Preteen - is a cell phone a neccesity? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm starting to feel like a a cell phone is a necessity for my 11-year-old daughter. I drop her off at day camps and other activities and I want her to be able to reach me if she needs me. I don't think an iPhone is a necessity, but just a plain old cheap phone so she can reach me. There aren't pay phones all over like there were when I was her age.

What are your feelings about cell phones for preteens?
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#2 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 10:21 AM
 
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My 10 year old has a phone. We felt it was a necessity. There were three or four instances where my husband and I were calling all over the place to locate our son after some sort of mix up or another. Our schools bus company is a nightmare. It is so much easier just to call him or he call us if there is a mix up instead of all of us trying to figure out how to get in touch.

 

Our son is also starting to be allowed to stay home for brief periods of time while I run an errand or something and we don't have a home phone just cell phones.

 

Just a few years ago I was one of those parents who sighed and tsked when they saw preteens with cell phones and couldn't imagine why that would be necessary. Now my own son has one.

 

Now if only I could get him to remember to carry it with him when he's supposed to.


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#3 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 10:29 AM
 
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I got my kids phones when I needed them to have them. That was about 9 for us. My kids do a ton of theatre.... the youth theatre keeps on a predetermined schedule but the professional and community theatre's will let the kids off at random times. I wanted the freedom to go take a walk or run an errand while they were doing their thing instead of having to just wait for hours and hours on a daily basis. I didn't want my kids bugging the adults for a phone and there were rarely any public phones. My kids having phones gave ME freedom lol.

 

I know DD started with a pay-as-you-go phone but it was really not cheaper than adding a line to our plan. She didn't get a smart phone until 11th grade and she pays for her data plan. My DS 12 has a bare bones texting phone... no data and he won't get a data plan until high school.

 

Obviously, you put your restrictions down and re-evaluate rules at different stages but honestly, my kids having phones has been very helpful to me and saved us a lot of waiting and pointless run-around.

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#4 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 11:21 AM
 
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Ya...I was an eye-roller until recently; now I'm looking at phones for dd's 12th. Bday. She'll be going more places on her own very soon and I'm getting tired of dh insisting she take my phone on solo trips to the store,etc.
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#5 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 12:10 PM
 
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I suspect our kids will have phones as pre-teens.  We don't have a land line at our house, so if they're old enough to stay home alone, I want a cell in the house in case of emergency.  And once they're old enough to take the bus on their own, they absolutely need phones.

 

I agree, too, that it doesn't have to be an iPhone.  I just need them to have something that makes calls.

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#6 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds like you're all dealing with the same issues I'm dealing with and coming to the same conclusion I've come to. There must be something to it. smile.gif
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#7 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 02:05 PM
 
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Are her day camps and other activities supervised by adults?  If so, most of them will have cell phones and/or access to a land line, so if she needs to call you she will be able to do so.

 

I have never owned a cell phone.  The last time I borrowed one for a solo road trip, I found that every single time I used it was unnecessary and could easily have been avoided.  (Read the whole story on my blog if you are interested.)  The only situation in which I can imagine it being truly useful is in an emergency where there are no other people around and no land lines.  My child will be significantly older before he's going anyplace like that all alone.  In our everyday lives in the city, I've consistently found it easy to get access to a phone if I really need one.  Compared to 20 years ago, businesses are more likely to let you use their phone for a local call, probably because it's rare for anyone to ask them now that the majority carry cell phones.  Random passersby often will let you borrow a cell phone for a moment.  Pay phones certainly are scarcer than they used to be, but they do still exist.  And on top of all that, many of the situations in which people make phone calls these days can be handled without the phone call if you plan ahead and are patient.

 

Last school year (2nd grade) my partner gradually reduced the number of days when he walked to the school to meet our son, wait for him to finish playing, and walk home together.  EnviroKid is now allowed to play for up to an hour and then walk home.  We got him a wristwatch so he'd know when time's up.  Well, he often forgets to wear his watch, and I think the only reason he hasn't lost it is that (when he does wear it) it's attached to him.  I don't think he is ready to keep track of a phone, remember to charge it, and keep it dry.  However, he's shown that he IS ready for the responsibility of coming home on time: If he forgot his watch, he asks others with watches or phones what time it is.  He has occasionally borrowed a phone to call his dad to ask permission to go to a friend's house.  He has never failed to come home on time or earlier.  We've never felt that we needed to be able to call him during that hour.

