Friday, October 16, 2009

The Cell Phone Decision

“I have a cell phone – FINALLY!”

Those are the words (or something similar) spoken by my thirteen year old daughter, Hayley, upon receiving her new enV Touch. Being the little darling that she is (most of the time), she also gave her Daddy and me a BIG HUG and a big THANK YOU.

The wait was long. Her first request for a cell phone started when she was ten and in fifth grade; and my first response was a chuckle and a question back to her – “Do you have a job?”

As all of you know, she wanted a phone because other kids had a phone. I saw no reason for her to have one. It would merely be a toy for her, something to play games on, and of course, she would find someone to text.

Hayley’s routine consisted of school, piano lessons, school activities, the neighborhood pool, or a friend’s house. Wherever she was, there was a phone available - she could call me and I could call her. If I wasn't home, she could reach me on my cell, and I was always just ten minutes away.

My verdict – no phone necessary.

I knew we’d eventually get a phone for her; I just didn’t know when. I didn’t allow myself to be pressured by my daughter or other parents that wondered why Hayley didn’t have a phone “yet?” My criterion was “necessity.”

Hayley made the JV field hockey team. (Field Hockey Family, 09/25/09 post) There are daily practices, away games, team bonding events, and community service events. Her schedule is not as precise as it once was. She needs a phone; and now she has one.

Did you give-in to the “beg” or did you get your child a cell phone when it was needed? Be honest…I’ve given-in to the “beg” in other areas. :)

Oh…Hayley is trying to keep me from saying “telephone.”
“It’s a CELL PHONE!” she says with a slight tone.
So I slip up once in a while.


Menopausal New Mom said...

Good for you for holding out. There is nothing wrong with teaching your child that these phones are not toys and cost money. Sounds like through her activities and good marks, the phone was earned, a concept many children are not taught anymore.

Can't wait to read the comments from other moms out here and find out how they are coping with this request from their own children!


Anita said...

MENOMOM-DEB, Let me know when your little girl comes to you with the request. :)

I hope others will voice their opinion too.


InSeason Mom Cynthia said...

My daughter's only seven and she started asking for a real cell phone about a year about peer presssure! You made a wise decision to get your daughter a cell phone when she NEEDED it most. Like MenopausalNewMom said, "there is nothing wrong with teaching your child that these phones are not toys and cost money."

Anita said...

INSEASON MOM, I am not surprised to hear that your seven year old wants a phone. :)

There are probably households where a seven year old might need a phone, so I guess there are first and second graders that have them.

Thanks for visiting!

FOLLOWERS AND READERS,I know there are more opinions out there...

Unknown said...

I agree that they are expensive and unless they are willing to take a cut in their allowance, I wouldn't readily hand it over.

Maybe I'm old school but there were times when I was a kid that just because we wanted something, we didn't get it. The no was a no and that was that.

Anita said...

CHOCOLATE, When I was a kid, most things had to be earned too, although there were also fun surprises, "Just because..." I wanted a lot of things, but as I look back, I can't remember material things that I just had to have, except for a mini bike (a motorized miniture motorcycyle). My mom said, "absolutely not." Hindsight tells me that it wasn't that important.

Thanks for adding to the conversation.

ANYONE ELSE...everyone's thoughts are different.

Hilary said...

My kids never asked for cell phones. They knew on their own that it wasn't going to happen without the need. My older son got one for himself when he started University (a military college so he gets paid to learn .. he can afford it). My younger son has one since he's started working and ended up in different environments, so a phone was not always available. We cover that expense for him. I just don't think it would have happened at 13 - though I sure do get your reasoning. My younger one especially was incredibly careless at that age.

Anita said...

HILARY, thank you for adding another comment for the readers to think about. It made me think about a "true" need. Honestly, we didn't HAVE to have the phone for my daughter - life would NOT be horrible without it. :) But it has already helped, so I like the phone too.
Most parents justify the phone by saying that they need to know where their children are at all times and that they need to be able to reach them at any time.
It's amazing how we grew up without the phones. :) I guess parents just trusted that we had enough common sense to stay out of trouble and enough "know how" to get in touch with them or someone else if we needed them.
And you're right...I've known kids that have lost the phones, phones that have come out of pockets and fallen into the toilets, broken the phones, etc. But I know adults who've done these things too.
Also, the kids always want the latest phone with the latest gadgets within a year or two. They see parents switching out phones, cars, computers, etc. so they think they are entitled too.
I've said enough! :) The phone decision is not one of life's great decisions, but it is interesting to talk about. :)


Bernie said...

