Wednesday, July 01, 2009

No Phones for Kids

Because of the convenience it affords and the fact that kids nowadays are very tech savvy, parents are now wondering if they SHOULD give their children cellphones.

The truth, however, is that it is not necessary at all. Sure, one often thinks that phones equipped with gps systems will be very handy should your child forget to tell you where he is, or worse, kidnapped. But then not all kids are going to be kidnapped. And there are other things that are already wrong for a child to put himself in a position where he will be lost, kidnapped or run away from home. To be lost essentially that would give rise to a need to be tracked.

Cellphones take a lot away from real communication. Parents and children need to talk about the rules of their daily lives and what their expectations are. Orders to defrost something can just as easily be taped on the fridge door and told before separating in the morning. Reminders to bring lunch boxes home, keep track of pencils, copy homework, etc. are also all best said the night before a school day and in the morning when the kids are dropped off.

And words of love, as well as words of hate, should be spoken face-to-face where verbal cues and tone of voice will also be enlightening and reinforcing.

I am not saying kids shouldn't get cellphones ever. But do consider the added cost (purchasing it, loading it, charging it) and whether the perceived benefits are real, or just hoped for.

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