Pre-Teens/Teens and Cell Phones (WDYT?) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 39 Old 11-08-2004, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wondering what everyone thinks of kids & cell phones.

DS (12) is wanting one because the majority of his friends have one... he has asked for one for christmas from everyone (a group gift) and has said he will earn the money to pay the bill (he does help dh at work).

I am just not sure how I feel about this.

DS really never goes anywhere without us, unless it's here by our house.
He goes skating occasionally, or to a local lock in indoor sports place (they lock you in for 2hrs, unless your parents pick you up)
When he goes anywhere, it's with a friend, and I normally send my cell phone (or dh's) with him.

I know things have changed alot since we were all kids, but it amazes me that these kids all carry cell phones... I had a beeper when I was 16, but only because my grandmother was old and home alone.

Anyhow, just wondering what do you think
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#2 of 39 Old 11-08-2004, 07:12 PM
 
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We had a tragic accident here in which a sixteen year old girl snuck out of the house to meet a friend, got in a crash and died. Her Mom said it was the cell phone that changed the way she could no longer watch her kid. Said the child's friends would call on the cell phone even in the dead of night, enticing each other to sneak out.

I may allow my child a cell phone, but it will be off limits at bedtime. I will confiscate it or lock it up somehow each night. I guess that sounds harsh to AP'ers, but I intend to be a grandmother someday.
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#3 of 39 Old 11-08-2004, 09:23 PM
 
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My dd is also 12 and asking for a cell phone. Actually she started asking for one last year, believe it or not a lot of her friends had them in the 6th grade!!
I am thinking about getting her one of those pre paid ones and she can earn $$ for the phone cards. That way she won't run up MY cell phone bill!
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#4 of 39 Old 11-08-2004, 09:55 PM
 
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I think they are fine. I see no problem with it at all. I suppose that for an older kid (who perhaps has funds of his/her own) you could discuss them paying for part of the bill. Because my kids have no bedtime, night usage would not be a big deal. I think they are fine

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#5 of 39 Old 11-08-2004, 11:00 PM
 
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I think it's a great idea.

My kids haven't said that they want one yet, but I have given ds my phone at times--like when he went out with friends on Halloween. I like that he can reach me if he needs me. We didn't have cell phones or pagers when I was a kid, but then, we DID have pay phones!

Loaning him my cell phone is an inconvenience because then I need to either stay home or make sure I'm with someone who has a cell phone in case he needs me! Soooooo, I can definately see the day when he'll have his own phone.

Personally, I kind of like the prepaid phones for the convenience and the fact that you won't get a surprise bill.

I don't see any problem with them at all.

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#6 of 39 Old 11-09-2004, 12:54 AM
 
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We got my brother (17) and daughter (10) a cell phone to share. Comes in pretty handy for DB when he is going to stay late after school or has volunteer work to do. Then he can call when he needs a ride or let us know if plans change.

DD doesn't need it so much yet since she doesn't go too many places without us. The places she does go she's with her friends and their parents. But on Wednesday she's going on a field trip to San Francisco and I want her to take the phone with her. They're both very responsible kids so I don't have a problem with it.
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#7 of 39 Old 11-09-2004, 03:54 AM
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Rain has had a cell phone for over a year now, since she was 10. I think it's great. I like being able to get in touch with her wherever she is, and I like knowing that she can contact me whenever she needs to. Even at park day, when she and the other preteens and teens are across the park from me, I like being able to call instead of walking around shouting for her.

She doesn't go over our minutes - we have tons of night and weekend minutes, and she's another night owl.

She is probably away from me more than many kids, I guess. She's unschooled, so she instead of being in school most of the day she's off doing things...

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#8 of 39 Old 11-09-2004, 04:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dar
Rain has had a cell phone for over a year now, since she was 10. I think it's great. I like being able to get in touch with her wherever she is, and I like knowing that she can contact me whenever she needs to. Even at park day, when she and the other preteens and teens are across the park from me, I like being able to call instead of walking around shouting for her.

I love this too. It is nice for us to be able to check in or they to check with us if we are not together.

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#9 of 39 Old 11-09-2004, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of your responses.

I am pretty sure we are going to go ahead and do it... now to just decide on what kind of phone.

We have a unlimited plan here, so minutes aren't a issue... dh and I will just go with that plan, and block long distance, so we don't get any surprises and have to throttle our child. LOL

DS wants a flip or a slide phone, but the lady at the cell office suggest a plain phone as the more expensive ones get stolen easier.

