Monday, July 20, 2009

Cell Phones and Kids??

My 12 year old insists he needs a cell phone.

I try to reason with him... explaining ... I didn't have a cell phone until I was 31 years old... surely he doesn't need one at 12 years old.

He insists it is critical for attending middle school. "What do I do if I miss the bus?"

"huh... Do what us pioneers had to do 20 years ago and use the phone at the office in your school???"


But what do you guys think? I am putting a strong front on--- but inside, I am thinking it might be nice to have a cell phone for him, now that he is getting more independent.

He and his posse went to the movies the other day- and I gave him my cell phone to call when it was over. When he is at hockey- sometimes I drop him off and run errands.

At - the online book club I'm hosting this summer- I found a phone company Kajeet that specializes in KID FRIENDLY cell phones. (They donated 2 as prizes for our book club!!! Thank- YOU Kajeet!!!)

Actually - they are more like.... Parent Friendly....

Parents can put all kinds of parental controls on the phone service... controlling who they can call and when. (For example: Parents can block school hours, so they know their kids wont be texting or calling during classes.)

And it's a pre-pay phone... so no worries about your kids going over minutes.
Just thought I would pass this option along--- for those of you... like me ... who are trying to find a happy medium for cell phone options.


Emily said...

My 12yo and I are having this same discussion. Only, she doesn't want the $19 prepaid phone like I have, she wants one with a full keyboard so she can message all her friends. Uh, yeah.

If she needs to call me she uses one of her friends phones (they all have them, it is true) but have you noticed there are very rarely pay phones around anymore?

Sarah said...

I was a strange case. I thought mobile phones were an invasion of privacy. My parents basically had to FORCE me into owning a mobile phone when I was fifteen because I didn't want one! (This was just after we got Jasper and they weren't happy about me going for long walks with no way of contacting them).

The phone gets used about once a month if its lucky, and personally I don't think it's necessary. About fifteen years ago, kids with phones were almost unheard of. But it makes my parents happy, so I put up with it.

My brother got one the year he started middle school, so I guess that's probably the standard age to get one these days.

SWIRL said...

Standard age!?!?
I think you are right- sarah- but it makes me cringe.

Emily- I have noticed the lack in pay-phones and that is why I got one... the kajeet have different makes and models of phones and I think one does have a full keyboard that slides out-- but you could still control the texting times.. (which I LOVE!!!)

Amanda said...

As you can probably imagine, Al and I are pretty much against kids with cell phones. We've had the discussion already and I know we'll need to revisit it as ou kids get older, but I do not think our kids will have cell phones at such a young age.

I agree that by 12ish they become more independent, but the majority of their time is still spent with a parent, adult or some form of guardian so a cell phone is really not necessary.

PLUS how connected do you really want to make them? I feel bound to my computer somedays as I research, journal and check up on the outside world...I don't even text, instant message or any of the other forms of instant communication. I think we're creating a society of people who have no patience and no skill to get out of situations on their own.

If I'm stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire and I can't fix it myself...that sucks! If I have a cell phone, it is a convenience to call someone and makes my life easier. If I don't have a cell phone, I'm not stranded...I can walk, with 4 kids if necessary. Will I like it? it going to kill me? no. Maybe I can't get my situation resolved as quickly without the phone, but it's not impossible.

Sorry, got long winded....I think you see where I stand :) Good luck! I'm glad I'm not fighting this battle, yet.

April said...

It is a slippery slope you are atop that is for sure! I have been there. Our youngest got his phone for our convenience and it was not good enough. We were hounded by him and pestered by him to have upgrades because "all of his friends had them". We did not give in, but it made for constant battles in the household.

I am for the convenience if the terms of use are VERY clear and the mile posts are set for example when texting will be added etc.

We did not allow camera phones until we had a loooooong discussion on the problems with the improper use of them and the knowledge that I would make impromptu phone checks.

BTW....sorry this was so long. =)

Keysha said...

I think that this day in age it's critical for kids, even tweens, to have cell phones. I gave my little girl, who is also 12, a Motorola W376 phone this year from Tracfone. I chose this model specifically because it has a camera so that she copuld send me photos of where she is so that i know she is being honest with me, and the phone itself was less than $30, which to me, is a great deal! it also comes with a thing called double minutes, which is a feature where you get one minute free for every minute you buy. Honestly, giving her a cell phone made my life much less of a hassle and it made me feel as if she is safer when I'm away from her.

SWIRL said...

love the comments- ladies.
We have a kid friendly cell phone now.. and I am loving the part where I can add "parental controls"...

Martha said...

I told my kids if you pay for a phone and the plan, you can have it. Adam pays for his (because he has a job). Josh doesn't have one (because he is super tight with money).

Rachel just recently saved all her money and got a prepaid one. Since she is paying for it, she is super careful with her minutes and only uses it when she really needs it. When she calls me she usually used her friends' phone who's parents are paying $30 a month for their kid to have this phone. I always think of it as $360 a year which is a lot.

When Josh needs a phone, I give him mine.

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