We have five children, the oldest is twelve and in seventh grade. And, if my gray hairs are any indication, he has asked us for a cell phone no less than one billion times.
The answer is still no.
I have heard all the fabulous reasons, both from him and the Internet, and I have seen all the photos on Facebook of my friends’ tweens and teens with a digital device.
Our answer is still no.
He just shrugs his shoulders which I can only assume means we’re the meanest parents on the planet. But I have to wonder if our desire to keep him cell-phone free until high school has some spiritual reasoning.
I know how hard it is for me to turn off my cell phone and listen to God.
I know how hard it is to ignore the “ding” when cooking dinner, running errands, reading to my kids, spending time with my husband or anything in between.
I know that sometimes when I hit an “out of area pocket” I often breathe a sigh of relief because it means I don’t have to check my phone for a text, call or notification.
I know that occasionally I’ll Google the wrong thing, see the search results and think DELETE, DELETE!
I know that I’m often glad I have the mental maturity to know when, and when not, to post a photo on social media.
I know that sometimes, it’s important for us as parents to put our foot down and tell our kids ‘no.’
Yes, there are valid reasons for kids having cell phones. Safety being the biggest. But, can someone please tell me why an 11-year-old needs an iPhone5? Anyone?
Our family’s approach with technology has been to accept it, but with caution and teaching along the way. Giving our kids a fully-loaded smart phone at the age of thirteen would be, in my opinion, irresponsible without first giving them the knowledge to manage such a powerful (and addictive) tool.
I’ve shared my tips before on managing social media with teens, and our approach will likely be the same with a cell phone. We’ll start small—phone usage—and after seeing some responsible behavior, add texting, photos and internet usage.
Ultimately, my husband and I had to ask ourselves: do we want Google teaching our children all the important life lessons, or do we want it to be us?
How have you successfully navigated the land of teens and cell phones? Any tips to share? Please comment below and help a mom out!