When Should I Get My Child a Cell Phone?

Cell Phones - When Is Enough, Enough!

Cell Phones – When Is Enough, Enough!

When is the right time to get my child a cell phone? I am a big advocate of having an emergency cell phone for my child. However, I am puzzled when I see teenagers and younger children who no longer seem to communicate other than with their cell phones. I have seen groups of teenagers walking or hanging out together and no one is talking, they all have their heads bent over their phones. What has social communication come to if everyone ignores one another when they get together and just play with their phones? Why even get together when they could just sit at home and text each other? Coming from an age where we didn’t even have cordless phones never mind cell phones I just don’t get it! (Not that I am dating myself here and from my parents point of view they probably wished they could have given me a cell phone sometimes)

I totally understand the parents reasoning for getting their child a cell phone. It is important for us to know if our child was ever in need of help they could call someone and get it. With all the cell phones around these days it can be very difficult to even find a pay phone so sending them with quarters would be a waste of time.

When my kids were 9 or 10 and were starting to walk to school on their own with their friends I felt they needed some means of communicating with me, especially if there was a problem on the way home or if they wanted to go over to a friends house after school. I searched around for a cell phone plan that would be economically reasonable and would not encourage them to be on the phone all the time.

I discovered that 7eleven has a speak out, pay as you go phone plan and in it you can buy a phone for $50 then buy $25 worth of minutes and they last for 365 days. So, for roughly $25 a year my kids had an emergency phone that they could use to communicate when needed. The phones were nothing like the tablet phones out now so it was more challenging to text. Texting also cost .30 cents each so they were discouraged from texting or making a lot of phone calls. Our deal was if they went through the minutes too fast they had to contribute to the next purchase of minutes for the phone. What the 7eleven phone did provide was an emergency phone when needed and it allowed me to get in touch with them if there was an urgent message.

People miss out on a lot in life when they walk around glued to their cell phone. Face to face Communication with others becomes a challenge. There is a great YouTube video on a Poem called “Look Up” by Gary Turk that sends an important message to everyone on how cell phones are affecting our lives. I would highly recommend checking it out especially if you or your child are already addicted to a cell phone. Is it not better to teach our children to communicate face to face rather than text to text? I believe it is and the face to face social skills they learn today will better equip them for the real world when looking for their first job or going to a college interview.

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The information on this site is based on the personal experience of the author. There are no guarantees of a perfect method to raise a child, it is all trial and error. Please feel free to try some of the suggestions on this site and let me know how you make out. If you would like to use any words or pictures from this blog please contact me for written permission. © 2013

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