Kids and cell phones....

Lindsay - posted on 04/21/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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I heard a clip on the local news last night comparing being addicted to texting and being addicted to heroin. I can't say that it suprised me all that much. It's rare to see a teenager that's not glued to their phone 24 hrs a day.



http://www.q13fox.com/news/kcpq-042010-t...,0,2088175.story



Do you think this is a problem or just being a "normal" teen? Do you think parents need to step up and set limits? Do you think it's helping kids learn to multi-task in a world full of technology? Or is it inhibitting their ability to focus?

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Lea - posted on 04/23/2010

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It gives kids a way to be socializing 24/7. Socializing is the main focus of their lives. Its similar to addiction in that way. Feeling connected to other people can be a high. But the question is what the purpose of that connection is. It becomes a past-time that becomes daily life. Other things become mundane and important aspects of their lives start to be neglected (such as school work).

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Kelly - posted on 04/24/2010

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Lea, you stated that perfectly. We are actually having problems right now with my 12 yr old step-daughter. Her mother and I sat down with her just yesterday to discuss her latest report card. Her grades have significantly dropped, and she isn't completing her homework. She is primarily at her moms, we live about 3 hours away. It is maddening to me that she won't look people in the eye when introduced, she is rude and frankly disrespectful to her mom and stepdad, and my husband and I have just recently gotten a taste. Her mom said her friends are all like that too. She was told yesterday her texting is gone, and OMG she got so mad. She told her mom to just take her phone. All she ever does is text her friends. If it were up to me, she wouldn't have a phone that could text. Or a facebook account, but that is a whole other issue.....

Hannah - posted on 04/23/2010

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That is part of the reason why we wanted to get him a pre-paid phone. The boys are with only every other weekend and it is nearly impossible for my husband to get ahold of them through their mother. She rarely answers the phone. We thought pre-paid and would only load x amount of dollars on there each month and he would have to earn that. If he uses it and the money is gone before the month is up, well that is his loss. I don't want to add any of the kids to our plan until they are able to actually pay for the phone themselves, by having an afterschool job. That would be closer to 16.

Jodi - posted on 04/23/2010

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Oh, and I will add to that....my son goes to his dad's house on alternate weekends, and he sometimes has issues there. I find the phone REALLY great for that, in that, if he ever really feels the need to talk to me, he can do that without asking his dad (he never feels comfortable doing that). I always promise him that I will personally pay the credit for ANY phone call he makes to me, so he will get that money back.

Jodi - posted on 04/23/2010

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Hannah, I think it depends on your situation. My son only received his when he was 12, and he has to pay for his credit himself (he gets pocket money for chores - hanging and folding washing, loading and unloading dishes....he even helps with dinner, and also helps with small tasks in our business, so real work). I am not a fan of handing one over unless they can pay for the ongoing costs, or unless it is for emergency use only.



But that's just me. I think as a parent YOU need to make a judgement based on what you are comfortable with, and based on yours and your children's circumstances. For instance, my son was to start high school, and has to catch a bus at 7:45am each morning, arrive home at 4pm. Sometimes I am not home when he gets there because I am running late from my younger daughter's swimming lessons (or something)..... That phone comes in handy because public phones are few and far between these days. When I was a kid, there were many more public phones if we needed one, and I always had 20c in my school bag :)

Hannah - posted on 04/22/2010

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hi guys, my name is Hannah and I am new here. Thought I would make this reply my first post. How old is "old enough" for a cell phone? I have two step sons and we were considering getting a pre-paid phone for the oldests 10th birthday. I originally said that none of our children could have a phone until 12. Now that so many kids have one, it seems like the norm for a 10 yr old to have one. Heck, I have nieces that have their phones since they were 5. OMFG, REALLY??? So... what do you guys think, 10 too young???

Jodi - posted on 04/21/2010

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Erin, I'm in Australia, and I just had Telstra disable it on their end so that even if he accidentally tries to log in it won't access.....all it took was a phone call (well two actually, given they fucked it up in the first place). I also disabled all the 1900 numbers (you know the ones you can call to download ringtones, hear a dirty joke, enter competitions, and so on - all that stupid stuff they advertise on TV). Basically, I set it up so he can use it only as a basic or for text messaging. That's it. AND I check his activity regularly :)



But honestly, he doesn't use it a lot. My step daughter used to use hers ALL the time (still does, and she is nearly 18). I think maybe girls are worse than boys (not based on anything much, just opinion), because we are much more communicative creatures. She wouldn't go ANYWHERE unless she had the right sized pockets in her jeans to fit her phone. If we went out somewhere, she would go and change JUST so she could take her phone. One day, she decided to go with my hubby to the shops to grab a few things. It was literally a 10 minute trip. Even my husband left HIS phone at home. But no, she had to go and change, and she took so long, my husband left without her. She was so shitty with him, and I was just laughing my head off!!

