My four-year-old (yes, you read that right), asked me the other day when he could get his own phone.
I was driving, and almost had to pull over to pick my chin up off the floor of the car. He’s FOUR. His sister knows better than to ask for her own phone at her age, twice his, even though some of her friends brag about having them.
I remember spending hours on the phone with friends as a teenager, and I remember when my parents got a second line in the house because of it (perhaps I’m dating myself here, talking about a land line phone). But that was high school, maybe middle school. I’m not sure why any kid in fourth grade needs their own cell phone. And certainly not my preschooler! Ha!
I guess smartphones are much cooler than the land lines of my younger days, which functioned as, well, a phone, and nothing more. But it’s rare that my kids use my phone as anything more than a phone anyway, and even then their attention span is short for talking on it.
They speak with family members and an occasional friend. I have just begun making my daughter call her friends herself to RSVP to parties and the like. She has to learn how to make a polite call, after all.
But at this age, she hardly remembers to bring her lunchbox and water bottle home from school. I don’t need to worry about much more expensive things getting lost in the shuffle. (Some days it’s a miracle I make it home from work with all of my possessions!)
Once I managed to stifle the laugh and put my fallen jaw back together, I asked the little guy why he wanted his own phone now. He said “I need to call (a friend of mine) and say thank you for the present.” OK, at least he had good reason for wanting to USE the phone! I must be doing something right.
Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I don’t think much of getting my kids their own phone until they are at least old enough to stay home alone (you know, around age 30 – ha ha). I just don’t see a reason for it. I’d love to hear other parents’ thoughts on the subject.
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She is an active member and former organizer of Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly on Wednesday.