Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Cell Phone for Christmas?

Homeschooling families often feel they live beneath a microscope. While they expect to defend their educational choices on occasion, it's often surprising to find that other parenting decisions are subject to equally close analysis by friends and family members.

Homeschooling online was a natural choice for our family. We just love technology! My kids think computers are fun, my husband thinks they're relaxing, and I appreciate the time- and labor-saving aspects of my collection of electronic gadgets.

A few of our friends had just begun to use cell phones when our first child started delivering newspapers on a secluded, rural route. Concern for our child's safety led to the decision to buy him his own phone. I liked knowing he could call me if he needed something while delivering papers. He liked being able to play games while waiting for me to pick him up when he finished!

As each child, in turn, became old enough to venture away from home on their own, they have been presented with their own cell phone. Child number five's Christmas gift this year will be an orange monstrosity that even my eight-year-old will find difficult to lose. I've started allowing her to walk a couple of blocks alone to visit her friends, so it's time.

I've had to defend the cell phone decision more frequently than our choice of homeschooling! I do stay informed about potential health hazards, but certain friends and family seem to simply think a child "shouldn't" have their own phone, for some unspecified reason. Some worry the kids will be spoiled. They're concerned about prank calls. They're afraid of the unknown.

We don't take phone ownership lightly. We homeschool, for goodness sake. We're used to overseeing what our children do. The kids are educated as to the appropriate way to use their phones, and we take advantage of parental controls. I'm convinced that my own kids are safe and well-prepared for life in today's society. I had to smile when the first job child number one obtained upon graduating from college was . . . selling and setting up cell phone plans! (Today, he installs and repairs computer systems for businesses. I told you we were a techie family!)

Text messaging keeps me in touch with my grown son these days, and I'm certain that texting gives me an advantage when it comes to communicating with my two teens. Although I'm entirely comfortable with the decision we've made for our own family, I do understand the raised eyebrows when my younger children pull out their phones. There are pros and cons in most parenting practices. Do your children own cell phones? Why or why not?

1 comment:

  1. I do plan on giving my children a cell phone. I'm not sure at what age but it wont be till I see a need for it. It's a necessity nowadays especially with pay phones becoming obsolete. (I would say it's obsolete already but I did manage to see a pay phone being used in front of Walmart last week) Of course we'll be monitoring their usage and if they want extras like ringtones, wallpaper and games it'll be coming out of their wallets, not ours.


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