Money isn't a big think on the phone, as we can sign a new contract (dh and I have been out from our contracts for years) so the phone will be cheap either way... and we will pay insurance monthly.. so I don't see a problem with getting him a 'good' phone... or am I wrong there? Should I go with the 'plain' phone?
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#10 of 39 Old 11-09-2004, 02:46 PM
 
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Nope, I wouldn't give my child a cell phone. Maybe when they are 16-17, but not at 12. My 11 year old daughter has been wanting one, even wanted to save her money for a Tracfone and I said no. Really, what does a child need a cell phone for?
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#11 of 39 Old 11-09-2004, 03:49 PM
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We have flip phones cause they were cheaper. I guess they're plain flip phones ;-) You can get insurance on them for loss of theft - Rain's never lost hers, but I lost mine on a plane once :-/

As far as what a child needs a cell phone for, I think we covered that... I can't understand why a parent would be against it, really, if a child is doing things on her own at all.

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#12 of 39 Old 11-09-2004, 05:21 PM
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Count me as a mother against them.

First, there HAS been a link to brain tumors. I've BTDT, with my son and don't ever want to play again.

Then, I feel like they are an umbilical cord. The kids can't GO anywhere, and make their own decisoins, they can always call their parents. I think this gives everyone involved a false sense of security. Kids think they're safe cause Mom's jsut a call away, and the parents think nothing can happen if the kids have the cell.

And while I am sure there are rare cases where the cell has helped, I also think there are casees where it diidn't.

Besides, other than calling home, what the heck do they need it for? It's just another material object that keeps you from doing and being, NOW. They can use the home phone to call their friends and that gets in the way enough, as it is.

My youngest is begging, I'm not buying. If she buys it, and has a job where she can pay for it, and I can't talkk her into something else instead (I bet I can ) I'll consider it. But I wouldn't pay for any of it.
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#13 of 39 Old 11-10-2004, 12:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dar
As far as what a child needs a cell phone for, I think we covered that... I can't understand why a parent would be against it, really, if a child is doing things on her own at all.

Dar
I agree. I don't get why it would be a bad thing. It's just a tool to allow kids and their parents (or whoever) to stay in touch when out and about. How can that be bad?

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#14 of 39 Old 11-10-2004, 12:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Red

Then, I feel like they are an umbilical cord. The kids can't GO anywhere, and make their own decisoins, they can always call their parents. I think this gives everyone involved a false sense of security. Kids think they're safe cause Mom's jsut a call away, and the parents think nothing can happen if the kids have the cell.
I don't think that most parents/kids are that ignorant to think that they're safe just because they have a cell phone. I suppose the umbilical cord theory would be justified IF the child was calling a parent for input on every move they make, but really---does that happen? If so, I'd be majorly worried about the kid's decision-making abilities, cell phone or no cell phone.

When I was a kid, there were pay phones on every corner and before we went out, my parents always asked if we had dimes with us. Today, it's almost impossible to find a pay phone (at least around here) so I see the cell phone as just today's way of communicating when you're out of the house. No big deal.

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#15 of 39 Old 11-10-2004, 01:12 AM
 
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[QUOTE=Joan]I don't think that most parents/kids are that ignorant to think that they're safe just because they have a cell phone. I suppose the umbilical cord theory would be justified IF the child was calling a parent for input on every move they make, but really---does that happen? If so, I'd be majorly worried about the kid's decision-making abilities, cell phone or no cell phone.[QUOTE]

Yes definately. And I do think they are safer. They can call me for advice or tell me they are going somewhere or that something happened etc. As for umbilical cord, I suppose that could happen but I see it being an exception and not the rule. If it did happen I would just initiate a conversation about it, cell phone or not. Discussion is a great thing IMO. We talk alot in our fam.

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#16 of 39 Old 11-10-2004, 01:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe it's me, but I like the thought of my child having a 'umbilical' cord (link) to me.... I want him to ALWAYS know that if he has a question I'm here for him, and will try to help him.

I don't think my son (or any of his friends) would ever use it to call home every minute.

