I ask myself these questions daily, “What did we do years ago before cell phones?” “How did we survive?” Now, without cell phones, we can’t function.
With the news about AT&T's planned acquisition of T-Mobile, I've been reminded at how much cell phones have taken over our daily lives and, in this case, my children's.
I provided each one of my kids with a cell phone once they reached the eighth grade. My belief at that time was that each of my kids would be left to attend their after-school program and would, at times, take public transportation home. I wanted to ensure they had a way of contacting me in case of an emergency.
Years ago when my kids were given their cell phones, they were nothing fancy. They were the standard little flip phones. Now, there are many choices among the standard flip phones, smartphones and iPhones. There are so many out there that I cannot keep up. Our kids these days sure can.
Do our kids really need these upgraded devices, such as an iPhone or a BlackBerry? For what? My daughter, who is a college student, has a BlackBerry and she convinced me that this would be beneficial for her to have due to receiving email notifications from her school and sorority. I concurred, and she got what she wanted. My middle child, who is a senior in high school, is fine with his standard “boring” phone; however, my youngest who is a sophomore in high school is holding out for that BlackBerry, and it tends to be a daily discussion. As I have told him recently, he will be holding out for a long time.
In conversing with my youngest child, I’ve asked him, “What on earth do you need a BlackBerry for?” He’s not in college yet, he’s not a businessman, there are no email notifications that he would receive that wouldn’t require or need my attention. His response, “So I can get on the Internet.” Well, he has a computer at home, as well as an iPod Touch, which does the same. Why would he now need a phone to log on to the Internet? There’s no good reason.
I believe that we, as parents, must draw the line somewhere. Yes, these are fun and fancy phones, they look great, the kids feel “cool” with them, but look at it practically: What high school, or even middle school and younger, child needs mobile access to the Internet and email? For what reason?