Cell phones and kids

Personal Handy-phone System mobiles and modems...

Cell phones our parents still use..

Anonymous wrote:

Sean,

My son wants a cell phone, but I think he’s too young.  I said maybe we could have one for him to talk on around the house, but he says his friends all have them at school and he wants one to take along too.  What is your take on cell phones?  Are they okay for an 8-year-old?

Anonymous

Anonymous,

I think kids today are being forced to grow up too fast.  Remember when we were kids?  We ate pizza at sleepovers, we played tag on metal playgrounds, we rode our bikes 9 blocks to the park, and we walked to school (or stood alone at the bus stop).  It was pretty carefree.  Now some kids still live lives like this, but many (because of the fears of their parents) are being forced out of childhood early. I believe cell phones are not for kids.  If there is a cell phone for home use to be used as a “home phone”, that’s one thing..but I am absolutely against kids taking phones out of the house.

Some parents may argue and say that it’s a safety thing, but I’ll argue that our world hasn’t changed..our view of it has.  There are still as many dangers out there as when we grew up, adults are just seeing more of them due to changes in what the media presents to us.  In the presence of danger, a child with a cell in their backpack is no safer than a child without one.  Kids will also lose them.  They will set them down while running around at the park, they’ll take them out of their backpack and set them down, and they’ll drop them out of the car while going to school.  It WILL happen.  Safety is obsolete at that point too.

Some parents may argue that it’s a communication thing.  They want to be able to contact their child wherever they are.  I’d say that parents need to do a better job of getting to know the people their son or daughter is hanging out with..and that child’s parents.  Know their address, phone number, and who they are.  A cell phone can’t do that and often times acts as an invisible wall in between parents of both children, as well as a wall between parent and child.  Children need to learn the value of effective communication.  It’s frustrating to see kids ignore their parents while zoning out on a video game or cell phone.

Some parents may argue that there is just nothing wrong with kids having cell phones because it’s technology changing and we need to adapt.  I will argue that that is absolute bullshit.  If that were the case, your child needs a PS3, a Netflix membership, an electric car, and those damn ugly Sketchers workout shoes.  After all, technology changed and they need to stay on top of it, right?  Wrong.  Kids are kids.  They don’t need a Nintendo DS, PS3 and blue ray player in their room.  They need to be kids and get outside to play, to run around, to paint, to be creative, and to enjoy childhood.  I think you’re right in letting your child have a home phone to use, even if it’s a cell, but I honestly feel that nothing good can come from a child having a cell phone out of the house.

So…what’s the right age for a child to have a cell?  I say anything over the age of 14, BUT only if they’ve been taught proper cell phone etiquette (no sexting, no cell phone speak like “2nite”, “enuf”, etc..use full words and sentences, and no giving your number to strangers).  I realize I may sound like an old fuddy-duddy by saying that, but I feel it’s necessary to let kids be kids.  To me, a cell phone does nothing but hurt that principle.
Sean

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