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.
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.
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.