What age do you think is appropriate for a child to have a cell phone?
I like to think of this blog as a place where us mamas can sit down over a cup of coffee and ask the hard questions…like this one. If you have school age kids, and you have mama friends, you no doubt have had this come up in conversation! The best is when you get to ask this question of a mama that’s a few steps ahead of you, one that has bravely walked that road. And even better? A girlfriend that is willing to be transparent with you about the good, the bad, and the ugly truth. That, my friends, is where I come in. My kids range in ages 11-21, so this is a well beaten path for me. But it’s also a path with many forks in the road because guess what? Technology changes fast my friends! When my older ones got phones in 5th grade, they had flip phones with texting capabilities that we didn’t activate. There was no Instagram, no SnapChat, and definitely fewer dangers. Certainly there was “sexting” and “internet creeps”, but these things were more easily monitored back then. So that begs the question, “When is it okay?” My answer shocks most, but I promised honesty. Here’s the deal, when the thought of your precious baby seeing pornography doesn’t make you want to vomit, then they’re ready. **Silence** I know, brutal huh? But’s it’s truth. It’s not an “if”, but a “when” it will happen. Maybe intentionally with a buddy, or maybe on accident, but rest assured, it WILL happen. Or what about your daughter being asked very bluntly for “Nudes”? Or your son being pressured to collect them? Yes, these things really are happening in ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!! This does not even scratch the surface of the dangers that are presented to our children through devices such as cell phones, Ipads, etc…
So what do we do for communication? First, I would ask why you are even considering it? I surely hope you aren’t falling for the “everyone else has one…” I assure you, “everyone” is shrinking as parents become educated on the dangers of these devices. However, at around the age of 11, most parents are starting to drop off kids at practices, let them ride bikes to the park unsupervised, and allow them a bit more freedom away from home. We often feel we then need to provide them a devise for communication… but does that automatically mean a cell phone? Most likely not. For us, it meant purchasing a “Gizmo” watch from Verizon. (Not Sponsored) We can pre-program the numbers that are able to be called, as well as activate GPS tracking. In addition this gives us an opportunity to teach the lost art of phone manners. Yes, that means PHONE CALLS. Phone manners may be a lost art among teens, but I assure you they are alive and well in the real world! I’ve also heard about the “comeback” of the flip phone! WHOOOHOOO!
Ok mamas, there it is! The brutal truth from one who has been there. Just wait…PLEASE! They are growing up too fast as it is, right? Let’s not hand them something that will rush the process faster than we can keep up with. Hugs, Alana