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Cell phone for an almost teen...

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I never thought I would be saying this....but I'm considering getting my almost 13 year old daughter a cellphone. I always said she wouldn't have one until she was driving and/or dating, but I'm seriously thinking about it. She starts volleyball practice today - she missed the last week of open gym this summer - one friend is telling her practice is over at 5:00 and another is telling her 6:00. I sent her with my phone today, but I don't want her to have it every day. I'm just thinking it would be really convenient for her to have one to let me know about schedule changes, to call me when she's on her way home from away games so I know when to pick her up, etc. I'm a single mom, and with two other kids I don't want to be sitting around at the school for an hour if she's late, and I don't want her sitting around the school for an hour is she's early. Know what I mean?

TracFone (that's what I've had for almost a year and I've been very pleased with it) has a package right now - refurbished phone with 120 minutes and 60 days of service for $19.99 with free shipping. She'd also get 120 minutes if I send her a referral and I'd get 120 minutes on mine for referring her. Volleyball lasts until the end of October, so 60 days of service would cover it, and we could decide if we wanted to continue or just be done with it. She's very responsible, but if she did happen to lose it we'd only be out the $20 - not like a phone with a contract or something. Also, there is no service here at our house, so I know she wouldn't just be sitting around here using up minutes - she'd only be able to use it when she was out.

Sooooo - I'm leaning towards doing it. Any thoughts? Anything I haven't thought through? Would you roll your eyes at my kid and say "What on earth is her mother thinking giving her a cellphone at age twelve?!"
post #2 of 23
I think if your daughter is going to be away from you regularly, playing at away games, etc., it's a good idea. My 12-year olds don't have phones right now, but I am considering getting them one to share. As they start doing more activities away from us, it would be helpful. I would love to be able to drop them off at soccer practice and be able to run errands, then they can call me when it's over. I never know if it's going to run for one hour or two, and it gets frustrating having to wait in the triple-digit heat with the younger kids. We also can't get service at our house, so I'm not worried about the minutes, but I think we would have a rule that the phone would have to be put away while at home anyway. My daughters aren't to the "phone age" yet, so it wouldn't be a big deal right now for us anyway.

So, I'd say, go for it. That deal sounds really good!
post #3 of 23
We want one for our 11 year old so she can call if she's ever in an unsafe situation, her ride breaks down, etc. I think cell phones, used responsibly (i.e. don't drive and talk) are much more good then bad.
post #4 of 23
I think given the change in schedules as well as the deal that is offered I would go for it. It gives you a chance to see how much she really uses it and you benefit as well.
post #5 of 23
My daughter was given one last Christmas right before she turned 10. It was a gift from my mother that I had said no to because what 9 y/o needs a cell, right?! Well, Mom gave her the phone anyway and agreed to take care of all the prepaid needs, etc. That lasted one month (consistent with my mother, however, another story entirely) and I felt bad for her because she'd not done anything against the rules we set forth for her regarding the phone. I was able to use that phone though and hook it in with the service agreement my husband and I have for an additional $10 a month. Let me tell you, that is the best $10 I spend! It comes in handy for so many things that now I can't even remember why I was so dead set against her having it. So I figure if your child will go by the rules and plan you set up, go for it.
post #6 of 23
We got DS his own phone 2 years ago when he was 11. We have used it quite often, and I'm glad he has it. For instance, he would be at his friend's house, who's teen sister or mother was always on the landline, and when DS was ready to come home he would have to wait for the phone to free up.

Also, I feel better when he is away for the weekend with his bio-dad, who always has unreliable transportation :

He would call me when he was done with football or band practice.

He rarely calls friends on it, only if the landline is busy and he asks permission first. We as a family share minutes, and he knows this.

I think getting your daughter a cell phone is not crazy at all
post #7 of 23
DD got a cell for birthday/christmas. She wanted it and did a very good job convincing me of reasons she should get one. And as a pp said, it is the best money I've spent. For as long as they can stay within the rules you set, it can be a good thing. We use the cells for lame reasons sometimes- we live in a big house and it comes in handy to call rather than trekking up the steps for the umpteeth time! We just made sure to get a plan where all cells on the plan get free minutes to each other
post #8 of 23
I was TOTALLY against cells phones for teens until one saved my nephews life. He was 13 @ the time. He fell over 30 feet (yes, doing what he should not have been) and his friends had cell phones, THANK GOD. They saved him. They called 911 & were instructed to use CPR via the phone, and literely blew life into my nephew.
My perspective has changed & my DD recieved a cell phone @ 11.5 & my son will get one soon.
post #9 of 23
Televisions were supposed to bring families together - everybody sitting together watching the same program. In most homes however, individual members of the family watch programming and commercials directed at them and not other age groups. I've visited homes where teens walk around with cells attached to their heads more or less completely separate from the living beings around them. Have you been to an airport and noticed that nobody talks to anyone; they're all on cells. Cell phones are a convenience, like the remote used to communicate with the TV. It makes it easy, more remote, but not better. I think it tends to remove the need for close communication, planning and the use of one's wits. Taking and sending pictures on the cell means that now you do not have to be able to describe anything either.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
And how does this relate to my worries, as a single mother, of my child sitting alone because she is done with practice early and she has no way of letting me know? If you'll reread my post, you will see that the phone will not even work in my home, so the chances of her being able to "walk around with cells attached to their heads more or less completely separate from the living beings around them." is zero.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Soooo - here we are (I'm the OP) day one of school, day one of volleyball practice. I sent her with my cell today, and I'm glad she did, because she was able to call to tell me that she was done - half an hour earlier than expected! I ordered her a phone - $20 for 240 minutes and 60 days of service. I'm guessing it will be the best $20 I've ever spent! Thanks for all the advice!
post #12 of 23
I think a cell for a teen is a great idea. Particularly teens who are out and about.
post #13 of 23
I think cell phones are great tools for the age we live in. My DSS has had one since he was 12. He's 14 now and we've had no problems with him going over his minutes or anything like that.

