Mom I want a phone!!!
As a mother of an 11 yr old daughter I am very nervous about giving into her demands for a cell phone and online accounts. A common response is that everyone else has one, to which I reply “ not everyone else is my daughter” . This only feeds the fire I think, because on a sleepover at a friend’s house she created an account on a social networking page without my knowledge. She used an email account she had set up for school and kept it hidden. When I found it, I proceeded to get the password and deactivate the account as punishment. Now she is asking for a cell phone and though I think it is a good idea I still have mixed feelings on letting her get one, due to her previous act.
In speaking with other parents about this same subject, I think most of us feel that way. We all want to protect our kids and at the same time give them the autonomy they need to develop into well rounded adults whom can make good decisions for themselves. The questions become are these tools good for our kids? What lessons could be learned by our children from them?
I was pondering the pros and cons one day and decided that there are good things to come from use of these devices. Sounds crazy but spelling and grammar, I know your thinking text messages do not contain correct spelling. I think the more writing in any form will help them improve those skills. My kids have to go on the internet to do spelling homework every week and they have fun with it. Communication, with my daughter this age I am very worried about not having open lines to adults that may help her with any problem she may come up against. I think it could teach her some responsibility and important budgeting fundamentals, through the limits I would have to place on her phone and text usage.
There are also the cons to using these things. I think all the parents I have discussed this with all have concerns over safety. I don’t see a cell phone as dangerous as the internet sites. We all hope our children will never have to learn the hard way that people can be very untruthful when the internet is involved. I think most parents are looking at cost too. Maybe it is only ten bucks a month, but how many phones are you going to have to buy in that year. I am sure some kids are great with taking care of the phone, but I have heard stories from friends of kids jumping into water with the phones or leaving them out to be ruined. The question is can my child handle these downfalls to having this technology?
I think in the end it comes down to the limits you set and the way you enforce those limits. I am still deciding what those should be not only for her but for her siblings in the future. Do I change them for each kid based on personality? Things like limiting friends,to very few and only adults we trust having contact. I think I also having the passwords and access to the phone will make these things helpful in our lives. I would love to hear what other parents have to say!