kids/teenagers and cell phones?!

Savannah - posted on 12/04/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My husband is a verizon salesman. Every day he is telling me stories about parents buying their young teenagers cell phones. He told me of a family that bought their 14 year old son a Droid, which is a very expensive new phone that costs extra every month to even use it, a net book, and all kids of accessories. Then they shelled out 600 dollars for his cell phone bill! Holy cow! This is not even uncommon. Every day he sees people buying their children expensive cell phones that end up broken in a couple months.
He says you would not believe all the people that come in and pay between 600 and 1000 dollars every month to pay for their childrens' cell phones. This is simply from going over on text messaging and overusing their minutes. And people are paying this stuff without an issue!!!! Are you kidding me?
I didn't get a cell phone until I was 20 and I bought it myself and paid for everything. I don't understand why a middle school student needs some fancy phone. Yes, cell phones are very beneficial in a practical sense but would you pay that ridiculous amount to get your child a very expensive phone and then pay an even more outrageous amount on their bill? (why they don't just go with a family share plan and unlimited texting instead of going through this every month is a whole new conversation.)
I friend of mine got her 10 year old a cell phone for his birthday. Why on earth does a 10 year old need a cell phone?
I think that when my kids are older they MAY get a cell phone. But they will earn it and they will watch their usage or it will be taken away.
What do you ladies think? Am I unreasonable or are these kids just terribly spoiled?

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Jodi - posted on 12/04/2009

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Well, I bought my 12 year old a mobile phone for his 12th birthday. I don't see it as spoiling him. Firstly, I bought a basic $89 model that is pretty much just a phone. The internet is disabled, so he only has access to phone and texting. Secondly, it is a prepaid phone, so he pays his own charges - it is costing him around $20 a month. I don't consider that spoiled.



I have my reasons for allowing my 12 year old to have a mobile phone, and feel that the circumstances justify it. In many ways, it is a good tool for him to learn to budget, because if he runs out of credit, it really is his problem. He receives an allowance in exchange for the many chores he does around the house, and sometimes earns a little extra for doing some work for our businesses. To date, he has not run out of credit, and he has been respectful of the rules we have set.



However, having said that, the scenarios you describe are definitely spoiled children. I don't think allowing a mobile phone and spoiling are necessarily synonymous, but spending that sort of money on your children is ridiculous!! I don't even spend that much on our mobile phone bill in a year, let alone a month!!! My kids can have phones like that and bills like that when it becomes their problem!!

Lindsay - posted on 12/04/2009

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I was 16, driving and working a part-time job when I got my first cell phone. After I had bought my first car, my parents gave me a very simplistic cell phone to keep on me in case of emergency. They paid my car insurance and phone bill as long as I kept up my end of things working, paying for my gas, and keeping my grades up. I had a plan that had 250 monthly minutes (this was total before the free cell to cell calling and such) no text or internet options. I didn't dare going over my monthly balance. And I knew that if I didn't answer my parents' call, that would be the end of my phone days!



Honestly, I don't know how old my kids will be before they start asking for a phone and I get them one. I do know that it won't be before they are old enough to go places on their own and be responsible for it. There will definately be limits and they won't be getting the most expensive, fancy phone or plan available. It will be something basic until they make the money themselves and realize that as long as it takes to make the money to pay for those things, the less they really need it.

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Quoting Jodi:



Quoting Holly:

 I remember "the good old days" (remember, I am only 23) when dinner time was family time and there were no interruptions. All phones were ignored and we would just sit and be a family. It was wonderful.






Holly, they are still the rules in our house - if a phone rings, I don't care whose, in the middle of dinner, no-one answers it.  If it is important enough they will leave a message or call back.....






We also don't take mobile phones (and ban kids from taking them) on family outings.  I remember when my step daughter was around 14, and she came with us to the zoo one day and spent almost the entire time on the phone to friends.  My husband ended up confiscating the damn thing and after that we laid down the rule that the phone was never to be taken on a family outing again!!  But even though my husband and I own businesses, and our phones are a tool, we still need phone free times too, and family time is off limits.






Yay! Someone else has common sense! :P  I just really remember my parents instilling that idea into us since we really didn't have a lot of family time (during the week at least). My mom runs her own business (a dance studio where she is a teacher as well as the owner) and my dad is a pastor, so he is always "on call" to anyone at any time. I remember the summer I was 18 when we all went to Oregon for 2 weeks because my dad took a sabatical and we all worked our schedules around it for a family vacation. We all had our phones, but we left them in the trailer and only had them for emergencies (besides, we didn't get very good reception where we were anyway). It was a wonderful vacation and I am just so grateful to be so close to my parents and siblings!

