Cody and I both wrote posts about our views on Addie getting her first phone, we didn’t discuss it first, we just wrote. You can find my post here.

cell phone glow.

I don’t know how many times Addie has asked me while we’re at the store if we can run back to the toy section so she can look at the Monster High texting toy.  With each request my heart hardens a bit more and more to the idea of my daughter having a cellphone.

Call me a traditionalist or extremist, but I see these 10-year-old kids walking the halls of the mall with their friends while their heads are buried in their cellphones anxiously and aggressively typing out text messages and it drives me nuts.  When I was their age I used to walk 6 miles to school uphill both ways with six feet of snow covering the walkway at all times of the year.

Okay, so not one bit of that was true other than the fact that I did walk the 6 miles home from school whenever I forgot to make my bed in the morning and my mom refused to pick me up after football practice because of it.  Anyway, the point is that kids in my day didn’t have cellphones and here I am, alive with a family and career.  Cellphones?  Shmelphones.

I’ve laid it out pretty clearly to Addie that she will not be getting a cellphone until she is in college and into her 20s, and each time that message is relayed Addie rolls her eyes and gives me a smirk.  The kid already knows she controls me and she knows that when a reasonable time comes a cellphone will be hers because she will tell me with that little sympathetic face with those bouncy curls that she oh so badly needs a cellphone because her world demands it.  My body will unwrap from her little finger long enough to run to the store to pick up the pinkest cellphone possible for my little girl.  Once that has happened, well, the pattern will be set and Vivi will know how to abuse the system.

Thinking back to my teenagehood I can think of a few, well, maybe more like a hundred, situations where a cellphone would have come in handy for something more than purely social reasons.

My first time driving a truck was when I was 15 years-old,  I ran a load of rocks up the mountain with the express instructions that I not leave the roadway.  After I threw the rocks out of the back of the truck, I attempted to turn the truck around and I accidentally dropped my back wheels off the roadway and I was stuck.  Nothing I did seemed to get the truck any closer to getting back on the roadway so I did what my 15 year-old brain told me to do.  I backed down the fairly steep slope my back wheels had been stuck on until I was 30 feet off the roadway.  I then floored the truck and ran over everything in my path, sagebrush, shrubs, cactus, you name it, in hopes that I would cross a dirt road at some point that would allow me to get back on the pavement.

Luckily it all worked out, but what if it hadn’t and I ended up deep in the mountains, lost without any idea of which way I should go in order to get home?

There are valid reasons for kids to have cellphones these days despite my instincts to fight the inevitable.  After all, phone booths are not exactly around every corner anymore and I would be a hypocrite if I asked my kids to stick their ears on those public phones when they know darn well that I wouldn’t subject myself to that.

When Addie and Vivi get a cellphone, which they won’t have access to until they turn 15, it will not be their cellphone.  Sure, it will probably be pink, but it will be a family cellphone that will be available for the girls to use when they go out with friends or on dates.

The only time they will be allowed to take the cellphone to school with them is if they have some kind of school activity that requires them to stay after school. There will be very strict rules that absolutely not texting or calling will be allowed during school hours unless it is an emergency.  I will be checking the cellphone records to make sure that my rules are being followed.

When the girls are not using the family cellphone, it will be placed in my room where I can approve of its use.  There will be no texting while at home.  There will be no calling on the cellphone while at home, either.  I survived being able to talk to my friends using the home telephone just fine and texting didn’t even exist back then.

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Big thanks to AT&T for sponsoring this post as part of their Mobile Safety initiative. I have been sponsored for my time in participating in the program.

Comments

  1. I want to say, so badly want to say that this is exactly how I will handle this issue when it comes up. Somehow I think that my view will change by the time I get there though. But right now? This is exactly how I feel too!

  2. This is exactly my thinking on the subject (and my husband agrees). It’s also how it was handled in my family growing up. Mom had a phone, and there was a second phone for whoever had the car or needed it. It was essentially mine since I was the only one with a license or a job, but it was the “kids phone”. My kids will have a phone they share (or two, since I will have 4 kids within 5 years) and will use a phone when they leave the house (if they NEED it. If they’re going to a friends house, no dice.)

    But my oldest is 4, so I don’t have these problems yet. She just wants to play games on my phone.

    And I walked 2 miles to school each way, uphill both ways (with downhill spots, obviously).

  3. Both my 13 year old son who is NEVER at home because of sports and church activities and my almost 11 year old daughter have cell phones…smart phones even. Although..she is new to a smart phone. HIGHLY monitered of course. To each his/her own I say. I’m not judgie about it and don’t think people should be. They are out and about, I wan’t them to be able to call me and vice versa…Momma needs to have a life line!

  4. We plan on doing the same, having a third cellphone that’ll be used primarily as our “landline”. It’ll have the standard unlimited texting (we pay for that already) but it won’t have a data plan (unless that becomes something required on phones by that time).
    I’m lucky. My kids are 9 and 7, and could care less about calling people on the phone. They see their friends at school, and 2-3 times extra each month on the weekends for scouts. I think that’s enough :D

    When they turn 16, or start having jobs, we’ll look into letting them have their own cells on our plan. In college, we’ll probably pay for it then, as well, so that we have that safe feeling, but it’ll, again, be the cheapy. They want more, they can pay the difference.

  5. I am loving the idea of a family cell phone. Filing that idea away.

  6. I don’t have children yet, but I have definitely given this subject a lot of thought. There are so many things that I see “kids these days” doing that I’d like to do differently, and what you’ve described here is EXACTLY how I envision cell phones in my future family household. Family phone, no texting, no data, and no private usage.

    I believe there would be a lot less bullying and inappropriate dialogue among CHILDREN if parents would stop giving them so many opportunities to communicate as if they were adults.

  7. Yep, that was how we started out. My now 14 year old twin boys had to wait until they were 13 to get a basic phone. Turns out, I love them having phones. I am able to get a hold of them when I need to and they can call when they need help. We started out restricting what they do, but I’ve read their texts and it is all very innocent. (Hi, what are you doing?. Nothing.)
    We have not had any problems. The crazy thing is the school is now texting homework assignments and their coaches text all the time. I figure this is the way of the world and they need to learn how to be responsible with the technology.

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