 

Think about when you were 11 years old.  Did you really use pay phones a whole lot?  How did you and your parents communicate, and how did you work around the fact that you weren't able to be in constant contact?  The same strategies will work now.

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#8 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 02:50 PM
 
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EnviroBecca, when I was 11, I lived in the suburbs, my parents paid for a full-time nanny, and sometimes my dad got stuck in traffic, stranding me at ballet school after they theoretically closed. Some of the teachers would hang out and wait with me, but sometimes I wound up sitting on the steps, freezing my butt off.

If my neighbors saw an unescorted 7 yo at the park, they'd call the cops. So would I.

My house is a place where my kids, as preteens, might conceivably be alone with no land line.

I won't lend my cell phone if approached on the street. Around here, that's how cell phones get stolen. A lot of businesses that are sympathetic to the grown-up white lady who needs to make a call are openly hostile to teens and pre-teens. If my kid is old enough to take the bus alone, on this public transit system that breaks down on me as often as it does, they need a phone.

I'll put it in a waterproof otter box. I'll plug it in at night and make sure it's charged. I'll clip it to their backpacks. It'll be cheap, because I expect to have to replace it. I never want my kids to be at the mercy of strangers because a bus broke down.
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#9 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 02:57 PM
 
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Are her day camps and other activities supervised by adults?  If so, most of them will have cell phones and/or access to a land line, so if she needs to call you she will be able to do so.

First time I wished my son had a cell phone - my husband had to unexpectedly go out of town for a family emergency so we asked a friend to pick son up at bus stop on Monday. On Friday we get a notice that the bus drop off time had changed from 2:55 to 3:20. Babysitter was there at 3:00 to wait for my son. Unknown to any of us the bus had dropped him off at 2:55. He went home. Waited for a while to see if anyone would show up then went to a neighbors to ask them to call his parents. He did the right thing and it all worked out. We take responsibility for son not getting informed of the change in plans, though we did try getting a message to him at school and the message was never delivered. However, we had 1/2 hour to 45 minutes of unnecessary worry while we called everywhere looking for him.

 

Between the first time and the last time - numerous late buses due to substitute drivers, stuck in snow drift, or other issues where he ended up not being where he was expected when he was expected. For some reason there aren't phone calls made to parents even when the bus is running significantly (30-45minutes) late. And a few simple youth mistakes such as forgetting he had a meeting after school and riding the bus home. One morning my daughters bus simply never showed up to pick up kids, many of whose parents were already gone for work (she doesn't have a phone yet, but she also doesn't ride the bus home, and I wait at the stop with her in the morning).

 

Final straw - Son's bus stop was changed for drop off to an unacceptable stop across the busiest street in town from his sitters house. I told him to get off at his regular stop after confirming that the regular stop was still on the route, just was no longer the one he was scheduled for. Tried to get things straightened out and was unable to reach the person who I needed to speak to to get his stop corrected. When they got to his new stop the bus driver insisted he had to get off on that stop even after he explained that his mother and sitter were expecting him at the other stop. He thought he knew the way to the sitter from the new stop so started walking. Unfortunately, the wrong direction. He was missing for over an hour with his sitter, my husband, and his school principle driving around looking for him. I was stuck at working calling anywhere I could think of. He eventually realized his mistake, 15-20 blocks down) turned around and made it back to where he was dropped where he found those looking for him getting ready to call the police. Yes the principle yelled loud and long at the bus company for their screw up. He made an understandable mistake, and did the right thing once he realized. However, a cell phone would have allowed him to call the sitter from the random street corner the bus driver dropped him off at and there would never have been an issue.

