Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Updated to add:

Something else I forgot to mention (yet another thing that I hate ... my gosh ... I am quite possibly the world's grumpiest person) is how much the acronyms and short-cut spellings that are used in IM'ing (yep, something else I refuse to do) and texting are ruining the plight of the English language. I've heard of teachers having to mark down papers because kids are using abbreviations instead of real words ... "that's just how they spell these days", which bothers me. So let's make that reason #4 Brayden doesn't need a cell phone ... the girl's spelling is atrocious enough as it is, why add to the confusion by letting her LOL and TTYL???

Someone asked: Oh as a footnote, I just sent my second text message Sunday (took FOREVER), and hubby still refuses to get a phone. Does Blaine have one? Yes, Blaine and I both have cell phones, and neither of us text. Blaine actually has a Blackberry, as is required by his work. Due to security clearances for military e-mails, his phone is given to him by the government because it's the only phone from which he can check his e-mails. It also has internet access which he uses very infrequently. I'll admit it's convenient at home because we only have one computer so he never needs on it (unlike my kids, who currently have obsessions with the Webkinz site and some weird warlord game that Kellen is addicted to**) My phone is a no-frills phone. It doesn't even have (gasp!) a camera! I use it to make calls only ... no texting, no internet. And I've never been anywhere that wasn't enough for me.

**PS I'm kidding about the addiction. Well, maybe not, he does love it an awful lot. But the kids have a 30-minute a day limit on computer time, so I'm not too worried it's going to get out of hand ... yet. :)

OK, so seriously, all kidding aside, I would love to know what you guys think ...

Brayden went to a birthday slumber party a few weeks ago. A girl from her class at school was turning eleven. There were approximately ten other girls from school there, all the same age (fifth going into sixth grade .... official middle school-ers this fall … excuse me while I weep into my hankie because my precious baby is not a baby anymore.)

Brayden came home from the party and informed me that she was the only .... ONLY .... girl there without her own cell phone. The birthday girl was given hers as a gift from her parents at the party. I said, "Do you mean their parent's cell phone that they brought to the party?" and she said no, their OWN, personal, private cell phone. Which they used to talk and text each other all night at the party, despite the fact they were all sitting right there next to each other. And text other people who weren't at the party. And Brayden was the only one who didn't have one. And how her life is in shambles without one. And could she have one, PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE, please please please, or am I going to continue my reign as the meanest mother in the world???

So. Although I could babble on for days (imagine that) about how I feel about this, I think I can sum up my opposition to this idea in three basic reasons:

1. She's ELEVEN, for goodness' sake. Not sixteen, not fourteen. It's not like she works, or drives, or goes on school trips, or away sports games, or over night camp, or is ever anyplace by herself that she might need one for security or safety purposes. She is either at school, or with me, or Blaine, or my mom, or my sister, or with someone we trust, at all times. She doesn't NEEEEEEEED a phone; she wants one. Big difference. Plus, she rarely talks to friends on the regular phone, why on earth does she need a cell phone?

2. We have told her (and Kellen and Kendrie, since they've both asked for their own phone as well) repeatedly that until they can help pay for it, the answer is no. When she replies she has enough in savings to buy the phone, I respond that *when* she gets a phone (because yes, of course I know the day is coming, I’m not a total doofus) she will also be responsible for a portion of the monthly cost. Since my kids have chosen the "we don't care if we get an allowance, we want to be lazy and not do any chores" option for this year's summer break, I know for a fact she can't afford to pay for any part of it. Even when they *are* getting a regular allowance, at this age, it's not enough to help pay any great part of cell phone service each month.

3. And this, I must admit, is the kicker. The real reason I don't want my daughter to have a phone, and why although I know it is an inevitability at some point in her future, I plan to push it off for as long as possible: I absolutely, positively, entirely, totally and completely, cannot STAND the sight of teenagers obsessed with sending and receiving text messages. I think it’s discourteous to do when you are in the company of other people (much like I think it’s also discourteous to talk on your cell phone in the company of other people) and I despise how preoccupied and fixated these kids seem to be with their phones.

Obviously, cost is not the issue as long as you have unlimited texting. My problem lies with how much TIME is spent doing it. At even only ten seconds apiece, sending six thousand texts in one month (which my friend’s daughter did a few months ago) is the equivalent of two hundred texts a day --- almost twenty hours a month of texting …. That’s five hours per week of time that could be spent reading, or on homework, or sports practice, or doing some kind of volunteer or charity work. Do I think every minute of every day should be spent constructively? No, of course not. Kids need down time, and to waste time, and I certainly feel texting falls into that category. But I find it weird, and a little silly, that kids are happy to spend so much time sending messages back and forth to one another. Just pick up the phone and CALL if you have something to say, for goodness sake! In fact, texting for one hour a day probably wouldn't even bother me if they sat down, did it for an hour, then were done. But it's the constant, non-stop, a little bit here and a little bit there insidiousness of it that makes me bonkers. And no, to answer your question, I do not send text messages, nor do I open them on the rare occasion I receive them. In fact, I had the texting option turned off my last phone and will probably do it to this phone as well. I DON’T have unlimited texting, and am charged ten cents apiece each time someone sends me one.

I’ve seen people text while driving (unsafe!) and while eating at restaurants (rude!) Last weekend, I saw them texting during a wedding reception, and this weekend, I saw them texting during the Aly & AJ concert I attended with Brayden. Which prompted her to point to the many, many teens and pre-teens around us, texting, and remind me again about how her life is incomplete and what a hag I am.

One friend told me the great thing about texting is that it’s so “non-invasive” because he can send a text without bothering or interrupting the person to whom he is sending, like he would with a phone call. I disagree. I think texting is terribly invasive --- if you’re sending hundreds, or even dozens of messages a day, how is your own time not invaded? I’ve seen very few people who don’t instantly open a text mail they’ve been sent, and who don’t immediately reply with a text of their own. How is that considered non-invasive??

I’m well aware that I’m probably just a cranky-pants who doesn’t understand “these kids today” … but I don’t. My friends with teens all laugh at me and tell me when my kids are older, and have their own phones, I will be sending and receiving text messages like crazy as well because that’s the only way I’ll be able to keep track of them. I hope not. I hope my kids will pick up the phone and call me if they have a question, or need to talk to me. The thought of being relegated as a parent to a brief SYS is a teensy bit insulting to me.

And there you have it. The reasons I don’t think my eleven –year old needs her own cell phone. At least not yet. It’s unnecessary; I’m cheap; and I see what happens when kids (and some adults!) get one. (Actually, this post turned out to be less about my daughter getting a cell phone, and more about my own personal distaste for text messaging. Hmmm, me, grumpy about something. Imagine that.)

Am I wrong? Crazy? Fighting the unavoidable? Do YOUR kids have cell phones, and if so, why? At what age? With what rules and restrictions? Giving her a phone with no texting, or limited texting??? Tract phones? Limited minutes? Free reign? Do they help pay for it?

I’d really like to know, because I have a feeling when school starts this fall, the begging will begin in earnest, and I need to be prepared to either fight or succumb.


Anonymous said...

I agree with your every objection. That being said, all 3 of my teens have cell phones. Every family I know has different rules, but for us it was after entering 7th grade. The schools do not allow cell phones to be on during the day (at least where I live). They are a help in contacting your kid at anytime, anywhere - no excuses. My kids are now 19, 17 and 13. We have unlimited texting and yes, I have learned to be a great texter. Especially since my oldest left for college. BTW, we have friends who won't let their kids have them until high school. Every family is different. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree...11 is just TOO YOUNG! (In MY opinion, anyway!) I like that you'd expect the kids to contribute to the cost, too Kristie- that's the way it should be. Hard as it may seem, (and easy as it is to say) don't get pressured into it; 24 @heart is right: every family IS different & you'll know when the time is right for yours. Keep in mind too, that (if I remember right) moving back to Oklahoma was done in part because you liked the schooling/upbringing that you guys got when you were younger....a little on the strict side (no dancing etc.) and wanted the same for your kids. If that's still important, don't lose sight of it. Rules and restrictions are ok as long as you don't overdo them, and you won't. Besides, as soon as Brayden gets hers, you know what's gonna happen....HELLO KELLEN!! :-)

Pat in CA

Anonymous said...

Totally, totally agree with you. No way an 11 year old who is never without supervision needs a text phone. I think the other parents are caving to 'peer pressure'. I have a thirteen year old (and 9 year old) and he has NO cell phone, nor will he until I deem it necessary, which will likely not be until high school. I drop him off at school and pick him up, every day, he has no need for a phone. Cell phones are not allowed to be used within his school. If I need to contact him for any reason, I can just call the school office (i.e. if I were going to be late, in an accident, etc.) I also have a concern that texting can lead to 'text bullying', especially amongst girls, who are so much better at using their 'words' to hurt. Hold strong! :-)

Anonymous said...

You are NOT wrong. I have 4 daughters. They are 13, 11, 8 and 5. The two big ones want cell phones and want to text friends. I say "no way Jose" on this issue. Until it is absolutely necessary, it is not necessary! They do not even use the phone on a regular basis for Christ's sake. A friend of mine who gave her 13 year old daughter a cell phone recently told me how much she regretted it. She found her daughter texting at 11:00 p.m. on a school night. She was texting stupid stuff to her cousin...nothing important...just stuff like "hi". My next door neighbor gave her 9 year old a cell phone. She calls our house from the cell over 20 times per day. It is totally ridiculous! What do they have to look forward to if we give in now? Don't cave. You are right! Rhonda

Banni said...

i agree with you. i have 2 big kids that will be 12 & 13 next month. no cell phones here. i don't feel like they, at this age, should be somewhere where they would need a cell phone to contact me (or vice versa). at this age, they shouldn't be out of contact enough that i would need to call them on a cell phone should i need to reach them. should i need them, i feel like i ought to be able to call someone's house or someone's parents &, while they may not be in arms reach, the kids should still be within earshot of said house or parent.
not to mention the fact that i have one who would think it was more of a status symbol than a communication device...which would mean the phone would be out & probably in use all the time & teenagers aren't exactly the best example of courtesy, now are they? so i can imagine the trouble/annoyance that would cause.
and the other one? well, if her head wasn't attached, she would lose it. i shudder to think what would happen if i gave her a small electronic device that is not attached to her person in some way.
lastly, you betcha they will help pay for the thing if/when they get it. which, to me, means having a job. because if they are doing chores-read, jobs that help keep up the house that they live in & help mess up-& using the money they get paid for doing those chores to pay for the phone, then isn't that my money paying for the thing anyway?
so probably we'll wait until high school around here. at least if i have anything to do with it. my husband...now that's another story. i'm always the bad guy around here & this is just another example of why.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with you. My son, who is now 16, got his first cell phone when he went to middle school, at 12. We got it because we chose to send him to a magnet school across town and wanted him to be able to call us if he needed to while taking the bus across town. It was a pay by the minute phone and he was only to use it to call us. His current phone is on our family plan (the cheaper way to go now). He does not have texting on his phone or internet access. Learned the hard way that you have to pat per text or minute of usage.

