Sunday, April 17, 2011

Why Our Kids Don't Have Cell Phones

Okay, I can hear the outcry already...

Contrary to public opinion, we are not bad parents for not allowing our teenagers cell phones. Our kids, 16 and almost 15, have never had their own cell phones and we don't plan on allowing it in the near future. For a while they did have my old phone to share for a few months to take when they went out. The phone was on a pre-paid plan and I quickly learned it was a huge waste of money and the experiment ended in short order.

Both Husband and I have cell phones for our jobs as it's essential equipment for both of our lines of work and we are both on call basically 24/7. Believe me sometimes I wish I could smash the things, but for us it's a necessary evil.

Son used to ask quite often for a cell phone, but has given up over the past few years. I think he realizes that should he need to use a phone, he can usually borrow one from a friend.

Daughter on the other hand is still pestering us for one. She sees all her friends have cell phones and thinks she needs one too. Perhaps it is the texting that is so alluring. Though a couple of years ago she had some friends over and she became extremely frustrated because she wanted to do something fun, and instead the girls sat around texting on their phones and pretty well ignored her. A double edged sword; you can't have it both ways.

Our reasoning for denying the kids cell phones - it is unnecessary, and an unnecessary extra expense. Both of our children have good heads on their shoulders, and should they need to get in touch with us they will almost always be able to borrow a phone. I know a lot of people purchase phones for their children citing it as a security measure, but I'm confident that we have taught our children how to handle themselves should trouble arise. I don't always wear rose coloured glasses and I know that issues can arise that children can't handle, but will a cell phone truly help when Mom and Dad are far away? I'd rather have kids that are independant and can think things through themselves, and I'm proud to say it has worked well so far!

We also want our children to be social and be able to communicate with others face-to-face and in a proper manner. Social media and texting is fine to an extent - but it is not fine when kids lose basic communication skills. I can't get over how many people can't even answer a telephone properly, or know how to really speak over the phone anymore (and it is not just children!)


Rueby... said...

Good on you! My deal will be, eventually, that they can have a phone whenever they can pay for it entirely themselves. That was how I was raised; discmans were the huge thing in 6th grade but my parents would not buy me one. I was allowed it, but had to babysit for it and I was encouraged to buy the best quality one as it was a lasting investment. And it was, I didn't have to replace it for 5 years and only then because I dropped it one too many times!

Phones weren't around for the masses quite yet when I was a teenager (I'm only 25!) and I didn't want one until I came home from living in Europe at 18. I think I got one when I was 19. I had one up until a year and a half ago...then decided I didn't need it and went with a landline (and 3 rotary phones. I don't have any buttons!) Now that I'm back in University though, I decided it was far easier to meet people and have a LIFE with a cell I have a $20 plan which is 99% for texting. And depending on the people I am seeing the most, that ebbs and flows. The guy I'm seeing doesn't use his phone at all, yet oddly we only ever text or meet in person...a phone call would be good now and then!

Carpe Diem said...

Hi Rueby! Thanks for the comment. It's good to hear a younger person' point of view (and not a teenagers!) I think Husband and I are still in the "there weren't cell phones around when we were kids and we're still alive" attitude.

WhiteMountainFibers said...

I'm 24. I started having a cell phone at 16 to call home to pick me up after cross country practice, which never had a regular ending time. I bought my phone and paid all of the bills. I never used it for texting or calling friends, that's what the house phone was for! I ended up getting a larger plan and better phone when I went to college, mostly to call home and call old friends. I still don't use my cell phone much. I use the internet a lot more. My family got AOL dial-up when I was in high school so that I could actually get my homework done. Now that I have high speed internet, I use that most of the time for keeping in touch with friends, looking up information, and scheduling appointments.
When I have kids, they will have to pay for a cell phone, if they want one!

Carpe Diem said...

Thanks for your comment White Mtn.
Like I said earlier it is good to hear different points of view - especially from younger people. Daughter could possibly afford her own phone, but the plans in Canada are still rather expensive compared to the US. In fact I think Canada has the highest rates in the world for cell phones.