Who Ya Gonna Call? Kids and Cell Phones Our Latest Drama
When I was about 12, our family got our first computer. It was a Commodore 64. Fresh off the assembly line. Compared to today’s sleek, fit in your pocket world of info, that thing was a big, clunky box. But back then, it was ‘da bomb! The only reason we owned one was because my step-dad was a gadget freak, techie kinda guy, and not really because we were all cutting edge, had to have the latest and greatest. And, there were no kids and cell phones. There were no cell phones period!
He would sit in front of the glowing bluish screen programming in DOS, which made absolutely no sense to me at the time. I just wanted to play Froogger and Atlantis. And, remember Floppy Discs? Ah…. good times!
Kids and Cell Phones
Ethan’s slightly younger than I was then. He’s 6. But, the kid is already asking for a cellphone! “Who ya gonna call?” I ask. “You, of course!” Is always his reply. “What if I need you while I’m in school? At Grandma Lolos’… Or! What if I’m in the bathroom and need toilet paper and you’re across the house? You always tell me not to yell across the house. I wouldn’t have to if we didn’t have the ‘No Kids and Cell Phones‘ rule, right? I have to hand it to him, sometimes, he sounds so convincing I almost totally buy it! He actually has a few friends who have them. I never see any of these kids and cell phones being used to make actual calls though. They are stuck on level 6 of Angry Birds. Or, flying around try to get the kid in Jetpack Joyride through his next mission.
I keep reminding myself that it’s a different world we live in since I was young. We only had 3 TV channels and no cable, let alone cell phones. And, of course I want to be a cool parent and all, but I can’t for the life of me see any good coming from giving the kid a cell phone. The same kid who rang up over $500 in Farmville crap on his grandma’s credit card because she let him play on Facebook alone. (Truth – I giggled at her error but come on, how long did you let him sit there by himself for that to happen?)
Kids and Cell Phones – It’s All About The Apps, Not The Calls!
We’ve been okay with letting him have a few apps on our tablet or on his Nook. (Yes, he does have his own Nook. Books feed your brain!) For the most part, they’re fairly educational. And it does a world of good not hearing ‘Are we there yet?” in the car 4955983 times. But he’s already pretty computer savvy. One click and he can get on Facebook (and ring up $500 worth of crop stuff!) What if he downloads the pricey apps? Or, clicks those free apps directed towards kids that starts collecting and sharing their personal info? Who has access to that stuff? What do they do with it anyways? How do you even begin to teach a 6 yr old about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and why it’s so dangerous to let everyone know where and who you are at all times because of some tiny string of letters and numbers that you never see encoded in the Memory Game Flash Card app? And what if he gets on Twitter and starts telling people I just stunk up the bathroom? Or, run around the house in my jammies all day? Kids and cell phones? No thanks.
I’m not exactly a Helicopter Parent or anything, but to say I’m scared about the access kids these days have to technology and what that leads to (Twitter, Tumblr, Kim Kardashian’s sex tape….) is a huge understatement. I’m just not that kind of a cool parent. He’s 6. I don’t care what other parents let their kids do. I’m his parent. I just don’t think kids and cell phones belong together in the same sentence.
What happened to playing outside? Riding bikes? Playing Kick The Can with the neighborhood kids? Watching Dora and Diego on Nick Jr. even? My vote is to let them be little while they still can. Kids and cell phones? No thanks. He wants a phone so bad, he can have one of these.