Erin - posted on 04/21/2010

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Sharon or Jodi,

How do you disable the internet thing? I do that all the time and am always getting charged.

Jodi - posted on 04/21/2010

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Quoting Sharon:

"We have unlimited texting and we had internet connection disabled on most of the phones. Because - and this is so fucking stupid - you can accidently link to the internet and you get charged for it - so we just had it disabled on the phones."



Sharon, I did the same with Jayden's phone. And the stupid phone company didn't do it properly and next thing he knows all his credit is used up. I flipped a lid at them. It is so easy to accidentally connect to the internet it is ridiculous.

Sharon - posted on 04/21/2010

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We used to have the Firefly - until it took a trip through the washer and our cell plan doesn't carry anything like it any more.

I'm not sure of any other providers out there (major providers) with those types of phones. My entire family & extended family are all on verizon to take advantage of the unlimited calls between verizon users so we can't just switch carriers.

We have unlimited texting and we had internet connection disabled on most of the phones. Because - and this is so fucking stupid - you can accidently link to the internet and you get charged for it - so we just had it disabled on the phones.

I do however pay extra for the monthly printouts of his texts and I occasionally browse his phone. He knows I do this. THis was the condition of being allowed such a grown up phone.

Rosie - posted on 04/21/2010

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never thought of it that way sharon, makes me rethink. i do think my kid will get a phone when he can pay for one, until then it'll be where he can only call for emergency and home. i will also have it set at a certain number of predetermined texts when he gets his real phone. i've seen some news stories about kids having 1200 texts a month. i think i have that many in 2 years.

LaCi - posted on 04/21/2010

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I prefer texting over phone conversations. I don't really have a problem with my son having a cell phone, or texting to his hearts content, as long as it doesn't interfere with daily life. If he can't manage to focus on reality for a minute then theres a problem, but I really don't think most people have an addiction to texting, its just a convenient way to have more of a passive conversation. We do it all the time, but it doesn't generally impose on our lives, we do it so multiple conversations DON'T impede our lives. I'd like for him to be up to date on all things technological, that going to be his world someday (possibly unfortunately) and I won't inhibit that unless it becomes unhealthy. Applies to all electronics.

ME - posted on 04/21/2010

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I agree with Jenny...my kids won't need a "real" cell until they can afford to pay for it themselves.

Jenny - posted on 04/21/2010

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My child will have a cell for emergency purposes only once she is of the age to be out and about on her own. It will be one of those models with three buttons that dial preprogrammed numbers and that is it.

Jackie - posted on 04/21/2010

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I think texting is normal...hell, I even prefer texting to talking. But I just think the age at which kids are getting their own cell phones is what is ridiculous! I just don't see the need for it at all. But I think they def. need to be limited at times...like there is NO reason for a kid to have their cell phone at school. I also think the obsessive use of phones affects some of these kids social skills to. Can't even tell you how many times i see teens out at restaurants with their head in their phoen while the family chats....are you kidding me!!!! What about table manners!!!

Sharon - posted on 04/21/2010

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I was worried about this but my son seems to be doing pretty well.

He prefers talking to texting. His female friends text him a lot, lmao they get a lot of one word replies.

For a while when it was new - he drove me insane texting all the danged time. But the novelty has worn off and he prefers to talk.

Phones must off in school. If they aren't they are confiscated. I'm not going to let the school keep his expensive phone if he ever breaks the rules there, but I'll enforce it by taking it home and locking it up.

I know my son leaves his on. He checks messages while in the bathroom (omg soo gross) but I'm ok with this as the phone is supposed to be on in case of an emergency (school shooters, explosions (it happened!!!)). But if he got busted using it in class I'd kick his ass.

Think of texting as "passing notes". How many of us got busted sneaking notes to a classmate? Only this "note" can call for help if needed.

So no, I don't think cell phones are any more distracting than the old fashioned paper note in class.

Lindsay - posted on 04/21/2010

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