So with 4 kids in the house, two being 10 and 12, the topic of “when should we get our kids a cell phone” has come up. This has always been a discussion amongst parents with similar aged kids. It seems though when I look around, kids as young as 8 are given cell phones. Not just a cell phone, but usually its a newer iPhone. I don’t understand the reasoning behind this. Ok, you want to give your young kid a cell phone, great your “that parent”. Why does it have to be such an expensive one? Your seriously trusting your 8 year old with a $800 device? They do make phones for $50-100 dollars that you can give them. Just saying, there are options.
The way I look at cell phones and kids may not be the same way you look at them, which is totally fine. I see the reason to give a kid a cell phone is based on two thoughts. Needing one and wanting one. Wanting one stems from, “well Johnny has a phone, why don’t I”? Needing one being, where a kid actually needs one. Say if they are home alone, or they have sports or afterschool activities where they need to reach their parents or sitter. Its 2019, and most no longer have landlines.
The 12 year old has had a phone since he was 10 1/2. He only got a phone because his best friend moved from our town to PA. It was his only way of communicating with him. So for Christmas, he got a Windows phone. Yes a Windows phone because a) it was only $25 bucks and b) because it was only $25. I was not going to go out and give him the latest device from Apple or Samsung as most parents are doing these days. After about a year, I upgraded him to a used iPhone 5s that was around $80. Since most of his friends now had an iPhone, it was just easier for him to communicate with them. I also switched him to an iPhone because of the monitoring and control I could have on his phone. He was only 11 at the time. Again, he wasn’t given a brand new phone but a used phone. Throughout the times he had those two phones, they always stayed in our room. He really only used them to call his friend and to make stop motion videos. He also took care of them. Once he turned 12, his used iPhone was dying so I decided since he has done so well during the course of his new school getting high honors. I got him his first brand new phone, an iPhone XR. Yes this device is $750 but I got it as a promo if I bought one and added a second line. So basically its free. He never asked for it, but we decided as parents he needed a more reliable phone. His bus ride went from 10 mins to 45 mins coming from West Haven now. So having a phone that would hold a charge during this made it well worth the upgrade. We still monitor his device, it has screen time on it, he doesn’t sleep with it and so far, he has kept good care of it. I know some other parents out there just give there kid a cell phone and have no rules on it, no limits.
The 10 year old is another story. She currently does not have a phone and wont be getting one soon. We know most of her friends now have phones but she has no need to have her own phone. Again, this comes down to want and need. We know she wants one because she always asks us. She always says “well he got one when he was 10”. She’s referring to her brother but remember. He was only using it to talk to his friend. So until she truly needs one, she will be kept a kid a little while longer.
Just recently we were all out at a concert, which had lots of families. During the time of the concert, we walked from our location to the food trucks and back. A good majority of people including kids and adults were on their phones vs being in the moment of the outdoor concert. Not taking videos or pictures, just doing other things. Facebook, YouTube, messaging or just browsing. Put the phone down and enjoy being outdoors at this free concert. Your here for a reason. What got me mad was the amount of kids ages 8-13 I saw all had cell phones. Not just cheap phones but mostly new iPhones at that. They weren’t interacting with each other, there bodies were just there while their attentions were in the phone.
I remember my step-daughter going on a few sleepovers and coming back and saying to us “everyone was on their tablet/phone most of the night, it wasn’t fun”. Sleepovers are suppose to be fun, where you get to stay up late, play games, watch movies, whatever. Now sleepovers involve being on your phone the whole time or playing xbox all night.
Cell phones are great tools and help us everyday. There is always a place and time for them. When it comes to kids and cell phones is where it gets tricky. Every parent is different and this may always be an argument. Use your best judgement when giving your kid a phone. Don’t just give them a phone because everyone else they know have one. Make it count!
Lets have our kids be kids and remove them from the confines of their cell phone once and a while (if they have one). Lets get them back to doing this, instead of this.