And we're in a 'no' pay phone anywhere around area, and where my son is at (we live in the middle of nowhere) most of the time (the basketball court, or playing in the 'field') there is no phones anyway.
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#17 of 39 Old 11-10-2004, 02:07 PM
 
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We got my DSD one when she turned 16, and it has been a good thing. She has her own car and drives, and our school district covers a large geographical area--our house is 8 miles from school on a highway, plus her mom lives on a gravel road in the country and DSD must travel a very deserted, isolated road to get there, and it is 10 miles from school in the opposite direction of our house. Add in the fact that DSD is very involved in school activities, having play practice nearly every night until 10 or 11 p.m., then needing to drive home, and also working on Saturdays, often at night, and needing to drive home.

I would never forgive myself if her car went out on her or she had a wreck or came upon another wreck or ran out of gas or was approached on this isolated road by someone else, and for 30 bucks a month we could have provided her a lifeline to us or 911 or AAA or whomever could help her. Is it possible she could be harmed even with the cell phone? Of course, but I would think anyone would rather their child have a cell phone with them than nothing at all.

As far as using it for ill, we check the minutes every couple days online and run down the list of who she is calling and at what time, and she is aware of this. She has been told that if she uses it irresponsibly, it will be taken away and we will give her our cell, which is about 4 years old and has a plan with very minimal minutes and would be for emergency use only, so she would lose talking with her friends. She is extremely responsible with it and I'm sure we will never have a problem.
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#18 of 39 Old 11-10-2004, 03:11 PM
 
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age and activity are the issues to me, OP is saying a 12 yo who doesn't do any outings independent of the family, has little to no need. But an older kid who is out alone would need some way to call home as well as friends. Here in Tucson pay phones are becoming few and far between.
When your 12yo gets a phone and all his friends have then your opportunities to talk together are going to go down. I think that 11-14 is hard already without creating additional opportunities for more peer contact.
just my 2 cents
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#19 of 39 Old 11-10-2004, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red
Then, I feel like they are an umbilical cord. The kids can't GO anywhere, and make their own decisoins, they can always call their parents.
I don't know of any kids who call home before making any little decision, but I sure see a lot of middle-aged men doing this - "Honey, did you say the scented toilet paper or unscented?" and so on...

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#20 of 39 Old 11-10-2004, 04:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AnnMarie
Nope, I wouldn't give my child a cell phone. Maybe when they are 16-17, but not at 12. My 11 year old daughter has been wanting one, even wanted to save her money for a Tracfone and I said no. Really, what does a child need a cell phone for?
ditto
my 11 yr old niece has one and boys call her on it and want to date her.
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#21 of 39 Old 11-10-2004, 05:32 PM
 
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I postponed getting my ds a cell phone for several years but not because I didn't think children should have cell phones. I did it because my ds is very irresponsible, constantly losing things like his Gameboy and his wallet and his watch, so I didn't feel he was ready for a cell phone before. He is now 13 and I just got him a cell phone 2 weeks ago. We got a family plan and got 3 phones for free. I have talked to him about not using it too much so that we get a huge bill. He totally understands about the free call times and free calling between our phones. He calls his grandmother long distance on the weekends because we have free long distance and free anytime minutes on weekends. He even sat down and figured out how many minutes each one of us can use per month. Since my dh is in Iraq right now, my ds has informed me that he and I have extra minutes we can use. (This is a kid who says he can't do anything remotely related to math.) I got him a belt clip case so that he can keep track of his phone better. So far, so good and I find him much better at checking in now. I wish I had gotten him one earlier because I could've saved a lot of energy worrying about where he was when he'd go outside to play and I wouldn't hear from him for hours.

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#22 of 39 Old 11-11-2004, 12:04 AM
 
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My son has been begging for a cellphone for about 3 years now.At age11-12 I didn't feel he needed one because he was either in my supervision or another repsonsible adults.But now he is going to be 15 next week.His whole world in not soley intertwined with mine anymore.He is growing up.He is unschooled but he also takes a class at the local christian school.Plus he is in Karate and basketball.He also does alot of volenteering to help the elderly.I work full time.I want him to be able to get ahold of me whenever he needs too.He is getting a tracphone with a 60 minute card for his birthday.But he will have to pay 1/2 for all future cards.We will have rules to go along with his phone but he is a good kid.He will be responsible for his phone and use it responsibly.I don't think there is anything wrong with a teen having a cell phone.I will make sure and he will make sure it doesn't interfere with our family life just like I make sure mine doesn't.

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#23 of 39 Old 11-11-2004, 02:28 AM
 
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My oldest isn't near pre-teen yet (6 in january) but she is already hyped to get her own cell phone. We have tentatively set a date of her 7th birthday

Why? Well, she is unschooled and in several classes (7 classes). We are to the point that DS & I occasionally leave to run errands instead of sitting around waiting for her and *I* would feel better and *she* would feel better knowing I am just a very close phone call away.

