Do I Regret Giving my Kid a Phone?
For my daughter’s ninth birthday, back in November, I finally gave in and got her a cell phone. What exactly did I give in to? Her constant nagging and reminders that her friends have had their own phones years ago? No. Her friends had nothing to do with my decision, I’m not a “peer pressure” parent. It really boiled down to her being at a somewhat responsible age, the annoyance of her constantly needing to borrow mine and just the plain old need for a phone.
It’s just my daughter and I, so 80% of the time, wherever I go…she goes. For example, whenever I had an OB-GYN appointment, I would have to leave her in the lobby and also my phone to occupy her. No way to be in the exam room and communicate with her that I’ll be just a bit longer, no way to see if she’s doing ok in the lobby and no way for me to get some things done on my phone until my doctor came into the exam room. The same thing went for the dentist, parent-teacher conferences and pretty much anywhere that required us to be apart for me to handle my business. I also travel quite a bit for work and needed to be able to talk with her and not just via the sitter. I realized that it was finally time. After all, she’s kept up with the same iPad for four years.
Now that she’s had it for three months, I feel like I can finally give some fair feedback on this decision that I made to get her a cell phone.
- She’s always occupied ( a con that will be listed as well). I get so much done now OMG without her bothering me ha! Gone are the early mornings of exquisite breakfast demands. Now her mornings consistent of FaceTiming her friends or family or making a TikTok video and totally being ok with a bowl of cereal, that she makes herself btw.
- Freedom without worry! I can walk to the mailbox or run to the gas station and fill up my car without worrying because she can just text/call me if she needs me. She’s definitely nowhere near me hopping on a plane and leaving her to fend for herself for a few days, but at least I can breathe for a minute.
- It’s been helpful for school projects. Siri has been my virtual tutor sometimes while making dinner or working on my own stuff after work. It’s tough being one person and playing multiple roles, so it’s helpful to kind of have someone else help out.
- I don’t worry about her on the school bus. This is her first year taking the school bus and the horror stories that I’ve heard about kids on the school bus have always made me reluctant to let her take it. Not only does she take the school bus to school, she takes another bus to her after-care program. With her now having the ability to text or call me, I feel much more at ease. Let’s not forget that earlier this year, her school reported finding a kill-list, yes in elementary school, and the amount of school shootings nowadays is just enough to make any parent worry.
- Constant thoughts of did I give her one too soon. I just never liked the idea of a kid walking around with a phone like they had some business to handle. This one is a con that is completely in my own head, she has not given me a reason to think like this. It’s just more or less a generational thing because we didn’t have cell phones growing up and if you had one, you were definitely almost done with high school.
- She’s always occupied. Perhaps the most bittersweet effects of having a phone. However, this was anticipated and I prepared for it. If I didn’t say anything, she would stay on that phone literally all day. Sometimes, I make her get off of the phone simply to remind her that I am still the decision maker for this phone that is “hers”.
“If we could stay on computers all day playing Oregon Trail with only a green and black screen, imagine how engaged kids are with their games, internet and apps!”
I anticipated this con prior to, so I created a set of rules that you too can use before handing over your child’s first phone. See below.
I printed this out and put it in frame that goes on her nightstand where she is constantly reminded.
All in all, do I regret getting her a cell phone? Absolutely not.