I caved: Giving my son a cell phone

Filed under: Teens, Day Care & Education, Gadgets

I finally did it. He hasn't been asking very much or for very long. His friends are now starting to get them. I have had to re-think some of my original ideas about things like cell phones. My son spends time away from both of his parents, as we are divorced. Therefore, in some ways, his having a cell phone makes a certain amount of sense. If one of us parents can't reach the other, we now have an alternative number. Sam, age 13 and a half, had started calling me from school during the afternoon to tell me about a change of plans or to ask permission to do something with friends. A cell phone eliminates the need to use the school office phone, and allows him more chances to call if he can't reach me on the first try.

But the reason I finally got him a cell phone is simple: My husband's phone started malfunctioning. When we went in to replace it, they told us that we needed to get a new plan to do that cheaply, and the new plan made introducing a third line the same price as what we had been paying monthly. In its most simple and clear terms, it no longer made financial sense NOT to have a third line. So, I picked out a moderately priced cell phone, not one that would break or become useless easily, but certainly by no means an expensive phone, and took it home.

I put it on the kitchen counter with a post-it note and then called it and asked my son what that noise in the kitchen was. He was, do I need to say it? Delighted.

We haven't run into the problems I had expected. I haven't had to tell him to use the cell phone less: I have had to insist that he carry it with him instead, because there have been a couple of times when I have tried to reach him and he didn't have it with him. He looked at me, still at that moment more child than Youth, and asked, "Oh, should I carry it with me all the time?" Yes. Unless you are going over to the playground to let your friends bury you in the sand. In that case, please leave it home.

But just in case you are wondering, I did buy insurance for the phone, in case of loss, or accident.

Do your kids have cell phones? Will you get cell phones for them when they are older? And how old is old enough?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.