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#10 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 03:43 PM
 
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Ds2 is 11yo now and wants a phone. I won't allow one full time, but I am thinking of activating an old $10 tracfone so that he can ride his bike the half mile down quiet streets to his dad's. It'll also come in handy when we visit NYC, just in case we somehow got separated. But it will live in my sock drawer with the power off and he will only have it when he truly needs it. My kids are tech addicts and the last thing he needs is one more device to play with.
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#11 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 05:39 PM
 
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"The same strategies will work now" Sure they work but that doesn't mean it works better. When I was 11, my parents spent hours and hours waiting around for me. I was limited on what activities I could do because of that. We didn't live in walking distance to anything and so I needed to be driven places. I carried tremendous guilt about rehearsals running late and being unable to tell them in time to stay home. My parents continually tell me how lucky I am to have kids in the days of cell phones lol. Like all things, there are positives and negatives. If going phoneless works for you that's great! For me personally, the family on phones gives us all more freedom and further aides in our communication. I sort of love getting a text between classes from my 16-year-old saying "don't let me forget, I have the funniest story from you." I like that my 12-year-old sends me funny pictures when he's out with his friends. I love that my own parents send me pictures from all their adventures. I love that my husband randomly texts that he misses me and can't wait to see me. It's a nicety for our family. I think relying on other people having cell phones is a little problematic. It tends to frustrate others. Not everyone has unlimited minutes or texts. In the end, others are paying for your preference of going phoneless. Just something to consider.

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#12 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 05:52 PM
 
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My soon to be 13 yr old has a safelink phone. Its just a basic calling phone.  He walks to swim club, he is home all day while I go to work, He does homeschool.  He will be able to walk to the corner market and such this year.  Like a PP poster said, I DO NOT want my child at the mercy of some stranger for a phone or help.  I want him to be able to call if he needs to.  DS had the phone for the past couple years, never goes over on minutes and its not a problem.  I have a gadget phone which is our 'main' phone.


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#13 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 05:54 PM
 
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For us it was. He's had a phone since he was 11.

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#14 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 05:56 PM
 
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Are her day camps and other activities supervised by adults?  If so, most of them will have cell phones and/or access to a land line, so if she needs to call you she will be able to do so.

 

I have never owned a cell phone.  The last time I borrowed one for a solo road trip, I found that every single time I used it was unnecessary and could easily have been avoided.  (Read the whole story on my blog if you are interested.)  The only situation in which I can imagine it being truly useful is in an emergency where there are no other people around and no land lines.  My child will be significantly older before he's going anyplace like that all alone.  In our everyday lives in the city, I've consistently found it easy to get access to a phone if I really need one.  Compared to 20 years ago, businesses are more likely to let you use their phone for a local call, probably because it's rare for anyone to ask them now that the majority carry cell phones.  Random passersby often will let you borrow a cell phone for a moment.  Pay phones certainly are scarcer than they used to be, but they do still exist.  And on top of all that, many of the situations in which people make phone calls these days can be handled without the phone call if you plan ahead and are patient.

 

Last school year (2nd grade) my partner gradually reduced the number of days when he walked to the school to meet our son, wait for him to finish playing, and walk home together.  EnviroKid is now allowed to play for up to an hour and then walk home.  We got him a wristwatch so he'd know when time's up.  Well, he often forgets to wear his watch, and I think the only reason he hasn't lost it is that (when he does wear it) it's attached to him.  I don't think he is ready to keep track of a phone, remember to charge it, and keep it dry.  However, he's shown that he IS ready for the responsibility of coming home on time: If he forgot his watch, he asks others with watches or phones what time it is.  He has occasionally borrowed a phone to call his dad to ask permission to go to a friend's house.  He has never failed to come home on time or earlier.  We've never felt that we needed to be able to call him during that hour.

 

Think about when you were 11 years old.  Did you really use pay phones a whole lot?  How did you and your parents communicate, and how did you work around the fact that you weren't able to be in constant contact?  The same strategies will work now.

 

Many of the strategies here involve relying on strangers to provide assistance.  I'd rather buy a $15 Tracfone and $10 of minutes every three months than to make my daughter dependent on others' goodwill.  I also don't want her approaching strangers and announcing that she's alone with no way to call for help.