On the other hand, my husband and I have unlimited texts and text each other several times a day, lol. He is a teacher and does not answer his phone while in class. He can respond to my texts between classes, when I may not be able to answer his call. It just works for us.

My 8 year old has already asked for a cell phone. We have told him when he enters 7th grade, middle school here, he can have one. He may not "need" it like his brother did. But, it seemed a reasonable time.

Sheri in CA

Anonymous said...

I got my son a cell phone when he was in 7th grade. With unlimited texting and it was $10 a month for his phone because it was on my family plan, there weren't any issues other than a girl who liked him texted him day and night (her cell phone was taken away from her when her parents received her $800 bill; she did not have unlimited texting, apparently).

He was not permitted to take the phone to school in middle school because that was against the rules; he took it with him to friends' houses and it was a way for me to contact him immediately. And a way for him to contact me...because... children in middle school sometimes find themselves in situations that they want to get out of...I viewed it as a "lifeline." Mind you, this child was primarily at home with parents or at school or visiting the same two friends...but still.
It is now five years later and my child texts me frequently -- by giving him the cell phone when he was really not likely to need to use it to contact me... he was ready to use it for that purpose when he started using the phone more...he does talk on it! But it is all within reason (he has never used up all of the minutes he has allowed in a month) and his school does not allow students to use cell phones on campus.
Our kids today have IM, email, MySpace, and cell phones; and part of being a parent is teaching your child how to use these tools RESPONSIBLY. I would say that a cell phone is actually the tip of the iceberg here.
As my child became a teenager, I kept all avenues of communication wide open. And I see a cell phone as a good tool for that.

Lauren said...


We're only at 8 and 5, so cell phones have not come up yet. I too would like to put off the text messaging/calling business as long as possible. Norah (5) is already writing notes to her friends on scraps of paper, stuffing them in envelopes, and begging for stamps--I can imagine what text messaging would do to her! I think your best move could be the cost related one--with three kids, you can forestall the issue of what age one gets something by relying on "pay your own way." Maybe you could decide on a minimum age and then on what part of the cost must be paid by the child. Once you set that, it's up to each one when a cell phone is allowed. Talk about motivation for extra chores or a paper route. (Hmm, do I sound like the oldest in a family where only I got a job at 14 and worked all through high school, and then watched my younger brothers get catered to and purchased for??!)

Stand firm :)


Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm kinda with you all the way regarding mobile phones for younger kids, 13/14 maybe I can understand as they are out more on their own by then but any younger and I think it's a show off item.

But I don't have kids so what do I know about peer pressure and pester power...

My sister held off until her eldest was 13 before he got one. For a long whie after most of his pocket money went on paying for it and his parents helped too (he got a paper round), as he wasn't too good about being responsible and ran up a lot of bills on his mobile and landline phone.

Do you have a pay as you go system in the US?

I think as your kids are so close together in age, once Brayden has one Kellen and Kendrie will clamber for one too.

Anonymous said...

While I understand your concerns, I think it is just a matter of time before she has a cell and you and her are texting! My boys recieved their cell phones as they went into middle school, because w/ middle school came new privileges such as going to a movie w/ a group of friends, school dances, separating from me while at the mall or even Target, etc. We had a track phone for a while, but soon realized that having to purchase minutes and airtime was costing us more than the $10 to add another line to our Verizon account. My daughter got hers at age 11, only because I learned that I liked having that lifeline with my kids when they are not with me. Yeah, they all text, but with unlimited texting, that hasn't been a problem. I love getting texts from them, and at the ages they are (20, 18 & 14) I will take any form of communication I can get! As hard as it is to admit, your kids are growing up. You will find that Brayden having a cell phone will benefit you as much as it does her.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Age 14 with unlimited texting. ANd no, they don't help pay. It's peace of mind for us knowing where they are and that we can reach them at all times.

We did buy them the bottom of the barrel phone - very few bells and whistles.

If they want better, they can pay for it themselves.


Lisa Hellier said...

Bravo, Kristie! Not to necessarily give the "when I was a kid story" but here goes anyway...I turned 39 this year. I didn't have a cell phone until I was 37, and I had previously survived fine. Now, just as you pointed out, I find myself constantly interrupted and mastered at times by the incessant ring, ding, and beep of the phone.

Everything we choose to own in part owns us as well.

Eleven is awful young to be so owned, both by the responsibility of paying for the phone, keeping up with the phone, not damaging the phone, as well as all the demands of time that takes time away from other things through the calls and texting. How come we say that technology is to make our lives easier and free up our time, when actually it now owns our time?

I hope that you'll be able to stand firm. And I hope that you're still blogging when one day that baby of yours says, "Thanks, Mom, for not letting a cell phone rule my life when I was a kid."

Anonymous said...

I am going through the same thing with my 11 year-old daughter! All her friends have one and SHE HAS TO HAVE ONE! My rule is she can get one when she turns 12 which sounds so ridiculous as I type this. Kids grow up waaaaaaay too fast! Good luck.

Brenda said...

I was adamant about my kids not getting cell phones. Then last Christmas, my son's father got him one as a gift. It is a "Go Phone". He (the son, at 13) is responsible to earn the cash to buy the refill cards. He's not on a plan.
I highly recommend this route, if a phone is unavoidable.

Anonymous said...

I got Derek a cell when he was 12, because he was basically disappearing around the neighborhood. He would tell me he was going to his friends house 3 doors down but then they would all go somewhere else and when I would call his friends parents to tell them it was time to come home, well, they werent there and didnt have any clue where they had gone! they thought they were at my house! So after a few failed lectures about calling me anytime you want to leave sam and alberts house and go somewhere else, I finally got him a cell phone. It was more for my peace of mind at the time than for him. And we started out with a pre-paid phone, but that only lasted maybe 2 months because it was so expensive. and yep he has been rude with the texting, even at your house!!! and yep, I have been known to text him. but if Brayden doesnt need one yet dont get her one, until like one other person said, she starts going to the movies or the mall with her friends unsupervised.
A lady at work who has a daughter that is 11 just got her a cell and I'm not sure why because like Brayden she is never without supervision.
oh and WTF! People were texting at my sisters wedding reception?? All attention should have been on her damnit!!!
Ok I have rambled on enough. Talk to you later or TTYL!


Vicki said...

As with everything else you talk about I totally agree with you. My kids are only 7 & 3 and I haven't gone down that road yet but I get sick of seeing people (kids and adults) on the phone all the time just chit-chatting about nothing. Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Oh by the way I have a few pics for you from the wedding.


Anonymous said...

Don't cave yet! My kids didn't get phones until they were in high school. Of course, the younger one (the princess) got hers earlier than her brother did, and did pretty well with it until her junior year, when she sent over 5000 messages in a month. She wasn't too happy about paying us the $300 she had racked up. Somehow, we didn't think we needed unlimited messages-hah! That changed immediately. It blew my mind when I saw she could write messages without looking. She said she could do it under her desk. Even though most of the schools don't allow phone use, the kids still manage to bring and use them. I work in a middle school and what is really irritating is all the kids (5-8th grades) that call their parents from their cell phones from class or in the hallway. All of a sudden you have a parent show up to pick up their sick kid, the office is calling me thinking that the sickie is in my office waiting to go home, they are not, then we look like dumbasses because we don't know where the kid is or what is going on. We call the classroom and the kid is there and no staff person is aware that the kid is sick or going home. I think maybe 8th grade is early enough for a phone. My daughter's argument was "well then you'll always know where I am". Sure, I could reach her, but she could be lying to me about where she was! Nope, you tell me where you're going, and I will call you there if I need you (like a friend's house). Now, she's out of the country without her cell and she's surviving! Good thing, I sure wasn't going to pay for international service, ha! I think we had a harder time adjusting to her computer use before a cell phone, when she could spend hours in front of the keyboard IM'ing. I told my husband that when I was a kid, it was hours on the phone talking to people I had just been with in school. Times change.
Good luck in whatever you decide!
Sheila in Minnesota

Anonymous said...

Well here goes, We never did get my oldest a cell phone, he never "needed" or wanted one. He finally got one when he married at 20. Our other two use to go on overnight school trips (FFA, we even flew to OK one time, great place) but they took my phone and OH MY HAD TO SHARE IT! When middle child left for college (away from home) we went and got him a cell phone. A couple of months later the youngest was starting to drive and lots of out of town competitions so we just went and got her one also.
But there were rules; mostly, a limit on texting and the phone stays in a certain location at night, no late night texting.
Also we have always paid the bill, for us, school and after school activities (FFA and church events)were their jobs and as long as they excel at that we don't expect them to contribute financially. This worked for us and are so glad that we didn't "cave" to the peer pressure. Hang in there, Brayden will survive and you will know when the right time will be. Oh as a footnote, I just sent my second text message Sunday (took FOREVER), and hubby still refuses to get a phone. Does Blaine have one?

Anonymous said...

We have one cell phone that is shared between our sons for when they are not with us (trip to King's Island with the youth group, they go to a movie with a friend and I'm somewhere else, they're at one end of Target and I'm in the other and they promise to meet me in five minutes and it turns into fifteen minutes.....). It costs $10 extra a month to have this phone through the AT&T family plan. It does not have a camera. We do not have unlimited texting (ours costs us 20 cents per text to send and receive texts) and they have to pay for any texts (which to date have been zero). Whew!

Quite simply, I agree with you that it's unnecessary. Communication skills have been lost to silliness and disrespect in many cases. The only time I used texting was when my father-in-law died and I needed to get info to someone quickly as we were driving to my husband's parents' home and we couldn't bear to speak and I didn't want to make a phone call and talk about it while my husband was driving. I was glad for texting at that moment.

