Cell Phones. They are a gigantic part of our culture today. As a parent, it’s hard to believe that something none of us grew up with is now an essential element of our daily lives. I’d venture to guess that not only do most of us have them, but that most of us use them more than another other object throughout the course of a week.
I see kids with cell phones, and the kids with their own phones seem to be getting younger and younger.
(old man rant)…When I got my first cell phone, it was only because I had the money to pay for it, and of course because I love gadgets and wanted to have one, even though talking on the phone isn’t something I enjoy.
But ever since texting went from a nice communication alternative to the main way people talk to each other, things have changed.
Twice as many children have cell phones now as in 2004. Most teens — 85% of those aged 14 to 17 — have cell phones. So do 69% of 11-14 year olds and 31% of kids aged 8-10, according to a 2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Cell phone companies cater to the growing trend of multiple cell phones per family by offering different rates and deals, unlimited group texting plans and more kid friendly phones.
My kids have wanted cell phones ever since they realized the technology existed, but for the most part we as parents have been hesitant to dive in headfirst and purchase a fistful of phones for our kids.
There are some obvious benefits to outfitting your kids with cell phones. A few that come to mind are the ability to contact them almost anytime, and their own ability to contact their friends easier and not rely on your cell phone.
But how young is too young? Today, kids are using the actual phone to make calls very rarely. I know my teenage son sends close to 10,000 texts per month but probably only uses between 25-50 cell minutes in the same time frame.
There is also a downside. The parents foot the bill for the kids cell phone service and more importantly, it could be stunting their social growth. Well, at least according to this expert.
All of this and I’m not even bringing up mobile devices, which the majority of children already own.
And don’t get me wrong, having a device for your kids to use ChoreMonster is something we are quite fond of, but this issue about finding the right age for kids and cell phones is still a tough one.
So what do you think? Is there a cause for concern as this trend continues to gain strength? Or is this just how our culture is evolving, and we as parents should embrace it?
Photo credit: @kobak via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND