My cellular kid
I got my 11-year-old son a cell phone.
I know, why does an 11-year-old need a cell phone? I actually dwelled on this for a while, understanding that some of his schoolmates have had them for a couple of years. And I wondered why he would need one. The upside was that he would be able to reach out to us in an emergency or if there was a change in plans during afterschool activities or while at a friend’s house for the day. The downside was, well, why does he need it?
So, in the end I got him one, and I figured it was a good exercise in responsibility for him: Manage your minutes, use it wisely and you’ll be able to keep it. As an aside, I also wanted him to have a way to keep in touch with his cousin, who he is very close with and who he is likely to see less off now that my ex’s mom—their grandmother—passed away at the end of last year. She was the glue that kep those kids in touch. Now they’re able to text and stay in touch regularly.
But I wondered about what it would cost. I have friends whose kids chalked up hundreds of dollars in cell phone bills after first getting one. So I waited for the “report card” — the first cell phone bill since we added him to our calling plan. Well, it came this week, and he’s well within his minutes. Phew.
Still, was it still a good idea? What age should we be hooking up our kids with telecommunication gadgets?