With my daughters now in third and fifth grades at in San Rafael I can hear the distant ring of a cell phone, and that cell phone tolls for my family.
I’m hoping to keep my distance between the kids and cell phones as long as possible, at the very least until they get into . If they needed cell phones that would be one thing, but at this point we pretty much know exactly where they are at all times and how to get in touch with them. So why should they have cell phones?
Currently the most compelling argument my older daughter can come up with is the fact that all her friends have them. When pressed to name names, very few come to mind. Still I know there is going to be enormous pressure on them to keep up with their friends who will join the wired ranks, and having a cell phone is cool. When a child gets a cell phone though, particularly one with Internet access, I believe it becomes infinitely more difficult to make sure they aren’t getting themselves into cyber trouble. See Gabrielle Cullen's insightful San Rafael Patch article from last week .
Then there’s the question about what kind of effect do cell phones and their radiation have on our kid’s forming minds? I try to limit the amount of time my daughters spend on my phone, and it’s really no more than a few minutes every couple of days. I’ve also been training them to use the speaker phone, so they are learning to alienate others at an early age. Seriously though if they were to spend a lot of time on the phone, and if they had their own they likely would, then the health questions would be more important.
The really cool thing to me about the smart phones is that owning one is like having a computer in your pocket. My iPhone picks up my email, surfs the Internet, keep notes on a pad that helps me stay organized and it’s even got a calendar. I’ve used my iPhone to take pictures, it’s got a stop watch and I’ve got an app to keep track of the San Francisco Giants and 49er game day action. Believe or not I still use it to call people too! My kids play computer games on the iPhone which they’ve downloaded onto it, and I’m sure that’s one of the most compelling reasons why they want a phone.
Perhaps one of the biggest bonuses for kids is the texting capability. I have an unlimited texting plan on my phone because of my business, and I’m sure my kids will go text crazy once they have their own phones. As far as I’m concerned, as long as their texts are not malicious in any way then the texting will be good for them. I see the opportunity to text as a chance to practice and improve spelling, as long as they don’t lean too heavily on the acronyms.
All that being said I’d prefer to wait until my daughters are in high school before they get cell phones. At their age that’s literally an eternity away, so I’m holding them off one year at a time.
If you are a parent of a Vallecito Elementary School child and your child doesn’t need a cell phone, please do myself an all the other holdouts a favor and don’t get your child a cell phone. Just say no to your kids who want cell phones, otherwise it just gets more difficult for the rest of us.