Staying connected: kids and cell phones

| September 22, 2011

The first thing I do before I even get out of bed in the morning is grab my phone and check for missed calls and emails. No device is more important than a mobile phone in keeping us connected on the go.

Kids of all ages are using cell phones.

Kids of all ages are using cell phones.

Everything about our lives these days is portable. You can be anywhere in the world and communicate instantly. Our lives are changed daily by technology that rapidly advances; it seems we’re given just a small amount of time to breathe between each new phone launch. For some people, the speed of change in technology is overwhelming and intimidating.

Some will argue that for better or worse, cell phones have changed the way our children communicate. The way children communicate has taken a drastic turn from what it used to be. Instead of simply calling people on the phone or sending a letter through the mail, we are now veteran texters. How often do you actually talk to your child on the phone?
Within the last 10 years, it was uncommon for children under the age of 12 to have a cell phone. For most children, it was just not on their radar. But today, kids as young as 6 are walking around with the latest and greatest cell phones.
I asked a parent to share with me the positives and negatives about how her children communicate in today’s world, and here is what she had to say:

First off, I am not a person that promotes trying to fit in with the crowd when it comes to myself or my children. So when my 11-year-old son asked for an iPhone  for his birthday a couple of years ago, I said, “Sure, let’s go look.”
He is a techno-savvy kid, is responsible, gets good grades and plays sports – no problem, I figured, if he wants a phone.  He got the new iPhone – I got the free phone – and we signed up for a family plan.
Here are my pros for a kid having a phone:

1. Since it is not part of our culture to implant devices in our children (as we do our dogs or cats) to locate them, a phone is a nicer way to locate them.

2. If you are in another part of the house, you can call, text or email  your children to tell them to turn off the TV or stop screaming at their brother or sister.

3. As above, you can call, text or email to remind your child that it is bedtime – lights out.

4. If you are in public and your child is ignoring you, it is certain that he or she will respond to text rather than a
face-to-face embarrassing exchange in a public setting  that will not only damage your tenuous pre-teen to teenage-to-parent relationship, but also save explanations from overly curious onlookers.

5. You can also have a closer relationship if your child has a phone by sharing music and videos on YouTube.

6. Your kids will download all of the best iPhone Apps on your phone.

7. Your kids will know how to fix your phone.

I could go on with the pros but here are the cons.

1. Your monthly bill comes.

2. You get several text messages from your phone provider that you have gone over your minutes and no one in your family understands why.

3. The downloads on your phone include Cartoon Network and every version of Angry Birds.

4. The Facebook App on your phone is deleted mysteriously on your phone after you pick the children up  from school.

5. Your children or your children’s friends send texts to your friends when they have your phone because they know how to use it.

6. Your children’s friends use your child’s phone and send inappropriate texts that get your child in trouble.

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Category: Columns, Take It or Leave It

About the Author (Author Profile)

Lori Kommor

Lori Kommor, Columnist/Event Chair
lkommor@voice-tribune.com
502.897.8900

Lori wears many hats: writing two weekly columns, chairing The
Voice-Tribune’s events and keeping the staff fed with a stash of snacks
Willy Wonka would envy. She’s a fervent high school soccer fan (go
Collegiate!) and has the raspy voice to prove it after game days.

Comments (1)

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  1. Esther says:

    I agree that cell phones can truly be useful, even for children. However, I don’t agree of giving them a cell phone with advanced features such as Internet connectivity. Instead of enhancing their safety with the use of this device, they might only be exposed to the present dangers online. So when choosing a cell phone for children, I will go for a cell phone with basic but practical features. The Just5 Easyphone is one phone I can cite. I find this ideal for children as this also has an emergency response system.