It becomes an obsession, and my kids don't need another obsession.

So hold your ground and you do what's best for your kids. That's why God made you the parent and not them. :-) Will you change your mind later? Who knows.

By the way, the cell phone that our sons use is one that I thought I had lost and needed to have replaced, so it's not like we went out and bought them one. It's simply a communication device with no frills.

Plus, it keeps me from having the service desk at Target page my kids and tell them to return to the front of the store immediately because their mommy is waiting.

Claire in Indiana

Anonymous said...

My daughter turned 12 in February and there were girls sitting next to each other at the party and texting one another...it drove me crazy!!! I finally made them put the phones away and actually talk to their friends. My daughter feels like she is the only 12 year old on the planet without her own phone. My husband is her soccer coach and the assistant softball coach, so she is never alone at practice. Cell phones aren't allowed to be turned on at school and you will be suspended if you are caught using it during school hours, so I really see no need as of yet. She will start playing middle school sports in the fall, so she will probably get one soon (although I haven't told her that yet). I am not a big fan of texting and I am terrible at it, so I don't know if we will even activate that feature until she can pay that portion of the bill. My 10 year old is pushing for us to get the 12 year old a phone because he knows the sooner she gets one, the sooner he gets one too!! I tell my daughter that if ALL of her friends have a phone, then I really don't need to get her one because she is always with her friends so she can just use their phone!!!


Anonymous said...

Stay the course. They cause brain cancer....
On a different note, I'm now at Fort Leavenworth and experienced Sonic the moment we arrived...like within seconds....it was an awesome experience. I can never move North of the Mason Dixon line again.

Anonymous said...

My daughter received hers when she went to middle school. I don't regret at all adding her to our plan. It gives me peace of mind to know where she is and be able to contact her immediately or her contact us. She has a little more freedom now with school dances and going to the movies with friends and I like knowing she has a way to call us if she needed us. I don't regret getting her a phone and will do the same when my 8 year old gets to middle school.


Stacie from MN said...

My children do NOT have cell phones. My oldest is 12 and we seriously had the same conversation with him this week. "All of my friends have cell phones, the cool looking ones and everything." Since I know the parents of some of his friends pretty well, I said, "Does Ashton have a phone?" No, Ashton does not.

I did offer him the option putting that on his Christmas & Birthday list, that I might be willing to get him a tracfone with 1 year of service for BOTH his birthday & Christmas. He's thinking about that, but with a tracfone, he still wouldn't be able to text.

Texting is just a whole other subject with me. I don't get it. Why not just dial the phone & ask in person??

Anonymous said...

Well, my little one is only 12months, so we have a ways to go before the phone issue comes up. That said, my friend's daughter has had one since she was 9. She is now almost 14. Her's is on the family plan and has unlimited texting. She got it at first because she was going across country to visit friends and that way she wouldn't run up a long distance bill calling home. As time has gone on though, it has become a lifeline to her mom when she is at the mall or a friend's house or even just walking around the block. I am pretty sure my daughter will not need one at age 9, but she will probably get one when she is entering middle school (6th grade here).

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I cannot tell you how disgusting it is to have kids texting during class. Even when the phone is in their pocket, they can still send and receive text messages. It has become such a distraction and just another excuse to further the isolation of kids today. No one just talks to each other anymore. If a kid needs to talk to a friend, why not call them on the regular phone? Or better yet, talk to them face to face. I can understand having a phone that just calls in case of emergencies when she starts becoming more independent, but that is not happening yet. And when it does, get her a Jitterbug :)
And I would bet my life on the fact that she is indeed NOT the only one who doesn't have one. Kids always use that excuse. You're right about this one. And it looks like everyone else thinks so as well.

Stephanie in Portland, Oregon

Anonymous said...

We got my daughter a cell phone when she was 16 and got her driver's license. I hated the thought of her driving around and not being able to get ahold of us. She is a bit geographically challenged and called frequently for directions. That is why we got her a GPS for her college graduation! My son got his phone in 9th grade because he was traveling with the high school tennis team (the kids are still in jr. high in 9th grade here, which I LOVE). Otherwise it would have been when he started driving by himself as well. I have to admit that we text each other constantly! It's nice to just get a text in the middle of the day while they're in class (college) that says, "Hi Mom! Love you!" My hubby and I text back and forth frequently as well. We've become texting junkies. Sigh. We pay for all the phones since it's really for our peace of mind that they have them. One issue I've seen with friends' children is that they'll call and say they are one place, when they're really not. I totally agree that young children should always be with someone you trust, and chances are that most parents have a cell phone or a house phone if it's needed. Good luck holding off on the phone!

Gayle in AL

Anonymous said...

We were able to push off getting Zach a phone until he was in 9th grade. We added him to our plan, and made sure we all had unlimited texting. We have set texting rules though- no texting at the table, while playing a family board game, etc. There are also times, such as visiting grandma, that the phone stays in the car. It is sort of the same as the computer... it's still up to you how they use it.

I agree that 11 seems young. On the other hand, like it or not, middle school is all about fitting in with your peers and as petty as it may sound to you or I, this really may be a big deal to Brayden. I think you are right in saying she wants it, not needs it, but did any of us need those awesome Guess overalls I had to have in 7th grade? :) Especially for girls as well as the fact she is newer to the school, it may be truly important to her. I'm not saying give in if you don't want to, but it's also possible to look at it from her point of view too.

And you will text, Kristie, you will! You will text things like GET HOWM NNOW and WHERE ART YOW like I do, but your kids will figure out what you trying to write and get their asses home!

Anonymous said...

I got my first cell phone when I was 14...the summer before going into the 9th grade. I am now 22 and have still, to this day, never paid any part of the bill. I am on my parents family plan and in all honesty, it is cheaper for all of us that way. I have unlimited text and internet on my phone. I have always used my phone a lot and a big percentage of my calls are to my mom...just to check in or to see what she is doing. I agree that 11 is a bit young to have a cell phone, but once they get cell phones, I don't think it will be as bad as you think it might. After a couple of days of looking and playing with the phone non-stop, Brayden will get over the excitment and it will just become part of the "norm." I, personally, don't use all the abbreviations and such when texting. I write everything out and use correct punctuatin.

Anonymous said...

I have 4 children (26/25/21/19) and neither of them got a cell phone until they started driving at 16! As everyone has said here, there was no reason for one. I admit I DO text and I am 52 (took me a while to learn) and it is convenient. My 19 year-old sent 12,387 texts in one month (thank goodness for unlimited texting) and had his phone taken away for one month after I checked the T-Mobile bill and saw where he was texting from 1:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m. ON A SCHOOL NIGHT!!!! It is a source of comfort when my 21 y.o. drives home 300 miles from college by herself. She checks in with me every hour on her trips and she did have car trouble on the interstate one trip, eleven miles from the nearest exit. I was a basket case, but was able to talk to her until help got there. So, yeah I think when they start driving is when they NEED a cell phone!

The Running Girl said...

Ahhh, the cell phone debate. My brother got both his girls phones when they were in middle school after the school had a bomb threat and he couldn't locate them (whole other story). I thought he was crazy for getting them phones so young. That is until Madison went to middle school. We live close enough to the school that we don't get busing at our house, but too far for me to feel comfortable with her walking home. That means I have to be there to pick her up every day. I get off work at 3:30 and have a 25 mile drive to her school. School lets out at 4:00. That gives me JUST enough time to get there. Well, the first time there was a major wreck and I knew I'd be way late, I stressed over what to do. Luckily, I called my husband and had him pick her up, but what if he had been out of town? I decided right then to get Madison a cell phone, but not for social reasons. She got one right after Christmas of her 6th grade year (she was 12). She has to ask us before she is allowed to give her number to anyone, including (especially) other adults. Texting is blocked from her phone. And she has to turn it off at night. Luckily she's been very responsible with it and hardly ever talks on it. We told her after one year we would consider the unlimited texting option, but she would have to pay for it.

As for me, my phone has a camera (that never gets used) and I do have texting. I use it just a little bit, but do feel there are times when texting is better than calling. I don't use it when I shouldn't (i.e. in movies, or when it would be considered rude) and I certainly don't text while I drive (although I do have a blue tooth that I use when I drive - now that, I love! But I do take it off when I go in somewhere.)

Anyway, you'll know when the time is right for your family. Good luck. Middle school is a whole different ball game.


Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a tough one. I'm a grown (pregnant surro, too) woman with 2 kids and I don't have one! Just no need. Can't stand to be interrupted. That being said, when I was a teen, I had one of those caveman type bag phones for my car. I used to go broke every month. I can easily see that happening now and would rather not have to deal.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you said, however, my son (7) has a cell phone with no frills of course. Our reason for him having one is because he goes to the neighbors house and practically lives there during summer break. We wanted a surefire way to contact him when needed. He also takes it when we go to the mall so that when he is off with his 17 year old brother, he can call us if said brother is being unresponsible, mean, or happens to leave him in a store (kidding). That being said, I hate it!!!!!! I wish people would remember that a phone is a tool to use when necessary, and that we should not be slaves to them. I also worry about my 17 year old and what is being said when he texts friends (he does not have a camera). I hear about friends whose children have sent rated X photos to each other. Hope you find your solution easier than I found mine.
Sandy in GA

Anonymous said...

Dear Kristie,
With you on this and more than anything else, because of the health of your kids!
Love, Eva

Donna said...

Lordy I HATE texting!!! More precisely, I hate kids who would rather sit next to each other and text someone who is not there than talk to the kids who ARE there! WTH?? Very few things look sillier than grade school kids whipping out a cell phone as they walk out of the school door. I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure grade school gets out at the same time every day and the office will let you call your parents in an emergency.

The high school where I work says the students have to leave them in their lockers during classes, but 90% carry them anyway. Teachers are supposed to confiscate them if they are seen, but not all do. I actually take perverse pleasure in making them hand the phone over. If they get busted twice, the parents are supposed to come TO the school to retrieve the phone--the student can't get it back alone. I can't believe how many 17-year-olds try to tell me they have to call their Mom in the middle of the day because they forgot to bring their Underarmor, or they need to ask if they can go to the football game... Gosh, what ever happened to personal responsibility folks.

