensuring that. Also if the child goes over to playdates where her parents no longer attend, I like the idea that they have a way of contacting the parents if they feel scared, or uncomfortable, but are too shy to ask to use the phone. For example when I was 4 or 5 I spent the night at a friends house and at one point we did something innocently naughty. The parents of my friend got very upset and took my friend into her room to spank her with a wooden spoon. I was very upset by this, but was too scared to ask to call my mom. Having my own phone would have made calling my mom much easier. Also when I was little and would stay with my dad I would miss my mother terribly, but didn't want to hurt my dad's feelings by asking to call her. So often I would just cry myself to sleep missing her. If I could have called her I would have felt much better, i think.
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input; there's a lot to think about.

My stepdaughter is permitted to call her mom whenever she wants (though we will sometimes say, "your mom is at work right now; would you like to leave her a message?" (mom is not allowed to take non-emergency calls at work...also, 3 a.m. tantrums notwithstanding, if you remember my previous thread) from here, so there's never been a problem with her not wanting to upset the other parent by asking. I do see where being able to call when she's elsewhere and lonely/scared and too shy or scared to ask for the phone would come in handy.

One big concern both my husband and I have is the phone itself. SD is not exactly responsible with her belongings, and the phone will get left on the bus or at a friend's house. SD doesn't carry a bag or backpack unless she's going to school (where she isn't permitted to have a cell phone--I checked that--so I'm wondering how this will even work with the bus next year), so carrying the phone will become an issue. (She's big on "I don't want to carry my toy/jacket anymore" when we're out, and frankly I don't want to carry her phone--and it defeats the purpose if we get separated.)

It also becomes yet another item we have to keep track of when transferring custody. If we do add it to the plan, we'll need to work out in advance with her mom what happens if the phone gets lost. (Do we keep replacing? If so, who pays? Even if we get the protection plan, there's a deductible.) What do those of you whose kids have cell phones do?

Thanks again.
post #16 of 29
Could you do a trial period with a disposable cell phone instead of adding something to your plan? (They are even cheaper than the pre-paid phone, like Virgin or Boost) Then you can make a more informed decision after you see how she handles it, and keeps track of it. It might become more clear that she needs a pre-paid instead a phone line on your family plan, or if adding an extra line would work better. Or if she loses it after a day, everyone might decide just to wait a while longer.
post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by montlake View Post
Could you do a trial period with a disposable cell phone instead of adding something to your plan? (They are even cheaper than the pre-paid phone, like Virgin or Boost) Then you can make a more informed decision after you see how she handles it, and keeps track of it. It might become more clear that she needs a pre-paid instead a phone line on your family plan, or if adding an extra line would work better. Or if she loses it after a day, everyone might decide just to wait a while longer.
Wow, that's a great idea. I'll float that to my husband tonight.
post #18 of 29
Not sure about seven...is she really alone a lot? I equate cell phone need with what was public phone need when I was growing up. If she's in situations where you would have used a pay phone as a kid, get her a cell phone. If not, not. Pay phones don't really exist any more.
post #19 of 29
I just got my dd a phone and she's 11. She is not great about keeping track of her stuff either, so I just got a cheap phone off of craigslist. I got two for $15. If she loses it, not a big deal. But she's 11, I wouldn't have given her even a $15 phone when she was seven. It really depends on the kid- I don't think of it as inappropriate for a kid to have a cel phone if there's a need.
post #20 of 29
If she is going to be out and about by herself, then it makes sense that she's able to call someone if she needs help.

But I don't know why the onus would be on you to provide for it... I can't imagine asking my ex's wife (if he had one) to sign our daughter up for a plan. Especially my seven-year-old.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home