My girls are 13 and 11 years old. They do not have cellphones and won't any time soon. Here are the top 5 reasons why:
1 - Cellphones are danged expensive.
I don't care what plan you have; I don't care how much data you get. Coming up with the money it takes to furnish a family of 4 with cellphones puts a huge dent in any budget.
My kids also cannot run up a bill on a phone they don't have. They have unlimited time with real people. That's worth more than any unlimited talk and text plans available on a cellphone.
2 - Cellphones are a distraction from schoolwork and family time, and my kids already have too many.
Kindles, Netflix, iPods, TV, xBox and Wii are all available for use in our home. School is back in session, though, and they need to focus on getting homework done.
We, as a family, need to sit together at dinner and eat together, say grace over the meal, share the events of our days with each other, laugh, burp, fart and be kinda grody - ya' know, be a family. Technology is not allowed at the table. That's family time and communication time, face-to-face, for real and up-close-and-personal.
3 - Cellphones interfere with kids learning important decision making skills.
When I was a kid, the closest thing to a cellphone we had was a dime and a pay phone. It worked wonders for communicating, but it wasn't terribly convenient.
However, it did force us to make decisions on our own.
I remember being sent to the store with a $20 bill and my mom saying, "Go get me <insert brand name> diced tomatoes for the sauce I'm making. Better make it two." Off I went, on foot, by myself with 20 bucks in my pocket.
When I got to the store, the brand name my mom wanted wasn't there. They just didn't have any of that brand. Now, I had a dilemma. Did I choose a different brand of diced tomatoes, or did I go home empty-handed and tell her they didn't have any?
Mom was very frugal AND she needed diced tomatoes, so I bought two cans of a different brand. I didn't call home. I didn't take a photo of what they did/didn't have and post it on Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat and wonder publicly what to do. I didn't Facetime or text my mom to ask her what I should do; I made a decision and I owned it.
When I got home and gave her the tomatoes, she was grateful I hadn't come home empty-handed. I learned how to make decisions about small things, making it easier to have confidence in making decisions about the big things. Our kids lose out on that, because they can constantly be in touch with us. So, when it comes time to make life decisions, their skills and confidence are lacking.
4 - Cellphones (texting, mostly) are killing our ability to spell, use correct grammar and communicate face-to-face.
OMG. SMH. BRB. L8R. CYA. TTYL. ICYMI. IMHO. IRL. - This is text speak. OMG, SMH, I can't stand it! If you don't understand some of these (or maybe all of them), you are probably from my generation or older. I hate this. When did we get so lazy that we stopped being able to type real words? IKR? OMG!
Words are comfort food for the spirit and soul. Words will transport you to other worlds, and words will elicit unexpected feelings and emotions in the reader; words can bring people together, or words can tear them apart. Acronyms for words do not have the same impact.
5 - Cellphones will get you killed if you make bad decisions with them.
Cellphones give a teen/tween (or younger) WAY too much access to adult content and really, really bad people. Often times in the news I hear about kids meeting someone in cyberspace, "falling in love" and running off to meet that person.
This is a scary scenario since the youngster has no idea who he or she is really talking to. Parents, if your child has a cellphone, be actively paying attention to the content and contacts on your kids' phones.
Cellphones contribute to car accidents, too. Texting, snapping selfies, taking videos, chatting on the phone all create dangerously distracted driving situations. Teens are too new to driving to have distractions like that.
When I was learning to drive, I wasn't even allowed to turn on the radio. "Pay attention to the other drivers and to your own driving," my dad would say. "You can listen to the radio in your bedroom."
Here in Illinois, it's illegal to talk on your cellphone while driving, unless you're hands-free. Let's get something clear - HANDS FREE doesn't mean "holding it in your right hand while you drive with your left and the call is on speakerphone." That's not hands free. Hands free is bluetooth, or speaker phone with the phone in a bracket. That's hands-free.
It's also illegal to text while driving, period. No exceptions. If you are texting while sitting at a red light and your car is still in drive, you are texting while driving. If you choose to text while in your car, be sure to put the vehicle in "P" (park) prior to picking up your phone.
Better yet - PUT THE PHONE DOWN! Are your life events really that important that they won't keep for a little while as you focus on driving safely? You aren't good at it. No, you're not, so put the phone down and leave it there until you get to your next location.
...my kids are involved in after school activities! Mine, too. We communicate before school and make arrangements. I watch for updates via Twitter and email from the school about weather cancellations, time changes, etc. There is an office phone the kids can use to call home if necessary.
...I work! Both my husband and I do, too. That still doesn't mean the kids need cellphones.
...I want to check up on them. Stop being a helicopter parent. I was a free range kid, as were 95% of us growing up in the 1970's and 1980's - there just wasn't a fancy catch phrase or nosy neighbors complaining back then.
...they need to know how to use it when they get older. Really? How old were you when you got your first cellphone? I was around 27 years old. Anyone at any age can learn how to use the technology properly.
So there you have the 5 reasons why my kids don't have cellphones and won't any time soon. However, I reserve the right to track them via GPS locater on a cellphone when they start driving. Just sayin.
Romans 12:2 (NLT)
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Do your kids have cellphones, or not?
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