Mama Bear said...

As a middle school teacher, I can attest that cell phones at this age are most trouble than they are worth. We have trouble with kids texting in schools, particularly trying to text during tests and with techno-bullying.

This year, some of the kids in our school figured out they could use their cell phones to update a webpage called "Why We Hate Ashley Xxxxx". These kids thought they could be anonymous, but their postings all were linked to their cell numbers. In this case, it wasn't too difficult to catch the culprits.

My kids also fed me the line that they were the only ones without cell phones. (Of course they also informed me they were the only kids at school who had never been to the Caribbean and who didn't make an annual trek to Disney World.) Each of our kids got a cell phone for their 16th birthdays - so they would have it for emergencies when they were driving alone and could contact me more easily about changes to after school plans.

As for texting, it can be very appropriate. My kids send me text messages while I'm at work which I can pick up and respond to quickly between classes - and they can respond to between their classes. It is faster than a phone call and good for simple messages.

You are a good parent. Stand firm. Eleven year olds do not need cell phones unless they are often in situations without adult supervision (which isn't a good idea for 11 yr olds anyway).

Sincerely Iowa said...

Our oldest daughter has a cell phone (she is 12 and will be starting 7th grade). We do have the unlimited texting and I will have to admit the phone (and texting) has come in handy on many occasions. I think it all depends on your financial situation, and if your child is involved in a lot of activities where you aren't always there. (Which is our situation). We also make the requirement that my daughter must remain on the honor roll (A's and B's) in order to KEEP the cell phone. It only costs us $10 a month to add her to our plan, so I never really considered it a big deal.

Cindi said...

I have three cell phones and before my kids had their drivers licenses they would take one if they were leaving the neighborhood and neither hubby or I were with them. Once they got their licenses they got to "keep" one. My younger son's high school does not permit them, so he left it in his car. He would eat lunch in his car and I knew I could get in touch with him if I needed to at that time.

I know that if he doesn't answer when I call him while he's out, that he's driving and will call me as soon as he can. The first time it is discovered that he was on the phone while driving, he loses driving privileges.

My 21 year old is very old school. He wants absolutely NOTHING to do with a cell phone. Although he always had one with him after he first got his license, he hasn't done that in several years. Heck, he doesn't even like landline phones!

Good luck with your phone future!

Anonymous said...

I have three young adults 21,and twins boy/girl aged almost 18. We went with a family plan when our oldest entered high school. He is now on his own cell phone plan, he got way too expensive ie: going over minutes allowed. My other two are on our plan and we have unlimited text messaging. I had heard horror stories from other parents about 400.00 bills for texting so we went unlimited. I am thinking about reducing our talk minutes but will wait and see when my twins are at college this fall, YIKES!!! Where did the years go!! Hold firm until at least 8th grade or when she enters high school. You are not a mean mother. I am the Queen of Mean! Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

The youngest child I know with a cell phone is aged 13. She has a plan that includes text-messaging and has her allowance reduced to help pay for it. She is much too obsessed with texting and there should be a method of locking down the amount of texting a phone can do (but there isn't, of course, only an increase in charge if you exceed your limit).

I'm 22; I got my first cell phone immediately after turning 20 and paid/pay for it entirely myself. My parents offered me a cell phone for a Christmas gift at 19, but I declined. It's unnecessary, I said! I don't need one!
That said, I now use my phone to check in at home, to conduct school business from work (without using the work phones for it), and when trying to co-ordinate a gathering of people. I have used text-messaging, but exclusively in a situation where it replaced a long-distance call (apparently I get a few free texts per month, as opposed to a zillion dollars for the call). I don't believe it's ever necessary, though it's useful to be able to do one or two, just in case.
Bare-bones plans are good! They're cheap and they place clear limits on what your children may do. If they exceed their plans, they should have to pay the difference.

Anonymous said...

We got our son a cell phone at age 14, it is only $10 a month and unlimited texting so no he doesn't have to help pay for it. (he mows the lawn, good enough for me) We mostly got it because of after school sports and a way for us to know where he is and when he needs to be picked up. Funniest thing....he HATES texting and after sports where done he shut it off and put it away. We tell him when he leaves to grab his phone and he refuses because of all his friends texting him...so now my 13 & 9 year old think they should have it....sigh.

Anonymous said...

Both of my kids got cell phones when they started driving. #1 son worked for a Radio Shack, so got a great deal on his service and paid for it himself. Daughter got hers at age 16, but was never much of a phone talker until she went off to college this past year. They both thought they were pretty cool having their own phones, but didn't realize that it was great for me as well, because I could call them when they were out and about, checking up on them. I never was into the texting until my daughter moved into her basement dorm room with sketchy cell phone service - texting worked but not so much the real phone calls unless she went to the stairwell.

As for Brayden - why exactly does she need a phone? If she is at activities and needs to call you for a ride home once done, then perhaps it is a good thing. But if she "needs" it just because she wants to talk with her friends, etc., then perhaps not so much. I would certainly weigh it out and get her a no frills phone when and if there is a need for it.

Sarah said...

I agree with you completely.
My daughter got a cell phone at age 14 when she went to a school dance with a boy. With a bunch of people I didn't know. With a boy (who I did know).

She didn't get text messaging until she was 15 and only after we agreed upon a chore at home that she had to complete every month to pay for the text messaging. So, every month she sweeps, vacuums, and mops the hardwood floors.

Stand your ground.

Haley said...

I seriously doubt that all of her friends have cell phones. I am a seventh grade teacher, and about a 1/4 of my kids each year are still without phones. I teach at a neighborhood school (the majority of my students walk or ride their bikes), and several students use the office phone to call parents to rearrange plans at the end of the day or borrow friends' phones.

As a young teacher, I text, I have an unlimited plan, so I understand their obsession to some degree, but my biggest grievance with texting? Parents who text their students while their kids are in class! Granted this rule breaking is few and far in between, but geez! It is the responsibility of the parent to teach the student proper telephone etiquette, and I think that's exactly what you are doing for Brayden.

Haley said...

I seriously doubt that all of her friends have cell phones. I am a seventh grade teacher, and about a 1/4 of my kids each year are still without phones. I teach at a neighborhood school (the majority of my students walk or ride their bikes), and several students use the office phone to call parents to rearrange plans at the end of the day or borrow friends' phones.

As a young teacher, I text, I have an unlimited plan, so I understand their obsession to some degree, but my biggest grievance with texting? Parents who text their students while their kids are in class! Granted this rule breaking is few and far in between, but geez! It is the responsibility of the parent to teach the student proper telephone etiquette, and I think that's exactly what you are doing for Brayden.

Anonymous said...

The disclaimer: I don't have a child BEGGING for a phone, but I don't like the fact that scientists are saying long term cell phone use is not a good thing so I do think 11 is too young. 13 to me seems more realistic. I think for most kids it is a status thing.

I do send text messages at times, but the majority are business related. Frankly, since my cell phone is my business line, I don't carry it with me everywhere because there are times I don't want to be bothered. It's very freeing to not have the phone with you.

I won't take it in to the movies, a restaurant, or a store because it drives me CRAZY when someone is just chit chatting away in an aisle.

Funny story. The other night, the radio station where I work gave away a bunch of tickets to the midnight showing of Wall-E. Before the start of the movie, someone from the theater came in and reminded everyone no taping was allowed and also asked for people to turn off their phones and NO TEXTING.

That is my biggest pet peeve because the bright lights in a dark theater are so distracting. So I said, quite jokingly, but in a very serious voice and a little louder than I normally would have to my friend who was with me, "You know, I hate when people do that. I swear if someone within reach starts texting, I going to reach over, grab their phone, and throw it across the room." We just about died laughing when the teenager next to me looks up fearfully, and immediately puts her phone in her bag. But no one around us got a text message during the movie! I'm going to have to do that again.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get my phone until i was 16...with a license..a job...and money to pay for it(not just "allowance" money that we never had anyways). People lived in this fast paced world for decades without having cell phones at all..so how is it that now that we have them middle schoolers just can't live without them??

Anonymous said...

Stand your ground on this one! It is only the tip of the iceberg of demands that will be made of you and likely a good time to set a precedent that your family values trumps current trends. My observation has been that part of the obsession with texting is instantaneous replies. These kids are being raised to have instant gratification. Not only are they no using correct spelling it helps them avoid actual verbal dialog. The art of actually speaking with another human is getting lost somewhere in this equation as well. The good things about texting are far fewer than the bad. I was a mean mother and held out until my children were 16. I endured all of the whining ("I am the last teenager ON EARTH that doesn't have a cell phone", etc., etc.) My teenagers are both serial texters, which I abhor. My daughter is now starting to see how rude it is when she recently spent time with a friend she hadn't seen for some time and that friend spent the better part of their visit together texting with other friends. I understand parents giving their children cell phones at an earlier age, particularly working parents who need to stay in touch with their children from a distance. I think that the decision to give an 11 year old a cell phone really depends on family circumstances and the familie's values. Put on your Teflon suit and eat your Wheaties; this is only the beginning of the challenges you will face as your children are entering their teens/preteens. Wishing you luck....

Tammy said...

Kristi, you asked, here you go! 11 is too young my opinon! My girls got theirs when they were in high school, after they had jobs to pay for them! I don't text myself, but it is nice for them to send a text to me (sneaking it of course) at school when they are'nt suppose to be on the phone! Emergencies of course,lol! Hugs from Fort Worth!

Anonymous said...

Agreed! My oldest is only 8, and she does have friends with cell phones, and they spend a good bit of time texting and talking to one another on those phones. Most of those kids are in public school and see each other EVERYDAY! Talk then!

We are planning to wait until they start going out with friends without adult supervision (if they are with an adult, then the adult probably has a phone). We are not big cell phone people either, so for us a phone that goes with us is simply an annoyance. We have a pay as you go plan, because we use less than 300 minutes per year, so it is cheaper.

Go with what you believe is best!

Anonymous said...

Hold on, I'll text you my comments.
We've talked about this -- my feeling is that you buy a kid a cell phone when they aren't going to be with you 24/7 -- when they are driving or at practice, etc. on their own. Not to just text their friends who are in the same room with them....

Leeann said...

Good post!

