One question that every parent will face at one time or another is their child asking them for a cell phone. It’s inevitable! Cell phones are all over the place and it’s not uncommon for young children to have one, so you can expect your child to ask you for one and claim that all their friends own one.
Question is, does it make sense for a child to have a phone? As a parent, should you succumb to the pressure and but them one?
First off, I’ve always thought that it’s ok to “give in” to children when they express that they want something. I can remember being a child and wanting a Nintendo more than anything. Although my parents were reluctant, when I got one I was happier than ever and it certainly didn’t interfere with my schooling or give any cause for concern to my parents.
As parents we often worry that buying something for our kids will change them or somehow be a negative thing, but as long as you set the groundrules I don’t see the reason for concern.
When I got my Nintendo, I was told that if it got in the way of my chores, homework or other duties than I would have it taken away. My parents also encouraged me to continue to have a balanced life and not spend all day on the machine.
I think the same idea can apply in a situation like a cell phone. It’s easy to get a cell phone plan that restricts the usage so that you don’t have to worry about your child racking up big usage fees. And in reality, it can be a useful safety tool.
Personally I want my child to be able to get in touch with me, or have a way to contact police in case of emergency.
Obviously I don’t want them to waste their time away playing games or texting away needlessly. But I also recognize that their are their own person, have a social life and should be able to “play”.
If you do get your child a cell phone, I do recommend using a cell phone tapping or monitoring program. This way you can monitor what they’re using the phone for.
At the end of the day, I have no problems with children owning cell phones. Once they enter their teenage years I feel as though it’s a tool that they should be allowed to own. It gives them a way to stay safe and also feel closer to being an “adult” – a feeling all children enjoy.