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Tween Cell Phone Dilemma

To Cell Phone or NOT To Cell Phone?

We accidentally solved our dilemma. Our eleven-year-old has been dyingbeggingpleading for a cell phone for over a year. At TEN? We thought ... NO WAY. Kids don’t NEED cell phones. WE didn’t need one at that age, right?

But wait ... Do they?

The thing is ... she’s going to Jr. High now, (that would be twenty years later and a whole lot of ‘world is different’ than when we were kids). If she’s freaked out at a friend’s house and doesn’t dare ask to use the phone ... that could be disastrous ... if her bus is late from a volleyball trip over the mountain ... I’ll be home assuming the worst ... if she’s at the skating rink with friends and they are finished early and are forced to sit there waiting ... I’d feel bad at least?

It’s taken a while and we’ve asked a lot of friends. We made our decision. YES. She can ‘borrow’ her dad’s old cell phone. However, she isn’t allowed to own it. It is officially on loan for one year.

Here’s the accidental part.

A year ago, her dad got a new work phone. Instead of turning off his personal phone, he had all his calls forwarded to his work phone. Think about that. All she can do (at least for now) is call out. And we are trusting her to use it for appropriate calling. Basically anyone calling that phone is really calling her DAD! Yeah, she isn’t going to be handing out the number to friends or (ohmygosh) boys!

Our dilemma solved itself. I do believe there are issues and safety reasons an eleven-year-old might NEED a phone. She can call out when her practice runs late, or she misses her bus, or especially if she feels unsafe. Also we don’t have a texting plan. So that’s out. No one can call her directly (if I need her, I can call the school after all)! Plus she can begin to prove responsibility. Can she keep track of it? Can she follow the simple rules we’ve laid out? We allow her to call friends; will she understand how to limit herself?

We’re giving her a year. Maybe we’ll be ready to allow her a few more steps towards independence. Towards this crazy techno obsessed world. She believes she can handle it. The question is ... can we?

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