I think children should learn that they can't have everything they want. Some things are just too expensive and some are not appropriate. When I was teaching ,and especially in the junior high, I could not get over the expensive shoes even the poorest kids had to have and did. Michael Jordan's Air and some of the others for 80 to 100 dollars or more!!! And I am sure they are probably more expensive now.

Sharon said...

Oh, how I wish I didn't start this whole cell phone thing.
It started with my oldest (who is now 23). She is still on our phone plan, although she pays for her own line. I gave her her phone when she was in 10th grade. (Believe it or not, it was before texting!)

Then my second daughter. She is in her third year of college now, and pays for her line as well. I had given her a phone in 8th grade. It seemed like a necessity at the time.

Then my third daughter. She received her phone in the beginning of 7th grade. Too early, if you ask me, but she was asking for one in 6th grade.

Now my son is in 7th grade. And you know what? He said he didn't really need a cell phone. Thank God.

I wish that I waited until high school. Our cell phone bill (with 5 people on it) costs us an average of $175.00 a month. They are obsessed with their phones. I once threatened to go a week without cell phones, tv, or computers. The kids nearly had a heart attack.

Good grief. They are so "plugged" in, they forget what it's like to have real conversations (like in person), etc. Texting is really stupid. No more talking, period.

Oh well. If I could do over again, I wouldn't do it. But I feel stuck now.
(sorry for such a long post!)

Dorraine said...

Good to know I wasn't the only one who didn't cave into the cell phone craze until my kids were older and I couldn't keep track of them anymore.

They were about the age of yours. And guess what? I never had a cell phone either until they got theirs. Of course now I love it.

Anita said...

BERNIE, I'm sure you learned a lot about kids when you taught. I don't understand how some kids have so much either. I know that many parents have the money, but many do not. Are they using credit? We all have our prioirites, I guess.

Anita said...

SHARON, is that where I'm headed with my three kids? :) Oh no!

Seriously, I hope I can be wise in making the decision for my other two kids - a decision that should be no time soon!

And I hope they will maintain some of the interests they currently have which will keep them busy.

I can dream, can't I? :)

Thanks for telling me about the cells in your family. It helps to know these things.

And write a long comment anytime!

Anita said...

DORRAINE, my phone is a staple in my life, too. Funny thing - I hardly need to use it. I may have five incoming calls per week and probably about the same going out. I'm beginning to text, but that's extremely minimal too.
Now that my 13 year old has a phone, that will probably increase the usage a notch or two.

Minimal usage - but don't anyone dare try to take it away from me!!!

Thank you for your thoughts.


andrea said...

One option, which is what we did, was a prepaid cell phone. For $15/month my high school daughter gets unlimited texting and enough left over to make a few calls (she mostly texts anyway). I have a prepaid w/the same company. I may get my 12-year-old son one as well because he walks home from school. I decided for it when our middle school had a lock-down---it's a safety issue. Those classroom doors get locked and if a kid is in the bathroom or the hallways he has to try to run for a classroom before the teacher locks it. At least this way they could call for help. THat being said---I wouldn't get an expensive phone or plan for a teenager!!

Anita said...

It sounds like you're getting the best value for your family's particular needs. We all should follow your example. :)

My husband's occupation allows us to have a family plan, so we're good on having somewhat of an economical plan, but I did get the expensive phone - which I need to hurry and send in the paperwork to get my rebate, about 50% of the cost!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The information that we all pass along could be helping others with their various issues and decisions!


the mom said...

I don't think you've spoiled your daugher by getting her a a cellphone, she seems to need it! Kids in Sweden usually get their first when they start walking/riding the bus to school on their own, at 7-9yrs of age. I think that's OK. My seven years old, wants one of her own, but since she never goes anywhere by herself, we will not buy her one.
My three years old is obsessed with my Iphone, and asks me to buy one for him. He already knows how to use it, calls his dad and sends strange messeges (to my husbands boss among others).

Anita said...

Your three year old knows how to use a phone - wow!
Parents here start buying the phones at 7 years old too, but I think most start at about 11 years old.
You have the same idea I have- I'll but the phones when the kids need it.