Friday, August 8, 2008

Cell Phones - Do Kids Need Them?

Cell phones - Do kids need them?

I don't know!

I guess they probably don't NEED them, but ... my 16 years old twin daughters (Courtney and Chloe) have them.

We gave one cell phone to Courtney and Chloe - to share- when they were 14 years old.

Now - at 16 years old - they each have their own - and, both of their phones are better phones than I have myself!

I think they come in awful handy when a child enters middle school or high school. Because their school days are long (8:45 a.m - 4:00 p.m.) and their activities (sports, clubs, meetings, etc) sometimes drag into the hours after school - it is nice to be able to call and check on them and be able to get a hold of them or they you - especially when they need a ride home or have an emergency.

Also ... this whole "texting" thing ... it is the way this generation communicates - socializes.

Where, when I was a kid, we would search out our friends in the hallways at school, on the school bus or in the neighborhood - or pick up the phone to call - or write a note to pass across the room in Algebra class - these kids are texting. It is their lifeline to their friends and it also serves as a tool for social networking. While my kids also use My Space pages to keep up with their friends - they seldom use e-mail or telephone conversations to find out what is going on. They use their text messaging the most.

I'm okay with that.

While it can often get in the way - like at the dinner table or when you are trying to talk to this constantly-texting-to-their-friends kid - it IS the way they communicate. And ... because it feels safe to them to be behind a text screen talking - it opens doors to their being able/comfortable talking to people they might normally not feel as comfortable to approach or talk too (even teachers/coaches/girls they want to befriend, etc).

I have a cell phone.

Lots of us have cell phones.

I'm okay with my kids having cell phones.

Not to mention - it IS currency!

When I find I need to punish my kids for something - it's always nice to have currency when you are looking for something to take away from them. The cell phone WORKS!

This is JUST my opinion - what do you think? Are you with me on this cell phone issue or are you On The Flipside?

Give me your most honest opinion - whether you agree with me or have a FLIPSIDE view. But, please make sure you follow the comment rules and be nice to me and other commenter's. And please go over to my sidebar and participate in the poll question on this topic.
Poll results: Poll question: How Old Should A Kid Be Before Getting A Cell Phone? 23 People Took Poll. 6 People (26%) said 11. 8 People (34%) said 14. 8 People (34%) said 16. And 1 (4%) said 18.


Denise said...

Hi Kellan. My son has a cell phone and I like it very much. We don't have a home phone anymore; we just use the cell phones. I think they are great. We both like to text and I can always get him when I need him and he can get me.

Julie said...

I have no problems with teens having cell phones, as long as they don't abuse them by over using minutes (unless they are paying for them themselves) ... But, Joe's brother gave them to his kids when they were 6 and 9 years old... Why on earth would a SIX year old need a cell phone... He's not even old enough to stay home alone! (Which is when I think it's a good age to get one)... And his phone is much nicer than mine! It's crazy!

Brenda said...

I think for teenagers they're ok as long as they don't use them during school hours, or while driving. Younger kids, nope. They don't need them because they aren't going to be anywhere, with anyone, where they won't have access to a phone if an emergency comes up. I'll get Zach a cell phone when he starts venturing out on his own, one with a locating device on it. :-)

dani said...

katherine has had one since her 12th birthday. i personally love that she has it. i think she is safer with it than without it.
last year her school had a bomb threat, and without the cell phone she would not have been able to communicate. further, i can trust her with hers (i might have a different oppinion if i had a child who abused the privilege).

forgetfulone said...

I pretty much agree with everything you said. I used to think the kids didn't need them till they were 15 or 16.

My twins (a boy and a girl) are only 12, and I just got them cell phones this past Christmas. So far, they haven't abused them, but it's only been 8 months!

It's a great tool or incentive to keep them on track, like you said. And since they're in intermediate school, and they participate in some extra-curricular activities, it has been a blessing.

We also got rid of our home phone. I'm not comfortable with that yet because I'm old-school, but I'm getting used to it. The land line became obsolete, except for me, and I have a cell phone. I really don't talk on the phone much.

It can be abused, but we have rules (no cell phones at the dinner table or late-night talking and texting), and so far, so good.

The only thing I don't like is that, back in the day, a person had to go through the land line to speak to your kids (us, when we were teenagers), so our parents knew when someone was calling, and usually, who was calling. Now, we have no idea. I guess I could look at the call log, but I guess it doesn't really matter.

I also think kids are getting worse at face-to-face interaction, and it's a lot easier to send a text than to speak to someone in person, so that's one down side.


I'm with you all the way. My son has had a cell phone since the 6th grade, because back then I was a single mom and he rode his bike to school every day. I NEEDED to know he made it to school safely!
Now my Ladybug is in middle school and she now has one too. As long as she doesn't abuse it, I'm fine with it. And you're makes great currency!

One Scrappy Chicklet said...

My cell phone is my lifeline and each of my kids have one. We started out with the rule that they could not have one until they started driving. That worked for the oldest. The middle one was so involved with extra stuff after school that he received his at 14, and then the D~man actually got his at 10 because he spends weekends at his dad and it is better for me to reach him on his own phone than to have to deal with dad and step mom just to talk to my kids.
And now there are no more excuses for not calling when they are going to be late.

Ellyn said...

I think cell phones are OK for teenagers but I would not allow my middle school aged kid to have them. They just won't need it then. I won't allow my kids to roam far enough away at that age that they will need a cell phone. In our house, cell phones will come with rules like don't use it in school and not during family time. I know this will cause conflict but I would rather have that than them texting at the dinner table.

Maggie - Mom of Six said...

I think kids having them depends on their situation. In my house, the rule right now is you don't get one until you are 16. It worked for my oldest, it is working for my 2nd and I will stick to it as long as I can. I like their friends having to call the house and knowing who they are talking to. If and when the 14yo is out with friends, I have the number of whoever he is out with because someone in the group is going to have a cell phone.