Our daughter just turned 13 in May and we got her a cell phone for her birthday. However, she was not clamoring for it and it stays here. She takes it if we request her to- like if she is babysitting or if she wants to stay at the library while I go to the store. That kind of thing. A clue as to how much she has used it...she has charged it up once since the beginning of May! lol

I'm sure at some point she will want to use it more and will start texting. I myself have never sent a text. Still, I'm sure at some point she will pull me in to that. There's a fine line between choosing not to do something on principle and not knowing how and thus becoming technologically "old." I don't want to be in that second category.

Also, I totally agree with you about the rudeness factor. My husband had to be taught very, very clear rules about his "Crackberry" that he has for work. When he is with my family and it buzzes, I've taught him to leave it the hell alone. There was little as annoying as him constantly pulling that thing out. Drove me nuts!


Anonymous said...

I have lurked on your site for years and have thoroughly enjoyed your blog. I laughed out loud when I read about your latest adventure at the water park with your bathing suit issue... totally would have happened to me, too!!

I wanted to weigh in on the cell phone issue. I debated about this,too, but my daughter has had a cell phone since she was 9. She plays on a travel basketball team and a club lacrosse team. (Both of which are her choice and she works hard to stay on both. My life would be easier if she didn't do this, but she enjoys it and wants to keep active so more power to her. ) The cell phone has given her a sense of security and a life line when she is on the team bus, etc. Even though, I was trailing the bus in my car, she had a way to reach me if she forgot something or needed to talk.

I also see the cell phone as a second line of security for her. She programmed a contact name into her phone which is actually "911"- she calls it "Sally". She came up with this idea completely on her own. I feel better knowing that she has her phone with her and can call me if anything happens to her when she is riding her bike or just at a friends house, etc.

She is 13 now and has earned some priviledges such as movies with friends, etc. It's allowed us to give her a little freedom while still feeling connected. I tend to be a smother mother so this has helped me. Just yesterday, we were in Hershey Park after a 4 day basketball tournament and she was able to go around the park with 4 teammates while keeping in touch with me. She let me know each ride she went to and I trailed behind with the other parents.

I agree with the concerns about texting, etc., but they are a way of life these days. You just have to set your own boundaries and rules that work for your family and stick to them.

I love starting my day by reading your blog. It always gives me a good chuckle. You're a great mom and I enjoy reading about your family!!! : )

J-Quell'n said...

I'm with you, Kristie.

When I subbed in the 5th grade classes, it seemed like every child, boy and girl had a cell phone, or two, or three, or wanted one. I talked to them multiple times about why they wanted one or felt they needed one and also how (for the ones that had them) they got them. I was surprised when they told me that you could play the claw game at the mall and get one.

At 11 and 12 years old, they are much too young to need a cell phone...like other people have said, they should (and I know your kids always are) with responsible adults. All I've seen of these youngsters is that they abuse it, become isolated, and lack manners.

That being said, when I do have children of my own, they might get a cell phone when they start driving, but it will be a trac phone for sure and only for safety reasons. I got my first cell phone when I was 18 and in college. I had no reason for it before that...our high school had pay phones that you could use to call your parents.

Ah, I remember the Christmas of 1,000 phones, when every one of my little cousins got a cell phone, and I thought it was completely absurd. Why would anyone without responsibilities need one?

Marge said...

You are right, so don't give in. Kids don't need to grow up so fast. High school is soon enough for a cell phone, or a bit sooner if they are doing a lot of activities after school etc.

You mentioned rude kids texting in front of guests etc. How about the kid I saw texting in church? At a wedding? Or grownups texting when at a small dinner party? And the worst is when they are driving. Not necessary at all. I don't text, I've told my grandkids to not text me, call me. I want to hear their voice, not see their poor excuse for spelling!

Hang on......you are right. Don't let the world change your family values.

(My 7 year old granddaughter called me and asked for a cell phone from me for Christmas last year! I said not only NO but H E double toothpicks NO!)

Anonymous said...

Both of my kids got cell phones when they started driving. #1 son worked for a Radio Shack, so got a great deal on his service and paid for it himself. Daughter got hers at age 16, but was never much of a phone talker until she went off to college this past year. They both thought they were pretty cool having their own phones, but didn't realize that it was great for me as well, because I could call them when they were out and about, checking up on them. I never was into the texting until my daughter moved into her basement dorm room with sketchy cell phone service - texting worked but not so much the real phone calls unless she went to the stairwell.

As for Brayden - why exactly does she need a phone? If she is at activities and needs to call you for a ride home once done, then perhaps it is a good thing. But if she "needs" it just because she wants to talk with her friends, etc., then perhaps not so much. I would certainly weigh it out and get her a no frills phone when and if there is a need for it.

Anonymous said...

I agree that getting her a phone "just because" isn't a good reason, but I do have to say that my 11 year old just recieved her first phone. My husband upgraded his phone, so we passed his old one down to her. She is going to be walking about a mile to and from middle school this coming year, on a fairly busy street. so we felt it was important for her to be able to get a hold of us. I have activated the "chaperone" feature of the phone, so we will always know where she (or at least the phone) is. It gives me peace of mind, at least. No texting, and if her bill goes over $5 a month, the texting feature will be removed. No internet, either.

Oh, I have been reading your blog for quite a while, and I think you are an amazing writer! This is the first time I have commented though. :)


Anonymous said...

We are in the middle of the same conundrum. Our 11-year-old daughter does not have a cell phone. I do not think she is responsible enough to have one of her own right now. My husband points out that it would be great for peace of mind when she and her sister are out riding bikes in the neighborhood - we could contact them or they can contact us with any problems. My daughter will be walking home from middle school alone next year, and I wonder if she should have one for safety reasons. On the other side, the school's rules state that cell phones must be turned off and left in the lockers all day. Would she even remember to turn it on before heading home?

Another concern is her 9-year-old sister. I think her sister will be constantly "borrowing" the phone and calling her little 4th grade friends, just to be cool. She will then start to harass me for her own cell phone day and night.

I am reading all of the comments with interest in hopes that it will help me solve my own cell phone dilemma.

Amy @ Six Flower Mom said...

I too agree with all your reasons and have my own! I have five children,my oldest is 13 and has asked for a cell phone BUT I am standing firm! Even at 13 she is never in a place without a trusting adult that I feel comfortable with. I think this is a HUGE disadvantage to the 'cell phone era' we are in, some think of it as protection and security and allow children (yes 13, 14, 15, etc.. are still children)to do things that they otherwise would not allow! This is very scary. Children need to be encouraged to be children not 'little adults'.

Wendy said...

I text because I don't always want to be bothered with a conversation. I'm busy and people don't get that when you're on the phone. They talk and talk and talk.

I would get her a phone. It's terrible to feel like you don't fit in with the other school kids. AT&T has a great prepaid plan. You could get her say, $25 a month. That's her limit. She doesn't get more until the beginning of the month. They also have text packages. You can get 200 texts for $5. Not bad.

I have a friend who sold her *huge* plasma TV to buy her 12 year old an I-Phone when they first came out. I think that's going way way overboard.

But get her a phone, Ma. You can still have complete control of it. Plus, it's leverage when she doesn't want to do chores or whatever.

Anonymous said...

We got my daughter her first cell phone with unlimited texting when she turned 13. She texts her friends a lot but also uses it to call us and check in.
We have 4 kids and it actually is peace of mind for me knowing she can call when she is anywhere.
I also have twins who are 11 and are already asking when they will get theirs- when they turn 13.
We do ground her from it from time to time.

Anonymous said...

We are in the same boat. We bought our 12 yr old a cell phone for her 12th birthday because her school was unsafe(HONESTLY--she was pushed down 7 stairs this year). We wanted to make sure she could call us anytime. So--we got her one and NO TEXTING ALLOWED!!!! Not even on our plan. Our next daughter Jennifer ,11, wants one and we refuse to get her one. She hasnt shown us that she is ready for one and isnt mature enough not to lose it. We hear from her all the time that all her friends have one and she is the only one...TOUGH BEANS!!! I thin kids need to earn things in life and nothing should be handed to them, cars, cells, ETCX!!!!!

Love, Marci

Wendy said...

I also want to add that our 5 year old asked for a cell for Christmas last year. WTF? I just laughed at him. I felt bad about that though, because my laughing at him did hurt his feelings. Oh well...

Sally said...

I am with you and I too am struggling because I won't let my 11 year old have a cell phone either. I am not sure when I will cave, but I know it won't be until at least 12...maybe 13.
I hate texting and Crackberries. I don't understand why the world has accepted a constant check of the phone is acceptable, but they wouldn't take a call or leave a meeting because that would be rude!!
I also agree that it has done terrible things to our spelling abilities. I am still old school, and I even expect e-mails to have proper grammer and spelling.
Good luck and let me know if you figure out a way to stop the begging!!!

Anonymous said...

We got our 2 teenage sons a net10 phone to share. They split the cost of the minutes. Once they saw how fast they burned a month's worth of minutes and it came out of their pocketbook, they decided that the home phone (with no charge to them) was a good enough way to communicate! It is much harder to abuse privileges when you are the one paying for it. My oldest son graduated from high school this year, for graduation, he chose a separate net10 phone (even though he could have chosen a plan) with lots of bells and whistles and a camera. He learned to budget money for his phone.

Anonymous said...

WOW! I think you sparked a little interest with this post!

I totally agree with everything you said. Everything! My friends kids don't seem to talk to each other anymore. In fact, they don't even have decent verbal skills with anyone!

And cell phones are not allowed in our school either, but they sneak them in anyway and use them under their desks and then are shocked and offended and indignant when they're caught.

I see a value in cell phones when they're away from home, but not at 11.


Anonymous said...

Timely topic as I just got my 12 almost 13 year old a cell phone. Let me correct that - we got an extra family cell phone. Chances are she will be the only one using it for a while. We got a Tmobile pay as you go phone (better coverage round here than tracfone). It was necessary for us bc she has joined the high school marching band (a year early as an eighth grader this fall) and will be away from from me a lot, I'll be doing lots of picking up and dropping off and I wanted her to have it so I could contact her and she could contact me. It will also be handy when she walks to a friend's house or walks the dogs or is otherwise away from home enroute somewhere either with a friend or alone. Emergencies happen and I don't want her to have to approach someone's house or wait for assistance. So it is an emergency/reassurance phone. And at her age I don't believe she needs anything else. If she chooses to use it for other than emergency purposes, she'll be paying for her own minutes at this point.


