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To phone or not to phonePosted Tuesday, October 5, 2010, at 2:55 PM
My oldest daughter recently celebrated her 14th birthday and at the top of her wish list was a common theme: a cell phone.
And once again, her birthday came and went without the purchase of a cell phone for her. That doesn't mean the begging stopped. Rather, her persistence just continued with a different reason behind it: end of school's first quarter, Christmas, Boxing Day in Canada.
I'm not against cell phones. My husband and I both have one and regularly let our oldest children borrow them for short periods of time. But the phones are always returned immediately upon their return before much damage can be done such as hours of needless phone calls, infinite text messages or everyone's personal favorite: the lost phone. (If I could get back all the time I have spent looking for lost cell phones, I would have likely mastered violin playing by now, plus knitted new mittens for all my children. Yes, my phone goes missing that much.)
Along with not wanting to monitor phone bills for overusage and inappropriate calls, my primary reason against the phone is their ease in being misplaced. Until I can go entire school morning without my children looking for a lost library book, a forgotten knee pad or that one shoe which wandered off on its' own, I'm not investing in another cell phone.
My daughter is one of the few persons her age without a cell phone for regular use -- according to her -- and I tend to believe her. It's impossible to go out these days without seeing a teenager or tween not on a cell phone.
By now, I've heard every excuse in the book why my daughter should have a phone starting with the most infamous: "Everyone else has one."
My response, "That's great for everyone else." (At this point, I hold my tongue to answer with that most tired response, If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it to? which I promised myself I would never repeat.)
Then there is the guilt trip excuse: "What if there is an emergency and I need to call you?"
Simply solved, "You can just borrow a cell phone from a friend/coach's/person-walking-down-the-street if you need to call home."
That is usually quickly followed by scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrell excuse, "What if that person's phone was dead?"
Once again, "Find another person with a phone or go find that oldied-but-goodie: a land line."
When I was growing up, it was a privilege to have a "teen line," that is a second line dedicated to teenagers wasting hours on phone talking to friends. Needless to say, I never had a teen-line. If I wanted to talk to my best friend for hours, I plodded through a field and over the hill to her house to see her in person.
While it may fall on deaf ears, I've tried explaining multiple times that I managed to get through childhood without a phone stuck in my pocket. Generations before them managed to function without being in constant contact with others on personal cell phone. And society will continue to function regardless of a person's cell phone ownership.
In fact, I admit that occasionally I leave my phone at home just so I can't be reached. What a thrill to be out of contact with everyone if just for a few hours....a concept my teenage daughter cannot grasp.
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