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No cell phones at the party, please

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 
My dd is having her birthday slumber party right now. Usually these things go smoothly, and it is, for the most part.

My problem with it all--one of the girls has a cell phone (they are all 11-12, in 6th grade). And she brought it. And she and a couple of the girls have been on it almost non-stop. It's driving me crazy.

At some point I am going to have to tell them no more phone calls will be made from this house, no matter whose phone it is.

Next year, is it kosher to tell the parents "Please have the kids leave their cell phones at home; if they need to make a phone call, they can use our phone."?
post #2 of 71
I wouldnt' ask them not to bring their cell phone but I would ask the parents to talk about manners. I would also have them hang their phone at the door.
post #3 of 71
Sigh. I'd be scared to make a "no cell phones" request of some of my DDs parents. My DD and most of her friends have phones, but a couple of the parents are really weird about them. I guess I wouldn't do it, but my relationship with DD's friends is such that I could probably just tell them to put the phones away, and they would. I guess I'm saying that I don't think it's an unreasonable request, but that there are plenty of parents who would be highly offended by it.
post #4 of 71
To be perfectly honest, my daughter would not be allowed to go anywhere she couldn't take her phone. Her phone is my lifeline to her. If something is wrong, someone is making her uncomfortable, etc. I can know about it immediately and be there to get her. You know what I mean? I *could* understand not letting the children be on the phone all night, and asking them to put it away. That seems reasonable to me.
post #5 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by TattooedMommy View Post
To be perfectly honest, my daughter would not be allowed to go anywhere she couldn't take her phone. Her phone is my lifeline to her. If something is wrong, someone is making her uncomfortable, etc. I can know about it immediately and be there to get her. You know what I mean? I *could* understand not letting the children be on the phone all night, and asking them to put it away. That seems reasonable to me.
:
post #6 of 71
I would be sort of freaked out by a request like that. Our son has a cell-phone for safety reasons. Unless I knew you very well, and knew your reasoning, I would feel suspicious about any expectation that might limit his ability to contact me in an emergency.

Honestly, in your situation -- I would walk into the room and cheerfully say, "Its much too late to be on the phone right now, unless you need to call your mom or dad. Please put the phone away and find something else to entertain yourselves with. "
post #7 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by TattooedMommy View Post
To be perfectly honest, my daughter would not be allowed to go anywhere she couldn't take her phone. Her phone is my lifeline to her. If something is wrong, someone is making her uncomfortable, etc. I can know about it immediately and be there to get her. You know what I mean? I *could* understand not letting the children be on the phone all night, and asking them to put it away. That seems reasonable to me.
:

Last night my daughter was at a school sanctioned "overnighter." Somewhere around midnight something she said was taken out of context and all her "friends" got mad at her. (Her best friend was unable to go.) After crying in the bathroom for a couple hours she finally called me and asked me to come get her.

Now if this has been a "slumber party" at someones house, I know my DD would have been uncomfortable asking the parent to use their phone to call home. She would have suffered until the next morning, possibly escalating the situation because she was unable to remove herself from it.

And for the record, my DD got her call phone when she was 11 and in the 6th grade. Many of her friends did not have home phones and I was never able to get a hold of her when she was at their homes. I will probably get my eight year old one as well when she gets a bit older.
post #8 of 71
I think you should just tell them to leave the phones with their things next time asking them not to bring them at all would seem a bit weird.
post #9 of 71
I would just tell the girls that they should put their phones away now if you feel the phone use is getting excessive. Remind them that they're at a party and supposed to be interacting with each other, not with random friends on the other end of the line. It's fine to call home or answer if mom or dad (or an older sibling or a grandparent) calls, but keep it short.
post #10 of 71
That just wouldn't work for me and my kids at all. For the most part if they can't bring the phone they'd probably just pass on the event altogether.

Why is the phone useage bothering you?
post #11 of 71
Thread Starter 
Wow, I'm surprised that so many people feel that a cell phone is a necessary accessory for a pre-teen. Good to know. The reason I thought of asking them not to bring it is because I thought that would be more acceptable than asking the kids to leave them on the counter (in effect, confiscating them).

The reason I felt they were inappropriate is that I didn't like how they were using them; calling a girl who wasn't invited to the party (granted, she kept calling back, and seemed to not be upset about it, but still, I think it's inconsiderate), prank calling a boy down the street; tossing the phone back and forth across the creek (it hit the ground a couple of times, but never got wet or in the mud, so I guess it's okay), and simply talking on the phone when they could have been playing. I suppose the scene at the creek was the best visual metaphore for pre-teens; half the girls knee-deep in the creek, catching tadpoles and frogs, and a couple of the girls on their phones up on the bank, talking to a boy from school who they, of course, don't like, but still want to call and tell him every detail. At one point I asked them to just tell him to come over if they wanted to talk to him (he lives two blocks away, he comes over to play sometimes, he's a cool fellow) but that elicited a couple of squeals to the contrary.

