Living Columns & Blogs

Cell phones for kids

A friend sent me a link to an article out of the Tacoma newspaper, The News Tribune, that featured cell phones aimed at 6 year-olds. Push one button to call mom, one button to call grandma, etc.

I can only guess as to how many minutes my son would spend calling Grandma or Grandpa.

He usually wants to call them at least daily. Usually to say important things like, "you are a poona head" (umm, got me) or "look up a moose!" (An inside joke between he and Grandpa.)

Most of the time, I can tell him that Grandma and Grandpa are probably busy. If he had his own cell phone (and granted, my son is 3.5 years old and not 6), he would be finding out for himself if Grandma was too busy to be called a “poona head.”

So maybe that is why one should wait until the ripe old age of six?

My first inclination is to scoff. A cell phone at age 6? I barely really need one at my age! How often does someone REALLY need to get a hold of me. For me, my cell phone is a "what if."

What if my kid is injured or sick at daycare and I am in a meeting?

What if my car breaks down?

What if I am running late? (Not that this ever really happens, I am one of those annoying people that if I am not 15 minutes early, I am late, but we are doing "what ifs" here.)

Or what if my son NEEDS to talk to Grandma on the way home in the car? ("Push the 5 button honey and then the green button.") Thankfully, she knows the 509 area code and so when mysterious calls come across like this (calling her a “poona head”) she knows what is going on... for the most part. Or I am yelling from the front seat, "It's just us! Little AB wants to talk to you!"

So does he need it? No.

Would it be an uber-expensive gadget my child would loose since it wouldn't be strapped permanently to his body? Yes. (He is related to my wallet-losing husband.)

None of us had cell phones as kids, and for most of us we didn't as teenagers or early adulthood either. We also weren't put in car seats, but there is a darn good reason there are car seats now. (See my "safety first" post and buckle your kids in properly!)

For me I come back to ‘what if?’ What if there was a disaster of some sort? What if something unspeakable happened to my child? Would him having a cell phone, knowing how to call me, would it change the outcome?

And is it worth it for this expensive little insurance policy?

What are your thoughts?