Tracy said...

don't do it!!! Really...I made the MISTAKE with my 11 year old son and ended up with a $400 phone bill that included mostly downloads he knew he wasn't supposed to do-My 2 teen daughters didn't get them until they were 8th grade or so-never had that issue. To say the least he no longer has a phone-but I am still stuck paying the $9.99 a month for his line-which I feel is less expensive than him actually using a phone. My reason for giving him one was so I could call him when he was at a friends or the park etc.. I was so disapointed but he just wasn't able to handle the responsibility-
On another note-the texting bothers me also-especially when I am trying to have a conversation with my 15 year old and she is in TEXT la-la land-UGGH.
Thanks for bring up the subject-Stick to your guns mom!!!

Anonymous said...

I think every point you made about kids and cell phones is valid...and I whole-heartedly agree! I have a 10 1/2 yr. old girl (and a 6 yr. old girl and 4 yr. old boy), who really wants a cell phone too. I have told her that when her daddy and I feel that it's necessary she has one, she'll get one. She plays several travel sports and also swims on a swim team, and now that she's a little bit older, I find myself feeling more comfortable dropping her off at practice and leaving her. I've started to lend her my cell phone, on those occasions, so that if it starts to rain or practice ends earlier than expected, she can call me to come pick her up. I suspect that we'll be getting her a cell phone sooner than we may have liked, but only because of the reasons listed above! I don't believe in kids texting all day long, or talking all day long, for that matter!
When she does get her phone, it will have lots of "rules" that come along with it......we just haven't ironed out those details yet!

Two helpful hints from two different friends of mine:

1) Make sure she knows that none of her text messages should be deleted and that you will be browsing through them. (You can tell if they've deleted them or not).

2) My other friend only gave her child cell phones for emergencies. She says that if a friend wants her child to do something or go somewhere, they can call her house. So if her child comes to her and asks if she can do such and such with X, but that child hasn't called her home number, my friend just says no. In other words, no plans get "hatched" on cell phones. She wants to know (and speak to) her children's friends.

Ahhh... confusing times, these tween years! Good luck...and stay the course! You're doing a great job :)

Julie H.

queen foodie said...

Wow, lots of opinions here. I think, first, that whatever you choose is the right choice for your family. Saying that, I love technology and toys and almost (in a bout of craziness) almost bought my 7 yr old a phone. Luckily I woke up from the insanity that is me sometimes. I now will wait until 13 probably. Being a teacher my son goes to school where I work and has no need for a phone. He is literally 1 minute away from me all day long. He does know how to use our phones and text. We do have unlimited texting wich my hubby and I use a lot. Sometimes he needs to tell me something quick and doesn't want to interrupt my teaching. We have designated special ringtones for emergencies so unless I hear that ringtone (which hasn't happened yet)I don't interrupt my teaching to read it.

I see a lot of students at my shcool who have phones (1st and 2nd graders) and it makes me really glad I postponed my purchase. We've caught students texting during the day. They're not supposed to have them out during the day, but the rule gets broken and then the phone gets taken until the parents pick it up.

You seem like a strong enough parent that you'll do what works for your family and that's all that matters...good luck fending off the peer pressure next year... yikes.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you have opened a huge can of worms here! You already have 65 messages. Wow! Now, for my 2 cents. I'm pretty much in line with you. Perhaps there will be a day when you will text a little, but I would never give in to the beggings and pleadings of "EVERYONE ELSE HAS ONE!" As you said, there will be a day when the kids are becoming more independant and it will be prudent for them to have one. For our family we have given the ole' - wait till you actually use the phone a little more. Fortunately my son was reasonable and when presented with the facts of how often he is on the phone (almost never) and do ALL of his friends have phones-no, he was able to say that he agreed and did not need one as of yet. He is 13. Oh, and we homeschool so the kids are with us all the time anyway.
Some words from the wise (a friend has a 16 yr. old): Hold off as long as you can with the phone and ESPECIALLY the texting. Her daughter racked up a $250.00+ bill from texting outside of her network. The daughter is always using texting - even at family functions, which now the mom and dad have had to take away the phone after a certain time of night.
Oh, and for what it is worth, I lived my life without cell phone usage until 33 years old (I'm 36 now). We went to all cell and I still treat it as a regular phone. I will not be a slave to it and children do not have the capability to say no. As is evident by the fact we have to give them time limits for nintendo ds, ps2, computer. They are addicts at heart!
O.K. that was probably more like 25 cents worth of my thoughts, but hopefully it will help. Best wishes for you on this battle!

Anonymous said...

We got my oldest (who is now 28) a cell phone when he was 16 and started driving - same thing with my 2nd child (who is now 24). We got the "baby" (who is now 19) a phone when she turned 13, instead of 16, because by then cell phones were more widely used, and it helped us keep in touch with her a lot easier. She was (is) definitely the most social of the three kids, and the deal was that there was no excuse not to keep in touch, and she had to answer if we called. It also has been used in "difficult" situations that she needed to get out of. It also freed up our home phone. I have also come into the age of texting - mainly with my youngest who is in college now, but also with my middle child who is in law school. It's a good tool for us to use - they can text right quick before a class starts, since you can't use them in class (duh). We did have to make our youngest daughter turn her phone off at bedtime (11:00) because we would notice on the phone bill where she would be sending/receiving calls after bedtime. Makes you wonder how much sleep kids really get these days.

Anonymous said...

My parents got me a cell phone when I got my driver's license at 16. Before that, I was always somewhere where there was access to a land line or payphone. The cell phone was for emergencies when driving.

I had a cell phone until I was about 21 and haven't had one since then (I'm 24). I LOVE not having one - I agree that texting is invasive and I enjoy not being interrupted at all hours of the day. People can't phone me when I'm out for supper, or out at a friend's house....if it's an emergency they can call the land line! People survived for many many years without one, so we can survive now!

I'm the only one in my group of friends without one, and it bothers them ALL that I don't have one....their problem, not mine!

I find it extremely rude when people stop and text in the middle of a conversation, or when out for lunch, or at a party, etc etc. I was running a booth at a career symposium and I'm not kidding you, 90% of the kids were walking around texting or talking on their phones. One girl even pulled out her phone to answer a text when I was in the middle of answering her question. I must have had quite the look on my face because when she was done texting she looked up at me and said "Oh...sorry..."

As for the spelling issue....I AGREE!! Can't STAND the acronyms!
PS: You should read "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" if you love spelling and punctuation. It's hilarious.

Daisy, Just Daisy said...

I'm 25 years old & I got my first cell phone on my 16th birthday. This was before cell phones were "mainstream" and I was definately the first of my entire social circle to get one. However...it was because we lived in an area that often had bad weather & I was involved in multiple after school activities & my parents wanted peace of mind knowing I could get ahold of them if I were to ever have car troubles. That said they monitored that phone like hawks. In college, when texting & internet became the rage they refused to put it on my phone. I didn't start texting until I was in law school....

My parents said if they had to do it over again they would still wait till I was 16 & they would not add texting or internet to my phone plan.

(I'm getting a new iPhone in a few weeks...yay for being an adult! With my very own job & bank account!)

tiffany said...

I think i might just be the minority of the opinions, but my kids all have phones, my 9 yr old just got her own and my 6 and 7 yr old share one. Although they are not allowed to call anoyone that is not in network(and i check that out first) except on weekends when it is free.
One time i could not for the life of me get ahold on my oldest when she was 6 and at a friends house and that did it for me, since then they have always had a phone to call mom for anything they need or had questions to ask while they were at their friends house...and i dont think any of my kids friends parents have landlines, we sure dont. I also can pay for monitoring to make sure the kids are not out of a specific boundary that is set up for them while they are riding their bikes, it notifies me immediately if they do cross that.
The kids do not take the phones to school though and they do not text at this time.I just feel better knowing i can get ahold of them at any time so they carry it more for my sake of peace than theirs.

My husband and I both have blackberrys and love them...i use the internet every day as does he.They are wonderful in my eyes :)

I do think kids txt more because they dont use minutes up to talk to their friends that way so mom and dad who say they only get x amount of minutes a month they can still talk to their friends without burning them up.

phew ive rambled alot!

Anonymous said...

I agree with your reasoning, but for me number one is plenty good enough. I do think you are fighting the inevitable though. And I have to say I agree with your friend that texting is non-invasive. When you make a phone call, you have to go through the customary polite exchanges ("Hi, how are you, fine thanks, what's up?") before you can get to your point. Which sometimes might be to remind someone to drop off a bill at the post office or feed the goldfish or double-check what time you're supposed to meet.

I DO agree that texting, IM, and other technological means of communicating (as opposed to old-fashioned letter-writting) are degrading the abilities of our younger generations to communicate properly and understand basic grammar and even spelling. As time marches on, I predict it will become a less required and valued skill, though anyone who possesses that skill must always be at an advantage when, say, seeking employment.

Unknown said...

It's a damned if you don't, damned if you do scenario.

My granddaughter had one at Brayden's age and it was useful to her parents (and me) because she participated in after school sports, and on occasion they would need to be picked up early, or to say they were going over time. Because of the texting addiction, especially at night, she can't take her phone with her at bedtime. She has to plug it in at the kitchen disk where all the chargers are.

I must say that I have gotten into the text habit with both granddaughters and my daughter because thats the only thing they respond to. The worst thing? I actually texted my granddaughter,asking her to bring me something, and she was in the next room! Holy crap!

But back to Brayden, It's on of those things that could be a positive lifeline, as long as there are restrictions. The schools will take them away from the kids here if they get caught using them AT.ALL!! I guess it's a cheating tool.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all your objections and will add one of my own (I didn't read previous comments, so forgive me if I'm being redundant.) Kids (and adults) can be MUCH MEANER when they are writing versus when they are speaking directly to another. Kids are mean enough to each other, why make it easier? So there, I'm cranky too!
Deanna in Delafield, WI

Missy said...

Why spend money on something you don't really need yet? (Or at least THAT MUCH money.)

Our rules:

1. The child has to have a demonstrable need for a phone before we allow it.

2. The child must be able to pay for their share of the monthly bill. (Added to a family plan, that is somewhere around $10-20/month.)

