As you drop your child off for school consider this:
What happens if there is a shooter in the school? A stranger when your kid is walking to a friends? Or you don’t get out of work on time to pick them up from school? Do you want your kid to have a cell phone or not?
Why create this blog?
I have created this blog for parents who are trying to decide when (or if) to give their child a cell phone. When is the appropriate age? How much do you spend? What restrictions are there? And even what kind of phone to give them?
I am going to start off with some info about me.
I am finishing my Junior year at St. John Fisher College majoring in Communications with a minor in Psychology. I am sure most of you reading this are thinking – hey, your just a kid yourself and that you shouldn’t be giving parents advice when you are not a parent.
Well to that I say, you are right – I am not a parent and cannot tell you what to do or not. Instead, I can give you facts and opinions and let you make the decision yourself, so here I go.
First, let’s start with some straight facts.
According to Media Mark “twenty percent of U.S. children age’s six to eleven currently own a cell phone, up from 11.9 percent of children in 2005.” Why is this?
Well for one it’s this.
Toy makers create all these cute little phones for parents to buy their kids. Parents buy their kids these and once they reach 5 years old they no longer want a ‘baby’ phone, but instead say – “MOM I WANT A REAL PHONE.”
So after the ‘baby’ phone comes the first real phone to buy your kid.
This phone has been designed by Verizon specifically for kids. It has the 4 programmable buttons which allows parents (YOU) to choose the 4 numbers your kid can call. The middle red button with the hand is 911. The green button is to send, and the red button is to end a call. This is simple enough so almost any kid can use it, and makes a parent feel safe that their kid can’t call numbers they don’t know.
Why are children wanting and apparently getting cell phones? (According to the above statistic)
Because they are cool. Cell phone manufacturers know what kids want, and they are producing exactly that. For instance kajeet is a cell phone service made jsut for kids. All the phones are kid friendly and they have plans that are pay by the month (no contracts) and allow for parents and kids to split the bill online. There are also parent-friendly settings that can limit the number of texts and calls and even allows parents to choose which numbers their child can call/text. There is additional features such as the GPS locator, and even what time of day the phone can be used.
This is the new Sanyo 2700, which is also available in blue for $149.99
Don’t think that all of Kajeet’s phones are as expensive as that one – their phones start as low as $19.99
Why buy your kid a cell phone?
I know it is expensive and seems unnessecary, but is it really? Watch this video.
I hope that is just one reason to prove to you as parent that you can feel more safe just by giving your child a cell phone.
Why do kids want cell phones?
You may still be wondering, why would my kid want a cell phone if I am just going to be mointoring them all the time? Well according to Parenting Matters there are four main reasons why kids want cell phones: cool, peers, ability to call parents, and emergencies. Of course texting and being able to contact friends is important as well to most kids.
Some bad stuff about giving your child a cell phone
going over texts/call (big bills)
What?! Giving your kid a cell phone is going to give them a BRAIN TUMOR?
Okay – no, calm down. After considerable research, their has been no statistics proving cell phones cause brain tumors.
According to this site it shows that cell phones are about as dangerous as microwaves and televisions – so don’t go freak out and think you have a brain tumor just because you use a cell phone.
So maybe you haven’t been keeping up with the news and you have NO IDEA what sexting is. Well here is a definition according to the online dictionary:
“act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically”
This is done mainly by teens 13-18, and of those about 45% said they have participated by either taking or recieving a picture. As a parent you are probably freaking out right now. That is almost 1 in every 2 kids. Who is to say your kid is going to be the one who gets/recieves those dirty pictures? Well, you are.
As a parent you have the option to teach your children about sexting before it happens. Explain to them the risks, both legal and social. If you send a picture you are no longer in control of it and it can be sent all around school, and if sent to the wrong person it can be taken to the police and the child can be charged with producing or distributing child pornography. So just be honest and tell them. If they understand this, I doubt they will even consider taking a picture. And if they choose to be one of the ones who decide to send/recieve those texts than they will know their consequences.
So you’ve heard it all – the good, the bad and the ugly. Now what?
Well, I say buy your kid a cell phone. I know I’m not a parent, but I’m an aunt, a babysitter, a cousin, and a neighbor to a lot of kids and I get it. I am not saying spend $200 and get your kid the fanciest phone with apps and internet and unlimited texting – because that is just crazy.
I recommend getting them a kajeet phone, or the phone pictured above by Verizon. Get them a phone that they can start with and handle. Don’t upgrade until they are ready and make sure they only have the stuff they truly ‘need’ on their phone, and that doesn’t include texting. And just remember the story I opened with when choosing to buy your kid a phone or not.