Additionally, I just don't think her & DS are growing up with the concept of a cell phone being "cool" any more than a regular phone is "cool." Yes, they call people on it, but as it is just another standard in their life I don't see more damagine features of it over the normal phone.

Of course, this will probably all change with hormones (theirs & mine, LOL, what will I do without the prolactin!?!?)

 

 

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#24 of 39 Old 11-15-2004, 02:22 PM
 
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I have no problem with a child having a cell phone. Trying to keep your child innocent or young somehow by not providing these things seems like putting the cart before the horse. The eleven year old getting calls for dates- would those boys not want to date her if she didn't have a cell phone? They'd just call her house or ask her out in person. I do see that a neglectful parent might then lose track of whom their child is seeing/speaking to, but that's a neglectful parent. Not having a cell phone does not prohibit sneaking out at night, because children who are going to sneak out are going to be innovative in getting in touch with their friends without their parents' knowledge, as my neighbors have discovered.

My daughter takes a walkie talkie with her when walking to the neighbors,' in case anyone hassles her in the street or if she needs to ask something- in a house with many children the neighbors don't always have the phone handy, nor do they answer it. I have lately thought a cell phone would be more reliable than the radios, and would of course serve when she is at her classes or at other friends' houses, or wants to look at one store at the mall while I'm at another. As soon as children around here are in middle school and taking public transportation, which in Florida is unreliable at best, anyone who can afford it gets their kid a cell phone. I'm sure the initial novelty would mean a lot of phone calls to friends, but frankly I don't want to discourage my kid from talking to whomever she wants, whenever she wants, and it seems no different to me than when I was a kid and some friends had their own phone line. My parents would never do that, but it didn't keep me off the phone. So what's the big deal? It's an item that can be misused or not, like anything else. But when my car has had trouble, or someone has hassled me, I've been grateful for a phone.
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#25 of 39 Old 11-15-2004, 10:44 PM
 
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If you are worried about the relationship between cell phone use and brain tumors, get a hands-free device.

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#26 of 39 Old 11-16-2004, 02:49 PM
 
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"When I was a kid, there were pay phones on every corner and before we went out, my parents always asked if we had dimes with us. Today, it's almost impossible to find a pay phone (at least around here) so I see the cell phone as just today's way of communicating when you're out of the house. No big deal."

When I was growing up, we needed quarters for pay phones

We recently had a discussion about this- my 14yo cousin got a cell phone because she kept having to borrow classmate's cell phones to be picked up after extra-curricular activities. I was quite surprised that her high school didn't have any pay phones. Her 10yo brother got one as well because there was a "family plan" that was no more money for 4 phones than it was for 3. He keeps it in his backpack, turned off, most of the time. He keeps it with him just for emergencies.

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#27 of 39 Old 11-16-2004, 03:05 PM
 
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[I]
When I was growing up, we needed quarters for pay phones

well....

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#28 of 39 Old 11-16-2004, 03:28 PM
 
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It's 35 to 50 cents for a payphone call nowadays. Payphones are not as prevalent as they used to be, I would suspect because so many people have cell phones that payphones are becoming obsolete.

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#29 of 39 Old 11-16-2004, 04:18 PM
 
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I'm only 23 so growing up with cell phones is something I can relate to. The rule in my parents house was that unless you could pay the bill you could not have a cell phone. (There was no allowance so that ment you had to be at least 16 AND have a job) That is a rule I think is totally fair. I did not get a cell till I was 19 and I lived no problems here. As for giving a 10-16 year old a cell phone no freaking way your asking for trouble.
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#30 of 39 Old 11-16-2004, 08:13 PM
 
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I plan on getting my dd one. She's now 4, so I have a while to figure out the right time. DH and I just got one last year. Like most things we buy we wait and wait and find ourself saying over and over we need it. First I was stranded at an interchange of 2 interstate highways for 2 hrs with a infant before I could flag down a highway patrol truck. Then the YMCA wanted a # when we left dd for a parent's night out. DH is also looking for a job and didn't want to use a work # and didn't want a mom with a screaming infant in the background answering the phone. Traveling, we've had a hard time finding a pay phone and most don't let you call it back. We got a $20 charge for a 1 minute collect call.

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