3. No answering calls during meal or family times. No ignoring others present in the room to text, and other politeness related guidelines.

4. Despite who is paying or has paid for the phone, Mom and Dad have final say on what happens with the phone.

And yes, my teenage daughter hates me. :-)

Anonymous said...

I always said that my kids wouldn't need cell phones. However, I have to admit we got our son a cell phone for Christmas, and he wasn't even 11 then. He plays tennis with a team and also loves to go fishing at a local pond and lake. Now he can call one of us when his match is over or he's done fishing, and we can reach him at any time. He has been very responsible, and does a better job keeping up with his phone than his Dad. It's worked great for us, I do keep a close eye via the internet on his minutes, he usually only uses 5 to 10 billable minutes a month. I'm hoping that as he goes to Middle School, there won't be any novelty connected to his phone, but we'll see!
Debbie E.
Peachtree City, GA

CAT said...

Hey Kristie,
Wow I can't believe all of the comments! I wish I had time to read them all but I don't right now. We have 4 girls, 16,17,18,20. They all have cell phones the youngest age that they got them was 14, some of them were older, they bought their own phones and they pay for their own plans, I won't have any part of paying for something that I don't think that they need. It also depends on the kid how obsessed they are with it. Two of our girls have it permanantly attached to them and the other two really could care a less about the phone, yes they use it but rarely. The two that are addicted to texting drive me crazy, they are the two middle girls. We went on a cruise last summer, we had to fly from Edmonton, Alberta to Orlando, Florida and both of those girls had their phone on the second we got off the plane, the other two girls didn't even bring their phones. They couldn't use their phones on the cruise because the rates were insane, trust me they probably would have paid the fees had I not banned them from touching those phones well you should have seen them when we got off the ship it was rediculous. I totally think that 11 is too young. My nephew got one last year for his 12th birthday and 3 months later he dropped it in the bath because he was texting his friends while he was having a bath!!! Even worse was the fact that he had one of the top of the line phones that his parents pay for and they bought him another phone, a plain jane this time.
I could go on and on about it as well but we are on the same page. It is tough because it is so common and face it kids are spoiled these days, they have to have the best of the best!
Good luck and stand your ground, I constantly tell my girls that it is a really hard job being a good parent, it is much easier to give into the pressure and be a parent who lets their kids do whatever so they don't have to deal with it and that one day they will understand what I mean!

Have a great day,


Anonymous said...

When my 12 year old asks about a cell phone, I say, "Convince me why you need one." It takes the heat off of me just saying "no" all the time and so far she hasn't come up with a single valid reason. So far she's always ended up saying, "I don't need one yet."

Rhonda said...

I can't wait to take the time to read the 82 comments before mine! We have the same issue/questions in our home with our 10 YEAR OLD daughter!! This should be a great collection of ideas and answers!

By the way, my cell phone doesn't have a camera either. We were with out-of-town family a couple of weeks ago and my cousin actually LAUGHED at my phone!! It's not exactly one of the 1980's bricks - it's a little plain jane flip phone that will be mine until it dies! Then I will upgrade to the cheapest phone Cingular offers at that time!!!

Anonymous said...

I suppose now is NOT a good time to tell you that not only did I get Jake a cell phone 4 years ago when he was almost 11, last year I got him a debit card?? Yeah, I know - but, see, it's different for us: I'm a (lazy!!) working outside-the-home single parent who takes great glee in being able to contact/track down/interrupt/bother my son whenever I need (feel!!) like it! The year that I got it for him was his first year of middle school and his first year of being out of any before and after school daycare. So, it gave me some peace of mind. BUT, I TOTALLY AGREE with you about texting - I hate it too. The debit card?? I can transfer money to it online and that way I know that he's always got at least $5-$10 bucks on him no matter where he is. Hold out as long as you can, sistah - but, I gotta tell ya, you're fighting a losing battle.....

Alice said...

Not that you need my input since you have 84 comments supporting you - but I say: Stand firm! There's plenty of time for cell phones down the road. She'll thank you later. Really.

Overflowing Brain said...

As a former 8th grade teacher, I can tell you that every single one of them have phones now, and it's absurd and obnoxious. No matter what we threaten them with, they still have them on and use them at school.

I agree with you and I've informed my husband that no matter what the rage is when my (future hypothetical) kids ask for one, the answer will be, not until you're in high school. I had wanted to wait until they're 16, but I have a feeling I wouldn't stand a fighting chance.

I just do not understand the need for 12 year olds to have cell phones. It's ridiculous. Regular phones work just fine and they don't cost much either.

I'm perhaps the grouchiest 25 year old ever.

Anonymous said...

Our oldest daughter (now 18) got her cell phone when she got her driver's license. We agreed with you on that too many kids use them for things that are just unnecessary and she didn't NEED one. Once she started driving, we did feel like she should have one in case she ever got stuck, stranded, broken down, etc. The rules were, the FIRST time it got taken up at school or she went over her ridiculously low number of minutes and texts allowed per month, the cell phone went back to it's rightful owner........ME. I pay the bill, so we made sure she understood that she was simply being allowed to use it....and only on our conditions. Yes, she fussed at first, but when she realized there would be no bending on it, she's been amazingly responsible. I just changed her plan today to be unlimited minutes and texting...she's traveling all summer and it is a WONDERFUL way for me to keep tabs on her.

We've held out on our 14 year old daughter, using the "your sister didn't get one until she started driving" excuse, but I do see that I may have to give in soon. For her, it will probably be a prepaid phone that I put minutes on it each month....the first time I try to call her and she's used all of her minutes, she'll lose the phone.

I am continually amazed at how often the friends of my 10 year old twins pull out their cell phones to call home.....yikes!!

Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

I can see both sides of the cell phone debate, and I went through it in my own family. We got our first phone when I was 14, 10 years ago. It was a pay as you go phone with no special capabilities. It was technically a family phone, however I usually took it to school with me and was the cool kid because I had a cell phone.

While 11 does seem young to have a cell phone it may not be. I agree that Brayden should be responsible with it, and that can be set through different rules and guidelines. You could get her a phone for calling home that you pay for, if she wants anything extra like text messaging she could pay for that herself. The one thing I would recommend if you do get her a cell phone is to discuss what would happen if lost, stolen or broken.

My 12 year old cousin has a cell phone, but doesn't use it very often. It's for contacting his parents only, which he's respected.

Anonymous said...

I got one at 16 when I started driving and had to travel alot in my own car as an athletic trainer. Also, if I texted anyone or they texted me--I had to pay for it. 11 seems pretty darn young for a phone but every family has different ideas on that.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am sure I am in the minority but all three of my kids have cell phones. Ages 8,10 & 13. It is more for my convenience just so I can call them when I need to talk to them when they are not with me. I am one of those *controlling, attached parents who wants to know everything. They do not have texting and have not asked for it. Right now, just their grandparents and a couple of friends call them besides me. It is reasonable - $30/month for all three so I don't really worry about the cost. They are good kids and the world is a changing...just like it did on our parents. :)

P.S. I hate the computer way more than any phone! Webkinz and all that other CRAP!! We each have our battles to fight!

Anonymous said...


I have a 13 year old, AND a 10 year old, and neither one of them has a cell phone!!!

In fact...neither one has even ASKED for a cell phone!!!

Hello?? Get up off the floor now!!!

Hello?? You ok??

Yes, I'm serious.

So, yes I agree with you. Totally.

And I consider myself REALLY lucky.

Anonymous said...

We got our kids cell phones when we felt they were old enough/responsible enough to go the park, etc., without us. This is a simple way to "keep in touch". They also came in handy when the older 2 have been playing sports after school -- time change of game, back at school to be picked up, etc. Texting is part of our plan. I really don't like it but it has also come in handy for my oldest to get out of a "sticky" situation. He was able to text me to call him on phone and tell him he had to come home. His friends weren't being the brightest and he wasn't able to just walk away. So it has it pluses and minuses! Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Hot topic in my world as well.
My oldest child is 13 yrs old and received a phone for Christmas this year.
He was only in 8th grade and DID NOT NEED one...but next year in HS he will need one and I didn't just want to hand one to him and say, "good luck in HS..." I wanted to be able to give as a gift...so that is why he got it early.
He does have unlimited texting, which I thought was so ridiculous in Dec...now I am glad I did...the cost would have been prohibitive for all of us! That said, I think he sends and receives way too many texts and he isn't even close to the incredible numbers I have heard from other people.
I also maintain the right to read sent/rec'd texts at anytime...just to moniter what is happening the 13year old world. I currently hold the "meanest mother in the world" title. (though his friends have admitted to him that THEIR mothers do the same thing!!! IMAGINE!!! Maybe I am NOT the worst parent in the world afterall?)
Finally, I do not, nor does my husband have texting on our phones. If he needs to talk to me, he dials my number and speaks to me.
On a positive note, b/c he is a little older, I have started to leave him at baseball/soccer practise and he has been allowed to stay home alone briefly and the phone does give me some sense of security.
The little kids: 12,11, and 8 all bug me for one...no way. Not until right before HS. Like you, they are either in School or with me or a trusted friend...not necessary.
I am afraid, though, that the kids are getting them younger and younger...My kids will probably be the LAST PERSON on the PLANET to get phones...
I will be meanest mom for a LONG time to come!

Anonymous said...

Our oldest got her own cell phone when she was 17 and got her first JOB (prior to that when she started driving she would borrow mine or my husband's). She had to pay $10 per month and she was never late paying me for it. Our 2nd is 12 1/2 and not begging for a phone yet. However, my old personal cell sits at home on the counter because I carry a work phone. I didn't disconnect my personal cell because I knew he would be getting it eventually. He has used it occasionally if he is going somewhere that we aren't going to be.

Texting... um yes I sometimes do and it started when the oldest got hers (she is in college now). On average she texts me or I text her back maybe 20 times per month.

Good Luck with whatever you decide.

Anonymous said...

I just read the post about the bomb threat in school and trying to reach a child. In our district we have strict instructions about no cell phones during a lockdown, including staff, in case of a bomb being set off by the signal. We did have an incident a few years ago where someone sprayed pepper spray in the hallway and we had lots of kids with burning eyes and some coughing. It was nothing that couldn't be helped by getting them into clean air, but one 7th grader took it upon herself to use her cell phone to call her dad (a firefighter)to tell him about it. In about 2 minutes, we had police, rescue, firemen and paramedics pouring into our building and it made my school nurse and I look like asses! I think the middle schoolers should be searched at the door and all phones taken away!!! Whew, had to get that off my chest, after about 7 years it still pisses me off about that kid!
Sheila in Mn

Anonymous said...