In our situation they just don't need one until they are 16 and then the "need" stems from the fact they will be dating (yes, I am that old-fashioned that my kids are not allowed to date until they are 16) and might need to get me in an emergency. That could change for the ones to follow but right now that is what works for us.

duchess said...

I've always been opposed to kids having cell phones.....teens are a different story. I do think when they start having a lot of activities after school, etc. we need a way to communicate.
My daughters friend just got a cell phone last Christmas - she's 7! What??
Of course then mine starts begging....please?? NO!!
My hubby just got a new phone for work & we did decide to keep his old one to let our son take it with him when he went places without us - he's almost 11. I do like knowing he can contact us if he needs to & that's the only time he uses it.
That's my two cents.

Anonymous said...

I think cell phones for kids are a good thing. I can text my teens (and they answer!) when needed. Easier than actually talking lol. They got them in middle school since that was the age they would walk to and from school---and it helped a lot for pick up times from practices, etc.
The family plan bill for the 5 of us is high, and as soon as my "triple play"contract ends (phone, cable, tv) I will most likely get rid of my house phone. I willbe a little out of my comfort zone, but it really is a waste to have it with all the cell phones.

Sheri said...

I'd like for my kids to have phones so that there is instant communication. I like the "firefly" version that allows limited calling for young kids. However, I think that if a teenager is responsible and can understand and follow rules/boundries like no texting during dinner, than it's a great thing for them to have. My friend told her 12 year old if he wanted one, to save his money. He did, bought a phone, and has paid for it himself. The problem? Then it wasn't "currency". She felt that since HE had provided it, she couldn't take it away. So, for Christmas, he got the spiffy new phone he wanted on their plan, and now it IS currency!

One side note: I recently got asked out in a text message. I am WAY too old for that!! Pick up the phone and call me!

Courtney said...

I really think it depends on the situation. Like you said with the after school hours thing. I don't think all kids need one and if you are willing to take it away as a form of punishment then I think that says something about you too. Too many parents aren't and then they wonder why their spoiled brats threaten to kill them in their sleep with those guns, just sayin!

Dawn said...

I'm with nine year old is wanting a phone and I'm actually looking forward to getting her one. We use our cell phones for everything and the only reason we currently have a land line is for the kids to be able to call 911 in an emergency. I've sent my phone with my daughter when I've dropped her off places without makes me feel better knowing that she can call me whenever she wants.

tammy said...

I'm with you. The day that the school told my son the wrong bus to get on and I had NO IDEA WHERE HE WAS, freaked me out enough that I went right out and got him one. He doesn't use it all the time. He hates talking on the phone, but there have been times when it's come in handy, and even been necessary for him to have. I like knowing that if he needs to get a hold of me, he can.

Rosemary Bogdan said...

I think it's convenient for teens to have cell phones. We have pretty much made sure our teens had cell phones when they first started driving. I especially wanted my daughter to have one when she started driving. Didn't want to think of her on the side of the road and vulnerable, you know. We don't usually do it before then because they tend to run up too many minutes.
It' amazing how they communicate so technologically, isn't it. I remember instant messaging my daughter once and when she responded she told me she was in class! I couldn't believe it. She said everyone takes notes on their laptops and everyone is instant messaging!!
Too funny.

Journey of Truth said...

It depends upon the situation, but I believe once they start having a bit more independence (as in high school; part time job to pay for it).

I think kids look like a bunch of dingdongs texting each other - when they're in the same room or building. I don't want my kids thinking it is the normal way to communicate with people. I also don't like being in a public place and someone's on their Borg earpiece chatting away - they sound like and look like they are talking to me (or someone else in the near area). I have a cell I share with my husband. He uses it far more than me, but I absolutely hate it to tell the truth. I like not being at everyone's beck and call.

Helen E.M. Wright said...

I think that they are okay but there has to be many, many rules attached!!
(ex. not during school time, or family time, not while driving, etc...)

rthling said...

My kids are too young to need one, and being homeschooled, are not far from me at any given time. I'm not sure how the plan will play out in reality, but in my brain I am not planning on letting them have phones until they are driving on their own. At that time, I will want them to be able to reach me in an emergency.

bichonpawz said...

I totally agree that in today's world the kids need them. I would say at the age of 14. Maybe 13. Depends upon the maturity of the kid and the circumstances I think. It sure is a different world we live in today!!

Leah said...

I have every intention of letting Emily have a cell phone by the time she's in 5th/6th grade or so. It will be a bare bones model with limited minutes, but by the time she's old enough to be out and about in the neighborhood without my constant prescence, or staying after school for this and that, I want her to have a way to contact me or 911 (God forbid) if she needs help. I will feel a lot better knowing she has a way to contact me, but also that I have a way to contact HER. My hubby is less than impressed at the idea of giving her a cell phone at that point, but there will certainly be limitations to it's use while she's that young. And as she's older, we will probably have her contribute to the monthly charges of her phone and can allow more use of it at that point. I plan to do the same with the boys when they are older. And who knows, 5th grade is still 5 years away for Emily, so there may be some really awesome new piece of technology at that point and cell phones will be obsolete. LOL But as things stand NOW, no, I definately don't have a problem with kids having cell phones (though I would have an issue with young kids using them constantly, and I would NOT stand for texting at the dinner table)

The Boyds Family said...

Do they NEED them?? I don't know. I imagine there are some cases where they do need them. Like if they walk to and from school, or for after school activities. My daughter has one - she's eleven - but I keep a pretty tight reign on her use.

It was nice though, when she was down the street and all I had to do was text her and tell her that it was time to come home and along they came... :)