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#15 of 110 Old 07-30-2013, 09:00 PM
 
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My son was 11 when he got his first phone and that was only because he was going to start getting home from school on his own.  He would be taking a public bus and getting home when I was still at work and would be home alone for an hour. If he missed the bus or was otherwise running late, there are no public phones in the downtown area where he caught the bus. I would be expecting a call from him within a certain time frame to let me know he made it home.  I certainly did not want him relying on strangers to borrow a phone. And businesses aren't all that thrilled to let people use their phones, especially tweens.  This was also around the same time when I felt I didn't need to stay and wait around during all of his sports practices and other activities, especially since it also meant his little sister hanging around with me.  With the phone, he could let me know if practices were finishing early so I could come back for him and coaches (who are generally volunteers giving up their own time) wouldn't have to wait around longer than necessary for me to get him.

 

My daughter is 9 1/2.  I don't have a hard and fast age rule on the phone. Like with my on, it will depend on when I feel it will be useful for her to have one.  Pretty much when she is able to get around some on her own. I would guess it would be around 11, though.

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#16 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 06:01 AM
 
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For us it is. DD1 is 10. In our circle, I don't know of one kid who is 9 and up who doesn't have some type of device at least capable of texting. Most have phones even if they are cheap phones, a couple have iPods touches  with some type of app that allows texting on them. 

 

 

She got a phone younger then most but for multiple reasons. We don't have a home phone. Her old, small school didn't have a school phone but instead you called the teacher's cell directly. We ran into problems with teacher's phones being dead or them not checking them and relying important messages like mom running late at work and DD1 needed to ride home with the neighbor. She is also a serious competitive athlete. Practices last hours and again I'm relying on the coach and their cell phone. 


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#17 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 06:09 AM
 
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Well, I guess I was the parent that everyone else was rolling their eyes at. We gave our dc cell phones when they were 12 and 9 y.o. That was 8 years ago. At the time, I took a fair amount of flack for it from people who made the same arguments as EnviroBecca. We had good reasons though. Both dc were taking the school bus or public transportation. They were both involved in many extra-curricular activities. It was a convenience to everyone to be able to communicate directly when there were delays or changes of plans.

 

We tried relying on third parties (school secretaries etc.) to pass along messages. That was an immense failure. The fact is, the more people involved in passing along a message, the more likely the message will be mangled or undelivered. At minimum, I found those mangled or undelivered messages frustrating. In the worst scenario, it was downright dangerous.

 

A cell phone isn't a "necessity" like shelter, food and clothing. It is a convenience that can make life much easier for busy families. If your kids are with you almost 24/7, then it probably isn't worthwhile to get them cell phones.

 

It's funny, I'm still using one of those old, quaint flip phones from 8 years ago. My kids have moved on to my DH's hand-me-down smartphones (courtesy of his employer). I've noticed that they rarely use them as phones anymore. It's all about texting now.

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#18 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 06:55 AM
 
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We gave DS a phone this year when he was 10. It's a cheapy basic one that has around $10 on it. It helps us let DS be free-range. Free range is and always has been our ideal But as DS goes to a school outside our neighborhood now, with kids he wants to play with outside our neighborhood, it became more of a necessity. Also, DS has a few activities (clay class, chess club) that he can go to on his own, as long as I know he'll call/text me when he's leaving and when he arrives. It gives me and DH peace of mind, but also gives DS peace of mind, as well. He knows if there's a problem he can get in touch.
 

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#19 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 10:21 AM
 
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My daughter is 13 and does not have her own phone.  There is just no circumstance in her life right now that warrants that, and frankly I just feel kids and cellphones are an obnoxious combo.  (Hell, I think adults and cellphones are often obnoxious too!).  

 

However, this week she is camping with her best friend's family over 3 hours away, and so I did send her with our spare phone to check in with me every day just to put my mind at ease (this is her first time away from home for more than a couple of days).  Already I had to tell her to put the phone away and have some real fun, after she sent me 6 pictures in a row (of the campsite, nothing special) and a short video of her friend in a lounge chair.  mischievous.gif  I didn't send her camping so she could play with a phone the whole time!!  