I don't know anything about how much it costs, but I saw a commercial recently for Disney cell phone network. They have some really cool features, like you can divi up the minutes by person in the family, turn certain phones off for a designated period of time (like if someone loses phone privilidges), and you can even track where any of the phones are at any given time and it will show you on a map where your kid/phone is. It seems like it could be a useful network for a family.
post #14 of 23
My 14 dd is homeschooled and rarely not with me. If she needed a cell, I would absolutely get her one! I don't see what the big deal is when a child is in need ?! It's a *phone*, for goodnesssakes. What is so scarey about the need for a phone?
post #15 of 23
I read an article once by a college professor who felt that cell phones were seriously interfering with his students' ability to make commitments and plan ahead. He felt that schedules were much more influenced by other people ("well, I was about to go study, but M just called and she's going out instead...") and less thought-out (instead of planning in the morning to meet friends at the pizza place for lunch, they all called each other as they got out of class). Maybe not a big deal; maybe it is.

I, personally, think that kids should get their schedules straight in advance, and if there's a mistake or a change, have the resources to handle it. I see the utility in a cell phone; maybe when my son's older, we'll get one too (no one in our fmaily has one now, for philosophical reasons). But almost all of us got through our teen years without one, and without lasting harm. "Needs" just seem to esclate more and more....
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by srain
I read an article once by a college professor who felt that cell phones were seriously interfering with his students' ability to make commitments and plan ahead. He felt that schedules were much more influenced by other people ("well, I was about to go study, but M just called and she's going out instead...") and less thought-out (instead of planning in the morning to meet friends at the pizza place for lunch, they all called each other as they got out of class). Maybe not a big deal; maybe it is.

I, personally, think that kids should get their schedules straight in advance, and if there's a mistake or a change, have the resources to handle it. I see the utility in a cell phone; maybe when my son's older, we'll get one too (no one in our fmaily has one now, for philosophical reasons). But almost all of us got through our teen years without one, and without lasting harm. "Needs" just seem to esclate more and more....
Oh, well. A *college* professor must know whether pre teens need cells are not.
post #17 of 23
My parents got my brother one when he was 14. He was heavily involved in sports and when they would ride buses to away games, they would get back after dark at unpredictable times and the school was locked (so no pay phones avail). My parents got sick of having to sit in a car outside the school for an hour or so in the dark waiting for him to get in. They worried that he wouldn't be able to reach them somehow if things changed. They finally caved and got him a phone (and my parents are soooooo not pro-technology.... they just got internet about 2 years ago). I was surprised, but they have been very happy with the decision and so has my brother. Now he can call them and let them know when he is almost back to town and my parents can be waiting for him in the parking lot. Also, now he is 15, but most of his friends are 16 and driving, so now he has it if there is ever a car breakdown or an unsafe situation where he needs a ride. Living in such a rural area like they do, I would say it is just about a neccisity.

When I was in highschool, I got into a slight accident on a rural road, I had to walk to a strangers home and ask them to use the phone to call my parents. That scared my parents to death, that I had to go to a farm house in the dark of someone I didn't know in the middle of winter in MN. A cell phone would have been soooooooooo nice in that situation. Once my kids get to an age where they are doing more activities without me, I am sure I will get them phones so that they can always reach me. I don't think it is a bad idea at all.
post #18 of 23
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=340555

That's a pretty long thread about cell phones and teens, from about 6 months ago.

My 13 year old has had a cell for 3 years now, and I can't imagine it any other way. She's never once gone over our minutes, and it's great to be able to call when she's away form me and make plans. I don't really see a problem with plans changing - seems to me that flexibility is a trait to strive for, not something to be avoided.

When I was a teen, there were pay phones on every corner, but now they're few and far between... so it's not really fair to compare.

dar
post #19 of 23
My dd has had a phone since she was eleven. It's very useful and cheap to have the family on one plan. I don't allow too much media use at any rate, so she isn't allowed to use it nonstop. If she's texting her cousin too much, I tell her to stop. But we also consider her phone the "spare cell," so if it's needed for something else (a houseguest lost his phone, for instance), we commandeer it.

ITA about the lack of payphones now. And with area code issues I worry my dd would have a hard time just getting through to one of us quickly. Where I live now you sometimes dial your own area code, sometimes *don't* dial the next area code over, sometimes dial one, sometimes don't...you have to know what to do from what location or you try a hundred different permutations. Easier for everyone just to press "2" and know that means "Mom."
post #20 of 23
I personally don't see the reason to get a child a cell phone. So far my crew are rarely anywhere without us. They have sports commitments, but the rules where we are state we are not allowed to drop them off and leave them (my oldest is 11). An adult (they prefer a guardian) has to be present in case they need medical intervention (ie. ambulance).

I guess I haven't heard any compelling reasons (other than the accident one given above) to get a cell phone for any of my crew. Honestly, it seems like there are more and more preteens/teens who have them that I am sure someone else may have a phone. I am sure this will need to re-evaluated over the years.

I am glad there are reasons for other families.....we just have no good reasons for them here.
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