Little Woman wants a cell phone, she’s been bugging me for a year now, just because “all my other friends have one.” As if I don’t have enough to worry about in these pre-teen years, specifically boobs, boys and hormonal tantrums. Now this. My answer has been and will be for years:
When she first asked me for a phone, I looked at her like she were a child on crack, and my face contorted into shapes I never knew I was capable of. “A phone? Are you kidding me?!” The request was preposterous and I quickly shut that party down. Yet I kept hearing stories about so-and-so in her class who uses it to call their parents for one reason or another. “See mom, I can call you incase of an emergency and so you can keep track of me!”
Oh she tried. She tried so hard. But then I met a few of her friends, with their $400 dollar iPhones in their tiny little pre-pubescent hands. Calling their parents was the last thing they were doing! With full access to the Internet, their ass was all over the internet; facebooking, texting, tweeting, even on Pinterest! Um, you’re 10-effing-years old, what the hell do you have to Pinterest about?! HELLO!
But this got me thinking. I can’t really blame the kids, they are the product of their environment and have such an immature understanding of how things work. But the parents – what the hell are they thinking giving a child a cell phone??
Call me old school, but if I needed to call my parents when I was 10, I would walk to the front office. If I were sick, the school nurse would call my parents for me. If my mom wanted me home for dinner, she would yell out the front door. If my friends were hanging out at my house and wanted to stay longer, they would use my phone to get permission. It was that simple.
When I turned 15, I got a work permit and acquired my first job. I worked bussing tables at this shitty little diner on the South Side of Chicago, making a few extra bucks a day. But I loved it. It allowed me the freedom to buy any ridiculous piece of 80’s clothing and as many Duran Duran albums that I wanted. I treasured every dollar I earned, and carefully spent every single cent.
I didn’t get my first cell phone until I was 21. As a full-time college student and part-time freelance writer, it took me months to save up for the exclusive Motorola flip-phone, circa 1992. $800 later, I was broke as hell, but ridiculously happy. I didn’t do any of this out of need, my parent were providing me with the basics of life, and then some. But they also instilled in me a strong work ethic. If you want something, then go out and earn it. And I have, ever since.
So these parents that give their kids cell phones at such a young age – I don’t get you. If you’re too lazy to know of your kids whereabouts, how to get ahold of them or their activity on the world-wide-fucking-web, then perhaps you should adjust your parental approach. I don't care if your are a stay-at-home mom or work 80 hours a week in an office, no difference. In the meantime, until Little Woman is of driving age and I insist she have a phone for emergency purposes, my answer has been and always will be, for the next 5 years, HELL-TO-THE-NO!