 

Her best friend, on the other hand, has had a phone for the past two years.  My daughter has often had to ask her to put her phone away, because the girl couldn't stop texting and playing games during their time together, even at my kid's birthday party.  I just don't want my daughter to fall into the same trap.  Phones are an easy way out-  Bored?  check your phone.  Needing human contact?  check your phone (as opposed to seeking out real connection).  I just think it's unhealthy, even for grown ups.  

 

I have considered getting her a phone that is stripped down, and will probably be forced to do so next year when she goes to high school, but it won't be a fancy smart phone, and there will be rules in place for it's use.  

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#20 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 10:21 AM
 
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My sons got cell phones when they were 18, and headed off to college. Their dorm does not have land lines, and a cell phone was the only way I could reach them, or they could reach me. They are 75 miles from home.

 

DH has a cell phone; I borrow it if I'm traveling by myself. I don't have one.

 

I don't think kids "need" cell phones, but I can see where they would make parents feel more comfortable at times.

 

One of the problems with relying on a cell phone is that we get so dependent on them, we don't know how to deal with situations where the cell phone doesn't work (no service, battery is dead). Folks tend to panic If they can't reach their 11-yr-old on her cell phone because she forgot to charge it, or left it in her locker at school, or left it in her backpack at Mary's house when they went outside to play.

 

My neighbor, a high school teacher, told me a story yesterday about a young teacher at his school. He was complaining to my neighbor that he needed to contact someone, but wasn't able to do so because his cell phone was dead. Neighbor said "Dude, there is a telephone in EVERY room in the school!" This young guy was so stuck on his cell phone that using a land line simply did not occur to him.


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#21 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 12:03 PM
 
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I don't think kids "need" cell phones, but I can see where they would make parents feel more comfortable at times.

 

I think this statement is pretty much the line between people who live in urban areas and people who don't.  If I was living now in the town I grew up in, where there is no public transit except the school bus service that runs door to door for every kid up through high school, and we had a land line in the house, and DH and I didn't both work full time, I wouldn't feel that my kids needed phones.

 

We gave up our landline the day that the line fell to the sidewalk across the street, and the phone company told us it would take five days to get it repaired.  I live in a city where kindergarteners are routinely assigned school bus stops half a mile from their homes.  I have arranged for my elementary school child (age 6) not to be on that bus, but if he was on that bus, he would carry a phone now.  Twelve year-olds in this city take the city buses to school, and I will want my child to have a phone when he reaches that stage.

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#22 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 12:16 PM
 
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My neighbor, a high school teacher, told me a story yesterday about a young teacher at his school. He was complaining to my neighbor that he needed to contact someone, but wasn't able to do so because his cell phone was dead. Neighbor said "Dude, there is a telephone in EVERY room in the school!" This young guy was so stuck on his cell phone that using a land line simply did not occur to him.

If I were the young guy in that scenario, having a land line available wouldn't help because I don't know anyone's phone number anymore -- they're all stored on my cell phone! redface.gif I swear, that thing is like my brain's external hard drive.
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#23 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by limabean View Post

If I were the young guy in that scenario, having a land line available wouldn't help because I don't know anyone's phone number anymore -- they're all stored on my cell phone! redface.gif I swear, that thing is like my brain's external hard drive.

LOL! This is so me! I can't remember anyone's phone number at all.
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#24 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 01:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

 

I think this statement is pretty much the line between people who live in urban areas and people who don't.

 

Funny, I live in the "outlying suburbs" and I feel like my kid needs a phone in part because we're so rural, lol.  There is no public transit so if her ride flakes she's stuck wherever she is, there aren't a lot of businesses that might have a phone she could use in an emergency, etc.  We do agree that phones are potentially very useful for teens/tweens, though.

 

And as I wrote above, my kid does not have a fun phone with apps and a camera and a data plan and all that good stuff.  She has a plain phone that talks and texts and doesn't really do much of that since I'm only willing to pay for the minimum number of minutes.  It's not a distraction or an amusement.  It's purely functional and it has come in very handy in situations that weren't quite *emergencies* but had the potential to go bad.


