Tweens and Cellphones... a New Milestone to Adulthood
Thanks to cell phone technology, there's a new milestone in childhood, a new step providing children with independence from their family. Long before applying for driver's licenses or considering college applications, teens, tweens, and even pre-tweens are demanding their own cell phone lines. And just like every other major childhood accomplishment, it fills parents with anxiety and fear.
We didn't choose to get our oldest child a cell phone on a whim. She begged us for months, with all the usual excuses and reasons. All her friends had cell phones! She was the last one in her grade without one! She just needed one, desperately.
Finally, sick and tired of all the demands, we gave her an assignment we thought she would never complete. We told her that if she wrote a three-page single spaced essay outlining why she wanted a phone, how she would use it, and what rules should be set around its usage, we would consider purchasing one for her birthday. The essay needed to be clear and well-thought out, and if it even had one spelling mistake, we would stop reading.
She worked on that essay for two months, running it by family members and babysitters. She filled half a notebook with scribbled drafts that she refused to show us. And finally, one night, she presented us with a neatly written three-page legal opus that laid out her case in flawless reasoning.
Three months later, on her birthday, I walked in to the Verizon store with my 10-year old and purchased the much coveted cell phone.
Adding her to my plan was surprisingly easy and affordable. It only brought my monthly plan up by $20. The phone was free, and to limit costs, we chose a simple phone that lets her talk and text only. No need for a fancy smart phone that would require a data plan.
As expected, texting is much more important to her than talking. Having an unlimited texting option is critical in managing costs.
The greatest surprise of the entire cell phone acquisition has been how much I enjoy being able to communicate with my daughter this way. It's wonderful to be able to stay in contact with her while on playdates or if I'm running late to pick her up after school. She's speaking to her aunts more frequently and able to stay in touch with her father when he travels. Thanks to her cell phone, she's growing up, but staying better connected with her family.