Oh dear, oh dear. What is one to do as a "nature" oriented parent in this age of technology and kids wanting to spend all their free time in front of a screen? One tends to think that life gets easier as the diaper era turns into distant memory and the kids become more independent each day. But what about cellphones? Since the day our son entered 6th Grade, middle school, our life has become hell in the battle over cellphones. He has wanted and needed a cellphone for about 3 years now.
We heard plenty a story of lost cellphones in first and Second Grade. But those were brushed off as figments of the child's imagination. What kid that age would need a phone?
The first time the topic came up for serious discussion was two years ago, when our son announced to my husband that he needed a phone in case he got stranded at a baseball game or practice. DH's response: What? How would you get stranded? We take you to each practice and hang around till it's over. Your mother and I have never missed a single game. We are Velcro parents...What are you talking about?"
Things got more serious when he announced that his 6th Grade math teacher had told the students he would send them homework assignments via cellphone and email. What? It turned out it wasn't really a requirement. The boy just wanted a phone because supposedly ALL of his classmates had one. Are we bad parents for saying "no"? When is the right time to give a child a cellphone? Will my child turn into a social outcast because I am not giving him a cellphone.
This morning came the last stroke. Our youngest daughter won an eraser mock-cellphone. My son's response: "Even she got a cell-phone before I did."
Oh boy! Must we cave in? Maybe I am just afraid that my kid may turn into one of those morose teenagers sitting on the sofa texting all the time and not wanting to have a regular conversation any more. I have witnessed first hand, kid's sitting right next to each other, callused hands sending endless texts like: "What are you doing?" "Oh, just sitting here texting you." How do I explain to the kids that my tweets are somehow more valuable or important? Well, they are for my business...
He is turning 13 in the fall. What he really does need is a new bicycle since he has outgrown his old one. But I know what he wants more than anything is a phone. Do I get him the bicycle, or do I let him join his texting friends? Please, I'd like to hear some opinions from other parents who have fought this battle. When is the right time to give a child a cellphone?
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