Jodi - posted on 12/05/2009

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Quoting Holly:

 I remember "the good old days" (remember, I am only 23) when dinner time was family time and there were no interruptions. All phones were ignored and we would just sit and be a family. It was wonderful.



Holly, they are still the rules in our house - if a phone rings, I don't care whose, in the middle of dinner, no-one answers it.  If it is important enough they will leave a message or call back.....



We also don't take mobile phones (and ban kids from taking them) on family outings.  I remember when my step daughter was around 14, and she came with us to the zoo one day and spent almost the entire time on the phone to friends.  My husband ended up confiscating the damn thing and after that we laid down the rule that the phone was never to be taken on a family outing again!!  But even though my husband and I own businesses, and our phones are a tool, we still need phone free times too, and family time is off limits.

[deleted account]

I think THOSE kids (that you are using as examples) are spoiled. I got my first phone when I was 16 years old. It came with my car and I had to leave it in my car when I was in school or at work. I paid for half of my portion of the bill (I was working, but my parents did want me to save my money and have some to spend on myself) and I never went over my minutes. It was my phone as long as I followed the rules and guidelines set by my parents, and I had no problem with that. I was the child and they were the parents after all!



Saying all that, my 7 year old daughter has a Firefly cell phone. She has it because her biological mother never answers the phone when our daughter is with her (my daughter's biological mother lives over 1600 miles away from us and we have our daughter 90% of the time. She only gets visitation for 2 weeks every 3 months). We got sick and tired of never being able to reach our daughter, or her bio mom "forgetting" to have her call us back, so we got her a phone. It's only $10 per month and it's very durable (although she is very careful with it and hasn't ever dropped it!). Our daughter keeps track of her phone and the charger, and she knows when to plug it in and for how long. The phone is at our house while our daughter is at school or on playdates, but other than that we let our daughter keep it with her (this is mainly in case her bio mom calls - she can't accuse us of restricting access - although her bio mom never calls anyway...). She does not go over her set amount of minutes, and her phone doesn't even have text messaging capabilities. It's a basic phone that honestly hardly ever gets used (just during those 2 weeks every 3 months that she is away from us).



I think phone for kids IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS are fine, but the privelege should not be abused. If our daughter goes over her minutes, her phone is taken away and only given to her during her visitation time with her bio mom. She knows this and has agreed to it. I think there should be no excuse for a child to talk excessively on their phone. I got along just fine without one for years, and even when I got one I wasn't constantly on it. It was just a way to keep in contact with my parents and to let them know if something was going on (for example, I would be late getting home or I was running errands and wanted to see if they needed anything).



Besides, kids are in school 6 hours out of every day... why the heck do they need to talk to their friends all the time of their remaining day? Where's the fmaily time of the kids are on their phones all the time? I remember "the good old days" (remember, I am only 23) when dinner time was family time and there were no interruptions. All phones were ignored and we would just sit and be a family. It was wonderful.

Savannah - posted on 12/05/2009

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Quoting Jodi:

Well, I bought my 12 year old a mobile phone for his 12th birthday. I don't see it as spoiling him. Firstly, I bought a basic $89 model that is pretty much just a phone. The internet is disabled, so he only has access to phone and texting. Secondly, it is a prepaid phone, so he pays his own charges - it is costing him around $20 a month. I don't consider that spoiled.

I have my reasons for allowing my 12 year old to have a mobile phone, and feel that the circumstances justify it. In many ways, it is a good tool for him to learn to budget, because if he runs out of credit, it really is his problem. He receives an allowance in exchange for the many chores he does around the house, and sometimes earns a little extra for doing some work for our businesses. To date, he has not run out of credit, and he has been respectful of the rules we have set.

However, having said that, the scenarios you describe are definitely spoiled children. I don't think allowing a mobile phone and spoiling are necessarily synonymous, but spending that sort of money on your children is ridiculous!! I don't even spend that much on our mobile phone bill in a year, let alone a month!!! My kids can have phones like that and bills like that when it becomes their problem!!


you are absolutely correct and a wise wise woman, i think.  When my kids do have a phone it probably will be at around 12 or so, as soon as they are going places on their own basically.  We live in a city and its safer that way.  I would have the same set of rules as you do.  I don't think that that is spoiled at all.  IT does teach responsibility.

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