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#25 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 01:36 PM
 
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We got one cell phone for the kids to share when they started becoming more independent. One of my kids has special needs, and the notion that she is going to *ask* to use someone's phone, be quickly able to figure it out (they are all different) and then remember my number was just more than I was willing to wager on, so handing her a phone, programming the numbers in, and making sure she knew how to use it made sense. Our other DD is a totally different kid, but there have been lots of times when I am quite happy for her to have a phone with her -- such as spending the night at a friend's house who we don't really know the whole family. Yes, this is about me feeling safer letting her have freedom, and no, she has never needed to use it to get an emergency ride out of a bad situation, but I'd rather give the kid a phone and freedom than to limit her ability to move about OR make myself crazy with worry.

 

When we got to the point that the needed a phone at the same time, we got another phone.

 

We have a family texting plan, and I love it. I love it that we all so easily can let each other know that we are running late, or need to pick up something from the store. Is it a need in the true sense of the word? no, but it sure is nice.
 

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#26 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 02:05 PM
 
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Okay, I see my point of view is unpopular, but maybe this is worth mentioning: The times when I am "relying on strangers to provide assistance" and "dependent on others' goodwill" are extremely infrequent, have never seemed to annoy the people, have never made me feel the slightest bit at risk, and generally increase my faith in humanity and sense of interconnectedness.  I live in a relatively friendly city where cell-phone thefts are not very common, and I'm apparently a non-threatening-looking person, so I'm sure those are factors.  But honestly, the last time I borrowed a phone from a stranger was more than 3 years ago; it's just so rarely necessary to make a phone call away from home or work.  My child has never borrowed a stranger's phone; where I mentioned him borrowing a phone to ask permission to go to a friend's house, that's the friend's parent's phone--and if the friend's parent didn't have a cell phone, he's surrounded by other parents and older kids who do (people he knows, not strangers) or it's possible to go into the school and use the phone in the office.

 

It's true that by occasionally borrowing a cell phone I am taking advantage of the fact that other people are willing to put their $50/month or whatever, their electricity, their diligence in carrying and maintaining the phone, etc., toward their having that phone that I can borrow.  I don't want to pay for and bother with that myself, so maybe it's wrong for me to ask them to share?  But a lot of people don't carry Band-aids with them at all times, and I do, and if I see someone who just got a small injury I'll stop and offer them a Band-aid; that seems like about the same kind of thing, and I don't resent it in the slightest; I actually like helping.  My impression when I've borrowed phones is that the people felt good about getting a chance to help someone.  If I'd encountered a lot of resentment or suspicion, I wouldn't be considering this a viable option.

 

I didn't say that the strategies that allowed all of us to survive in the pre-cell-phone era are BETTER than using cell phones, just that they still work and I don't think using cell phones is always better than using those other strategies.  In particular, a lot of people I know these days do not make plans about when and where to meet, assuming they'll locate each other using their phones--and then if there's no cell service in the area or a phone goes wrong, they're completely lost.  As for not knowing anybody's phone number, that idea terrifies me--what if your phone gets lost or stolen or broken, and you can't contact anyone you know?  Nothing to LOL about, I think, but I guess I'm just afraid of different things than you are.

 

Clarification: My child doesn't go to the PARK alone.  He stays in the schoolyard playing with his friends for a while after school, then walks home, sometimes alone and sometimes with his friend who lives across the street.  He and his friends like to go to the park after school on Fridays, but they always have parents along for that, and we expect to keep that up for another couple of years.  However, if I saw a 7-year-old in that park alone who was not causing any trouble or in any distress, I certainly would not call the police about it.

 

It seems to me that problems like JollyGG detailed are the fault of organizations that are supposed to be supervising children and taking them places in a predictable manner, failing to do it correctly.  I can understand deciding that you want your kid to have a phone so you can avoid the confusion and worry that result, but even so I think it's crucial to ALSO expect and demand that the bus company (or whatever entity is being irresponsible with your child) get their act together.  (It's great that your son's principal was directly involved in resolving the problem and took a strong stand.)  It bothers me that I hear some parents these days assuming they can't expect that, for example, a coach who decides to end practice early will stick around until all the kids are on their way home, or that if their child is going to a friend's house they don't dare ask for the friend's parent's phone number in case they need to reach their child.