I have a good friend whose daughter always tells her "I am the only one of all my friends who doesn't have a cell phone." The mother's response is always: "Well that's lucky because if you ever need to make a call, you can always borrow one." My eldest is 13 and a rising 8th grader. He has asked for a phone but we've decided he has to wait until high school for all the reasons you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

200% agree with ya!! As a 7th grade teacher I find it especially annoying when I catch students texting instead of learning!!


Had to get that off my chest!!


Anonymous said...

We decided for our family that 13 was the age you could get a cell phone. Both Cam and Haley have one now and we have unlimited texts. I'm glad they have one and also glad we waited until their 13th birthday.

Anonymous said...

In my humble opinion 12 years old is not too young to have a cell phone. While my own daughters didn't get them until they started driving (5 and 7 years ago!), my god-son who is 12 recently was added to his mom's plan. Charlie golfs. And plays baseball. And basketball. And mows lawns to help pay for his hobbies ... it makes life much easier that he can call his mom if he needs a ride (or just needs his mom) or if even she's trying to catch up with him and his busy day - she works full time and has to travel (locally) some, so it helps them stay connected. I remember when cell phones first came out thinking what a luxury they were ... never did I dream the day would come my daughters and I would each carry one! But now that they're in college I've actually gotten rid of my land line and gone cell all the way. They can call when they want or when they can (oldest is in NY doing a nursing internship this summer) or text if they want to touch base but don't have a lot to say (my 20-yr old is big on doing this, and really I'm just glad she likes to stay in touch!) Use them to your advantage and try not to regard them as such an evil thing ... I think you will (reluctantly :) learn to appreciate the benefits of your kids having them.

******** jane

M said...

Hot topic! My girls got cell phones when they were 18 and 16 and both were driving to school and work at night...and I could keep in touch. BUT, BC, (b4 cell fones,) I did hear that "THEY WERE THE ONLY KIDS IN THE ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL THAT DID NOT HAVE CELL PHONES!"

Now it is perfect because I can call them while they are away at college and always get them. If I need to get in touch I can text and if they are in class they are not interrupted....I love texting...and they send me thoughtful words and pictures....but sorry, middle school is too young in my book too.

Anonymous said...

I have four kids - 14, 12, 8,7. All (even the youngest) have asked for phones, and all have gotten the answer "let me think about it - no." The texting is a huge issue with me. I have heard of eighth graders arranging "hook-ups" by text, since no one else will know. Blech.
Hold your ground, girl.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you on waiting until she is older and can help pay for it. I know a family that just got their daughter going into FIRST grade one of those cell phones that calls home, emergency, but doesn't make calls to any other number... still crazy.

The texting thing for my husband and I is the way we stay connected... When I am at work, I can't stop to talk on the phone, but if he sends me a text I can respond when I have time. (I cook at a daycare) Plus, I keep my phone on vibrate when I am in class so if there is an emergency (daughter with medical issues) he can text me and I can know what's going on without disturbing the whole class unnecessarily. But my dad has a phone for work that he NEVER turns off and talks during family meals, etc. and that drives me crazy! It all has to be done with common sense courteous behavior to make it work right.

Just my two cents...
Heather L.

Anonymous said...

I just had that same discussion with my 11 year old, who is the ONLY person in her entire class who does not have her own cell phone. And I gave her exactly the same reasons you gave. And, I can vouch for taking off points on assignments...I'm a Jr. High teacher, need I say more. The students were furious over the loss of points, trying to justify use of abbreviations because I knew what they meant. Regardless, this is English class and you will use proper spelling, grammar, etc on all written assignments or you will earn points off. OK, sorry...that was one of my pet peeves. Hold your ground, these kids are too young to be all wrapped up in a cell phone!

Beverly said...

No cell phones in our house until you have your license (not a learners permit, either...full fledged on your own driving). There's no need for one beyond that.

And texting...oh my. It absolutely drives me crazy.

My sons have phones (they drive), my husband has a phone (he drives), I don't have a phone (because driving might be the only time that I have quiet!), and my 11 year old daughter begs every single day for a phone.

She's not accepting the pattern here.

Leece said...

Well, If Braydon's school is a good school, and her friends at that school have phones are good, sensible, friends I think you should let her have one. She's a new girl in a new area finding her way around and making new friends. I don't think giving her a reason to stand out as different would be good at this point. It's only a phone. Maybe you could say 'yes on your next birthday' and then you've set your limit for your other children that they know they could have one when they are 12. That's what I'd do anyway. XX

Anonymous said...

My kids both have cell phones but they are 24 1/2 and 22. The older one pays entirely for her own, even though her phone is still on our plan. Saves us money. Our younger one does not pay for his. However, he is still in college and has very little income and we feel he needs to save his money. In turn, when he is home for the summer, as he is now, he mows, does other things and basically helps as needed in turn for his 'keep'. When he graduates next spring (YAY!!!!!!!) he will be expected to pay his entire phone bill every month. They didnt get phones until they were about 17. WE were the haggy old parent that wouldnt let their kids have phones. Waaaaaaa! They had to purchase the actual phone, but we paid the bill each month. Any extras, like texting, downloads, etc. were paid by them. Oh yeah, and once our daughter went OVER with her texting, to the tune of about $290 in one month!!! I blew a gasket, she got UNLIMITED texting and she paid the whole thing. Sucks. I send a few now & then, but basically just replying to my kids. It works for us!

Caroline said...

I cannot believe that 11-year-olds have cell phones. I don't have kids yet, and I would say that there is no WAY I will let them have cell phones until they can drive, but by the time I have kids, they will probably be getting cell phones at age 5 or something, so I'll just end up putting my foot down at age 10. Wow, that's just insane to me.

Anonymous said...

As always Kristie, I'm with ya.... I think that cell phones are yet another way that we are assisting our kids in growing up entirely too fast...... Heck, I don't even remember talking on the rotary telephone at 11 years old except when my parents gave me permission.............. Call me a doofus, but I just think it's TOTALLY RIDICULOUS that kids so young have access to computers, telephone, etc with NO supervision..... just NUTSO!

katy said...

My kids got cell phones when they were teens and at the age that they were away from me at times. We bought them net 10 phones. Fifteen dollars a month, 150 minutes. Text messages take half a minute. They got phone cards for Christmas and birthdays but they had to buy their own cards other times. I did buy them cards if I had called them a lot on their phones. We are lucky in that cell phones do not work at home or at our kids schools so that cuts down on phone time.

Kelley said...

I had to add my two cents on this one as the cell phone begging has commenced at my home also - again.

Actually, I have a 15 year old who has a cell phone. He got it for his 13th birthday but mostly, at that time, because he was playing football for his new school (where we didn't know anyone). Practices were after school and the time(s) that they ended would vary. I felt better with him having that phone and being able to call me anytime, anywhere. This was also about the time he started going to boy/girl type parties and movies alone (with other kids that is).

My 10 year old has claimed that he is the only kid he knows without one; however, when we investigated further, we found LOTS who don't have one. And, yes, we've had that, "are you sure it's not their parents'?" conversation. Actually, a lot of times we have found that they DO belong to the parents but the children don't admit to it. In addition, on two separate occasions, we have discovered children who are carrying old cell phones that don't even actually work.

All this to say that we don't really have an exact magic age that we will buy one for Boy #2. It will be at the time when we feel that, circumstances considered, it is time. I am definitely not opposed to them having them (times have changed) but we're not buying them just to fit in.

By the way, the deal with my oldest was that we bought that first phone and if (WHEN) something happened to it, the replacement was on him. He, of course, wore it into a water park and ruined it so he had to save up for the replacement and, uh, two others since then.

We do have unlimited texting and I myself have become quite adept at it actually. I have actually enjoyed him having it as he has been/is going on various Youth trips, etc. (and basically just breaking out more as he gets older) and I can always get in touch with him.

Kelley said...

Oh, by the way, you and your readers will LOVE this.....

We have some friends whose son recently got a cell phone bill for......are you ready?......


mommaofakkc said...

I just have to laugh......two of my four have cells. I have learned to text since this is the way the communicate. We just had major issues last night with this. We have rules such as no texting at meal times and when we are talking to them. But one rule that was just made was the phone has to be off at midnight on non school nights. Since I am asleep and this is a quiet thing I did not know this was going on until recently. I am with you totally and really hate this new way of communication of our kids. It is sad that they do not really talk to each other like we did in the old days of phones!

Anonymous said...

My daughter claims she's the ONLY 12 year old without a cell phone. She actually wants me to work so she can be home alone after school and then she'd NEED the phone. When she gets one she will be responsible for paying for most or all of it.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you...although my oldest is only Kendrie's age. I don't think kids who are 11 need a cell phone. I don't know what the 'age' should be and I agree with another poster that every famil is different. I don't see my kids having one until they are driving though.

kimi said...

Hey Kristie;

My 2 cents worth...way after you posted! My 13 year old (who never ever speaks to another soul outside our family) wanted - had to HAVE - the Rumour - the phone that is made specifically for texting. Guess who he texts - me. Only.

He paid for it with his own money and pays the $10 fee every month. The only thing we cover is the $5 fee for unlimited texting. Now the coolest thing this phone has is a built in MP3 player - his Dad has the same phone (2 for 1 deal) so he's thrilled it has an MP3 player as well - 'cause then he'll have a use for a cell phone!

If this child was more social, was on the phone all the time, and texting at the wrong time (church anyone?!) we probably wouldn't have let him have one. This is a "security" issue for a very anxious child.

Now how do I explain that to the other 4 children I have in my house? Well, 2 of them are too lazy to work for the money so I'm safe - until at least they're 30.


Anonymous said...

I don't have a cell phone, I have a leash. It has all the bells and whistles, internet, email, texts, camera, ......oh yeah, it can also be used as a phone.

My office can always find me. My mother can always interupt me. Well, you get the picture.

How I wish the Brayden could look past the peer pressure and fast forward about 10 years and see herself with her own 'leash.' But until then, Kristy, be the parent and stand firm. She doesn't need one.