“Mom, so … when can I get a cellphone?”
Our almost-10-year-old asks me that question every so often, and he knows my answer.
“13, when you’re a teenager.”
“But (so-and-so) has a phone, and (so-and-so) has one, too!”
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“I don’t care about them. Well, I care about them, but I’m not their parent, I’m yours. You don’t need one yet.”
“What if I want to call you?”
“From Nana or Sean’s house.”
“Ask Nana or Sean’s dad to call me.”
A survey by vouchercloud.net reveals that the average American child gets his or her first cellphone at age 6! Excuse me, 6?
Me? I got my first cellphone when I was 17, bought by my boyfriend (now husband). Before that, if my parents wanted to know where I was, they had to wait until I got home.
I know, I know, times have changed.
Although I made it out alive during my cellphone-less teenage years, I can see how some lives may have been saved by having one. But at age 6? I’d like to hear some stories of how a cellphone carried by a 6-year-old saved a life.
I sort of get it. Safety reasons.
But why would a 6-year-old be somewhere without an adult? The National Safe Kids Campaign recommends that no child younger than 12 be left at home alone.
There is never an instance when our son is alone. Not even when I have to run up the street to the grocery store. I’m not even comfortable with him riding a bike around the neighborhood alone.
We drive him to and from school, and when he needs a ride from someone else, we have that person’s phone number. When his nana picks him up, he grabs her phone and sends me a text: “Hi I’m out of school :)”
I can get in touch with him wherever he is, so, would the cellphone be for safety reasons or for social reasons?
I’d say his social life is just fine the way it is. Recess, check. Baseball practice/game buddies, check. Occasional sleepover with buddies, check.
Actually, I can see how a cellphone at an early age could damage a child’s social life. Say the wrong thing on social media and your image is ruined.
Our son’s school doesn’t allow cellphone use during class, so what good is it to take one to school when it might get broken after slamming the backpack down on the ground?
Some cellphone apps ask to know your location. That doesn’t seem safe to me.
I tell my son, “Wanna play games, play music or watch videos? Use your tablet or the computer.” “But MOM!”
A cellphone is a potent communication tool. I use mine every day, not only to make and receive calls and texts, but also to stay organized and informed.
But I’m an adult.