8.19.2010

Reason #472 That My Boy Is Living A Sad Life: Cell Phone Edition


My boy started the fourth grade last Thursday. With one week under his belt, things seem to be off to a good start. He likes his teacher, Ms. W., and is elated to have one of his very best buddies in class with him. Life is good...

Well, except for the part where the hubby and I refuse to get the boy his own cell phone. We're mean like that.

According to the boy, "almost everyone" in the fourth grade has a cell phone. While I think this might be a slight exaggeration, I have been surprised by just how many kids have their own phones. My best guesstimate would be that at least 50% of his nine and ten-year-old classmates have a mobile device.

Are you as shocked as I am?
I guess I didn't realize that a nine-year-old would need the latest iPhone app to learn long division.

I understand that some parents have a legitimate reason for buying their fourth grader a cell phone. In many cases, both adults are working and they need to have a way to get in touch with their child. I am sure that many parents simply like the peace of mind that comes with knowing they can reach their child at a moment's notice. For others, the kid probably asked for a phone and the parents happily obliged.

When I was a child, I used to carry a few quarters in my backpack in case I needed to call home. If I wanted to play with a friend, I either called the house or walked/rode my bike over and knocked on their door. Now days, kids simply whip out their cell phones and text away.

This trend seems to propagate a far more relaxed attitude among the parents. The assumption is that if the child gets into trouble, they will call. If the parents want to locate their child or find out what they are doing, they can send a quick text message.

Schools have even begun to assume that every student has a cell phone and have cut back drastically on the information being given to the parents.

As I was talking to the hubby last night, I was struck by how many parents seem to be in a hurry for their kids to grow up. Meanwhile, I'm wishing that I could slow the whole process down a bit by simply digging in my heels. I want my boy to stay a boy for as long as possible. Lord willing, he will have sixty or seventy years to be a man.

Another thing that the hubby and I have been talking about is how, as a society, we seem to be drifting away from having actual relationships. So many people live their lives exclusively online though email, texting, Twitter and Facebook. Contrary to what some may believe, they are poor substitutes for real human relationships.

I will agree that all of those things have their place. I have personally enjoyed catching up with some old friends via Facebook. I send emails, write this blog, tweet occasionally, text with my hubby and friends, and have a Blackberry which gives me unlimited access to it all.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I want my son t
o value talking over texting, and spending time with friends over just keeping in touch on Facebook. I want him to enjoy good old fashioned face-to-face relationships. Most importantly, I want my nine-year-old to be a kid.

How about you? What are you thoughts on kids and cell phones and all this technology that is available today? I would love to hear what you have to say.

4 comment(s). Leave yours!:

Heather said... Best Blogger Tips

Right there with you darlin! If you think the boy is in the minority over there in elementary school, check out how many middle school kids have cell phones. I'm pretty sure my 6th and 8th graders are the only kids in their whole school without a phone. A dismal existence indeed...
I do notice that my girls read a whole lot more than many of their peers. I wonder if there is a connection...I mean, they are obviously so starved for something to do, the poor things have to go to the library!

Antique Mommy said... Best Blogger Tips

I hear what you are saying and I have mixed feelings. We carry the world around in our pocket and yet we are more disconnected than ever. Having said that, I like having a phone, though I seldom use it and I'll probably get one for my kiddo at some point so we can enjoy the false sense of security that it would provide.

shoutingforha said... Best Blogger Tips

AM,

Like you, I fully plan to get my son a phone at some point. The jury is still out on when that will be. I have a sneaking suspicion that it will probably be sooner than I originally thought it would be.

As much as I dislike the fact that his peers are carrying around cell phones, in some respects, it makes me feel all the more compelled to get my boy one too. The reason... It's not because I want to cave in to his wishes or keep up with the Joneses, so to speak. I simply don't want him to have to rely on another child or their somewhat detached parents in the event of an emergency. I want him to have a direct link to the hubby and me at all times.

The irony of this is not lost on me.

Nana Ha said... Best Blogger Tips

Hang tough, Mrs. Ha...no cell phone for the 4th grader. School will call you in an emergency.

Ask Mr. Ha if he remembers Nana Ha saying and sticking to it: "You are not everyone" and "No leather sneakers until Jr. High."

Back in the day, $70 a pair was out of sight and when I had to buy two at the same time (Uncle Ha same age), I couldn't afford it.

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