I figured the authority I have to ask to not bring cells phones is the same authority I exert over all electronic media in my own home--video games, tv, computer, etc. I don't want them bringing their laptop or their x-box, either, and I would feel well within my rights to ask people not to send these over with their kids. With all but one of these girls at the party, these are kids I've know for 8 years or more (and they are all 11-12 years old).

Well, thanks for the opinions. It's good to hear from people for whom a cell phone is more important. I would have never guessed that parents feel that a cell phone is that important for their kids, and a requirement to be able to attend an event, even a sleep-over at a friend's house. Good to know. This party definitely reinforced to my husband and I that our kids aren't getting a cell phone for several more years unless they buy it and cover the costs themselves, though.
post #12 of 71
Isn't talking on the phone a huge part of being that age? I know that's around the time I and my friends wanted to be in constant contact to rehash every minute of the day...and this was long before cell phones. Coming home from school was a mad dash to get to the phone to talk to people I'd spent the day with. If not for the invention of the cordless, I'd've paced the same few square feet in my room all day.

I mean this in the nicest way possible, if that's how they want to spend their time and they are enjoying themselves (and it sounds like they're even getting around outside), does it really matter? If they were calling a girl who wasn't invited and teasing her, then I'd put a stop to that. Or if your DD felt no one was really paying attention to her party because they were all so wrapped up in the phone, I'd consider that rude and try to guide them in a different direction. But if they're all just chatting and her feelings aren't hurt, and everyone is having a good time...I just can't see the problem.
post #13 of 71
There is a camp next weekend my dd's are going to. She's 8, but it is for kids in Sparks, Brownies, Guides & Pathfinders so ages 6-15/16. No cel phones are allowed(same with ipods & any gaming thing). The cel phones are not allowed for the girls because they do not want the girls texting & being on the phone instead of participating like they should be or being on it all night(it's a 2 night camp).

I don't see a need for cel phones at a sleepover. I'd have the parents number if I needed to get in touch with them and my kids are comfortable enough in any situation to ask to use the house phone to call home if necessary. There's nothing wrong with kids using a house phone for what they were doing(other than throwing it across the creek).

I'd be more concerned about the cel phone if it had video/picture ability and what they were doing with that part of it behind closed doors.
post #14 of 71
I think it says a lot in this day and age, that a child (and these young ones are children) would choose their cell phones over their friends. OP - I completely see your point. As long as you have a home phone and the girls are welcome to use it to call their parents if there is a problem, they should shut off their phones or leave them in their bag. When did cell phones become more important than real people??

Of course, I am a little old fashioned - I wouldn't/didn't give my children a cell phone until they were driving or going somewhere that there were no phones. Up until then, they were always someplace I knew the parents/school officials and had access to a phone. I can't imagine an 8/10 year old needing a phone. But that is just me.......
post #15 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by primjillie View Post
Of course, I am a little old fashioned - I wouldn't/didn't give my children a cell phone until they were driving or going somewhere that there were no phones. Up until then, they were always someplace I knew the parents/school officials and had access to a phone. I can't imagine an 8/10 year old needing a phone. But that is just me.......
The kids in the op are 12. Honestly I don't see what the problem is. These kids could very well be on the house phone making all these phone calls. How is this really different than the kids who had their own phones in their bed rooms when you and I were kids? I had a "house" phone in my room at that age, and a couple of my friends had their own phone numbers. I am not really seeing the problem in how they are using it.

Why would a 12 year old need their own phone? So they can go to the library and you can call them when it is time to come home. So when they take an hour to walk home from said library which is about a 20 minute walk, you can call to make sure they are OK instead of worrying that they aren't. So when they stay the night at their friends you can call them to find out what time they plan to be home when the parents don't have a house phone and only use cell phones. (Which is the norm around here.) So they can just go "out" with their friends and you can still be in contact with them to find out what is going on. There are a million reasons why a 12 year old would need a cell phone.

My daughter does have some rules with the phone. She is not to use it to chit chat with friends except on weekends or after seven. Otherwise she needs to use the house phone to talk to her friends. No text messaging ever! (Of course now that they have unlimited plans I might consider a plan for her birthday.) She has had the phone for 2.5 years and followed the rules. She did tell me the other night she text messaged her best friend when all the drama happened at the overnighter. She offered me 20 cents for the text message. Of course since it was one message, and she told me about it, I am not going to punish her. She was trying to get a hold of a friend in a stressful and trying situation. Unfortunatly, for her, her friend was at home asleep at 1am.

