It’s not a matter of age when a child gets a cellphone but more of a matter of responsibility. I have an extremely responsible 11 year old who happens to stay home by herself and she still doesn’t have a phone. Surprisingly, family and friends ask me why she doesn’t have one.
I understand that things aren’t what they used to be and it’s acceptable for an 8, 9 or 10 year old to have their own smartphones but not in my house. After seeing children on phones here’s a few reasons why mine won’t be getting one anytime soon.
Smartphones kill your child’s innocence and bring drama. I’ve seen texts and snapchats and instagrams of kids my daughter’s age. Not to mention the worst social media for middle schoolers, musically. He said, she said, no she said, he said. She went to her house, they didn’t invite you. Quick let me send a snap to the one girl I didn’t invite to my party so her feelings are hurt. Then let’s text about a boy or girl and send a screenshot it to that person and backstab all our friends. Guess what, if you don’t have a phone you don’t see the snaps or texts and you essentially stay out of drama.
Lack of creativity
Sometimes my kids’ friends come over and they sit on the phone the whole fucking time. My daughter was even annoyed at her own party because everyone was on their phone. Then when I suggest “why don’t you make up some skits or a play etc,” what do they do- look up how to do it on their phones. Hello, use you’re imagination, you are children. Better yet Do a puzzle, play board games, go outside. I can think of a million ideas for children to do without using a phone and so can my kids because they don’t have a phone. I love when the neighborhood friends just happen to ride their bikes over here and they play outside for hours and never ask me “what should we do” they only ask me “can you tell me when it’s 5:25 because I have to be home for dinner at 5:30.” I’m pretty sure that’s how childhood should work.
But what about:
Staying home alone
Yes, my kids were latchkey kids until I quit my job again. They aren’t that deprived, we do have an iPad the whole family shares. With that they can FaceTime me if they need me. We have a plan and really awesome neighbors for emergencies. Depending on where you live, did you know you can dial 911 from disconnected landlines. They don’t stay home for long periods of time anyways. Not having a phone while staying home alone has probably taught them to be more aware of their surroundings rather than being attached to a phone and unaware of what’s going on around them.
Playing sports or after school activities
My kids do this without a phone. Shouldn’t there always be an adult present until all children are picked up. My guess is the adult in charge has a phone to get a hold of a parent if the bus from the game gets back early or if practice gets cut short. I know, what an inconvenience for a coach to have to contact a parent.
Final pet peeve of kids having cellphones:
What made me write this post is how annoyed I was that my 10 year old (using the iPad) arranged with her friend a sleepover at my house. I mean, I did say it was ok but I figured the mother would contact me or wait forme to text her it’s ok before just dropping her kid off at my door without even getting out of the car to hello, especially since I don’t even know her. Maybe I’m crazy but before I drop my 10 year old somewhere for the night I’m going to at least check with the parent they’re staying at that it’s ok. I may not always go to the door but I at least call or text to say we’re on the way.
All that being said, I do let my kids wander the neighborhood and have no clue where they are most of the summer. Maybe a cellphone would be good instead me driving around looking for their bikes or calling everyone I know wondering if they’ve seen my kid.
Side note I should change every time I wrote “cellphone” to “smart phone” because I gave them an opportunity to have a flip phone that only does talk and text and they declined it.
Here’s a list of best tween girl gifts that doesn’t include a phone.