Friday, November 29, 2013

When Is the Right Time for a Cell Phone? (guest post)

Today is Black Friday, I'm taking a little break from the production of The Kerrie Show, and we have a guest post by HB Redbird. She also provided a great piece for me about doing back to school uniquely here. Check it out!

When Is The Right Time for a Cell Phone?

I think the hardest part of parenting is acknowledging that children are growing up in a different age than we are. This is apparent by parents who no longer allow their children to walk to school, or bike wherever their hearts desire. It is also becoming clear to me that parents have a harder time deciding when to let children branch out with technology.

My children range in age from one year to ten years. My children are better with computers than I am, and I thought I was good with personal computers. The older two, aged ten and eight, love computers and cell phones. We have a family computer to allow them the ability to email family members, and keep their own blog. So, when is it okay to allow children to have their own phones?

We see children in first and second grade carrying their own phones, and we feel that it is too young. My husband and I had originally planned to allow phones at the age of 13, but now I think that may be too old. My children are prolific on our Smartphones, playing games, sending text messages, and using the internet to research on the road. Are eight and ten year olds responsible enough to have a phone of their own? How does one keep them safe from those who have only evil thoughts racing through their minds? This is where we are not sure which direction to go.

·         Able to communicate with friends without stealing our phone
·         Can play games that expand brain power
·         Can call us when they are needing picked up after school
·         Call them when needed
·         Research on the go

These pros come from our current experiences with our older children. My daughter is very prolific with texting, and she loves communicating with my family. She also has a few friends and cousins that have cell phones, so having one would allow her to communicate with them. She is also always stealing my phone to play Draw Something, and other games that require her to think. We also regularly hand our phones over to both of the children to allow them to use Google to work on their homework on the drive home from school.

·         Increase phone bill
·         Access to evils on the cyber world
·         Unauthorized purchases or subscriptions

My pocket book screams when I think about allowing my children to have access to a phone of their own. Will they understand the limitations on usage? Will they purchase games or subscribe to text messages that will affect the bill? Will they get onto sites that they really should not be on? I understand that most of these cons come with both years of trust and parenting. We can let a child learn by experience that purchasing games require money by making them pay for it. Same with having them go over their minutes, but the OCD in me really has trouble with relinquishing that control.

Therefore, we are back to the beginning questions. When is it appropriate to allow your child to get a phone and join your family plan? We are beginning to think that eight years old is not too young. Are we wrong? My husband and I are not yet sure.

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