In this day and age I believe cell phones are an important tool to help keep our children safe. It also allows them a bit more freedom as I might let her stay out later or go further because I know I can call her to find out when she will be home and where she is.
post #16 of 71
Original poster: I completely agree with your sentiments that requesting no cell phones brought to a sleep-over at your house is exactly the same as asking kids to refrain from bringing other electronic gadgets with them.

I'm not slamming others, especially because I feel pretty darn attached to my own kids and miss them terribly/worry about them when they are gone. But I think that sometimes we parents are using cell phones and similar aids as a further means to feel that we are in control of the situations our kids are in, or to foster a sense that we can "save them" from life if we have the ability to connect with them by phone at any given second.

One poster mentioned a daughter crying in a bathroom after being teased. Yes, mean and sad. Nope, wouldn't WANT it to be happening to my daughter. YEP: situations like this are a normal part of life/humanity/growing up.

While someone else mentioned that intense phone-use is typical of this age-group, that tendency doesn't mean that attempts to teach balance should be thrown to the wind. Presumably, the reason the kids have attended the sleep-over is to do things TOGETHER. Most of us are addicted to technology and gadgetry of various kinds. Expecting pre-teens to take their phones with them, yet leave those oh-so-tempting phones in their backpacks seems unreasonable.

A cell phone is not a silver bullet and I'm really surprised by how many parents responded that a phone is an essential SAFETY item for her/his child to leave the house with. Given the proliferation of cell phones these days, it's extremely likely that if your child were in trouble somewhere, a phone (ie. someone else's) would be immediately handy. But I think it's even more likely that if something truly awful was happening (ie. sexual/physical abuse, kidnapping, etc) that the presence of a cell phone would be of little benefit.

The big question lurking in my mind is for those parents who responded that if asked to keep the child's cell phone at home for a sleep-over, said child would not attend sleep-over: If you are so suspicious of the parents of your child's friends, why would you allow your child to attend that home without you (yet with a cell phone)? I just don't see that taking along a little phone makes a situation that was previously deemed strange and unsafe suddenly comfortable and OK.

And on another tangent: Kids aren't exactly the most conscientious group I've ever met. They lose/forget/misplace things CONSTANTLY. If a cell phone is essential to a kid's personal safety, I think we're hanging by a fraying thread.

. . . This is starting to remind me a lot of that quote about the possessions we own, owning us. . .
post #17 of 71
That is fine if it works for you. It doesn't work for me. I always (hopefully!) knew where my 12 year old was, they were always where a phone was available or a responsible adult was within helping distance. If there was a time where they needed a phone, I would just lend them mine. I can't remember a time where a cell phone would have made a difference. I think when they are at parties, they should be socializing, watching movies, doing make up, etc., not talking on their phones to other people. I think that is rude to the hostess. I honestly cringe when I see kids with their phones glued to their ears round the clock and can't seem to exist without them. People did have a life before cell phones, but I think they have forgotten how to now.
post #18 of 71
I guess I'm unpopular, because I would say on the invite that the girl can either leave the cell phone at home or I will confiscate it at the door with my home phone number on the invitation. The parents can call my house if they want to reach a child, and the child can use my phone. Honestly, since when did our daughters become such sensitive flowers that they can't ask an adult to use the phone? We had sleepovers in the seventies and eighties, believe it or not, without cell phones. I left one when I was 16 -- it was a high school sorority hazing and I got bored/uncomfortable -- and I used the phone to call my parents and I did not die. I'm sure the cell phones can cause more drama and hurt feelings than they help. I would also say that you can't use the house phone after 9pm. I am trying to picture a parent from my childhood knowingly allowing a child of 12 to call friends after 9pm ... nope, I can't see it.
post #19 of 71
My 10 yo. has a phone because he gets home from school 10 minutes before I get home from work, and he walks from the bus stop. If he finds himself locked out, if he is harassed by neighborhood kids, if something happens to the bus -- I want him to be able to call me.

He also goes on long bike rides by himself. I don't feel right about limiting his distance too much because he is a little bit overweight, and bicycling is one of the few physical activities he is interested in doing. Having the phone makes me feel safer about giving him some freedom and a decent workout.

I don't mind the expectation that he leave his phone home when he goes to camp. The camp is licensed, we know the staff, and we know he is supervised all the time. If he were invited to the sleepover of a close friend, and I understood the reasoning, then I would honor the request that he leave his phone at home. However, if he received a random invitation from someone I didn't know well, and there was a specific request that he leave his cell phone at home -- I would feel concerned to say the least. My first thought would be to wonder why this parent would want to limit my kid's access to me.
post #20 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaduck View Post
My first thought would be to wonder why this parent would want to limit my kid's access to me.
I think you are overreaching; the parent is not asking you to turn off YOUR cell phone during the party.
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