 

I have commuted by public transit every workday for 16 years.  For more than 3 years my toddler/preschooler and I rode 2 buses each way every day.  Yes, I sometimes get home later than expected because of transit problems--or a tree fallen across the road or some other obstacle between work and home--and once in a while that causes significant inconvenience, like we're late getting to some evening activity and I didn't get any dinner before it.  That's life.  A cell phone wouldn't get me home any faster; it would only let me tell my family to go ahead without me--a convenience, not a necessity, and something they can decide to do at a certain point without my contacting them; they can leave me a note.  We are pretty good at not worrying when someone is a little late.  Again, I think it's a matter of what you choose to fear.

 

I do agree that if there is no land line in your home, your kids need a phone if they are home alone, in case of emergency.  Same thing with living in a dorm where there is no land line.

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#27 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 03:10 PM
 
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I don't feel cell phones are ever *necessary*. Phones are not *necessary* - food, water, shelter, warmth, and love are necessary. But, cell phones are very useful. The extent to which that is true, and the age, is different for each family. It's totally possible to get by without one, but no reason not to if it would make your life easier.

We bought our oldest a cell phone when she was 12. Her other mom doesn't always have a phone, either landline or cell, and we didn't want to be unable to contact our daughter for days at a time. Now we don't have a landline, and I wouldn't want to leave the kids home without any kind of phone at all.
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Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

If my neighbors saw an unescorted 7 yo at the park, they'd call the cops. So would I.

Wow, where did that come from? No one in this thread said anything about sending a 7yo to the park alone, and even if they did, what's up with the judgment when you yourself are talking about giving your kid more independence by giving them a phone?

If that's how you respond to a child playing in a park, I hope you stay out of my neighborhood, where kids as young as six (mine and others) enjoy the park without adults all summer and all weekend. Of course, if you did call the cops on my kids, they and CPS would probably say the same thing they did last time, which is that we did nothing wrong, and they wish people would stop overreacting so resources could be focused on kids who actually need them.
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#28 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 03:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post

As for not knowing anybody's phone number, that idea terrifies me--what if your phone gets lost or stolen or broken, and you can't contact anyone you know?  Nothing to LOL about, I think, but I guess I'm just afraid of different things than you are.

Well, I exaggerated a bit -- I know the phone numbers of a few close people. It's just that I don't dial numbers anymore (I just tap a contact name) so the numbers don't stick in my head like they used to. I also keep a physical address book at home, and my cellular contact list backs up to the cloud, so I could access it from any computer. But if I needed to get a hold of a specific non-close person, like the parent of one of DS's friends, and my cell phone got stolen, I was away from home, their number was unlisted, and I didn't have access to a computer, yeah, I'd be unable to call them. But that's not really different than it used to be in the old days -- you wouldn't typically carry your address book around with you, so phone calls to those outside your inner circle would have to wait until you were home.

That said, I think you make a lot of good points. My kids don't have cell phones (but they're only 5 and 8), and I have no intention of getting them phones any time soon. The whole "I'll call/text you when I get there so we can meet up" annoys me, although I do see its usefulness. I hate having to have my phone handy so that someone can give me a play-by-play of their drive instead of us just setting a time/place and me assuming there's a 15-minute window to allow for traffic, etc. I don't need 7 texts explaining that you're leaving, oh wait the littlest one had to go potty so NOW you're leaving, ugh there's traffic, oh wait it seems to be clearing, by the way should you pick up some snacks, you forgot change for the toll booth so you had to go the long way, and now you're pulling up. And after all of that, you still get here within the same damned 15-minute window during which I would have expected you anyway!!!

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#29 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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All my phone numbers are in my google contacts list, so I can get them from The Cloud or wherever Google keeps them from anywhere if I lose my phone.

I've never been good at remembering phone numbers, or any numbers. I mix up the digits all the time. I have trouble with PINs too.
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#30 of 110 Old 07-31-2013, 03:57 PM
 
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Cell phones are pretty much required for my work. I hate talking on the phone, I'm not sure I could even be friends with someone I can't text lol

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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