June 30, 2014
Sponsored: I Gave My 10-Year-Old A Phone
One month ago, AT&T sent us a Go-Phone and provided us with a month's worth of service for this phone. In our family of four, Brian and I have our phones and love them. Daughter 1 has my hand-me-down phone and is very satisfied with her hand-held connection to her friends. So ... that left poor ol' Daughter 2 with a phone that just made calls; we called it the "house" phone. Gasp! I bet you didn't even know that they still existed.
When she saw the unclaimed phone, she was quick to let us know that she would be willing to use that phone for her own.
She is ten. She's still in elementary school. It would seem ridiculous to let this child have a phone, right?
Except that, in this day and age, it's not that ridiculous at all.
We gave her the phone.
I chatted with my mom and her friend about it.
See, I used to ride my bike all over town--not just the neighborhood, but town, y'all. I never knew if my mom wanted or needed me because I was never home. And, she never knew where I was or with whom I was because she wasn't with me. That's a frightening, horrifying situation for these times we live in.
"If you could have given me a homing device or a GPS would you have?" I asked her.
"Absolutely!" she responded without hesitation.
I asked her table mate, Jimmie the same question only about her own kids. "You bet," she quickly replied.
"What about encyclopedias?" I asked the pair of smart octogenarians.
"I wanted a set really bad," my mom said, "You girls would have loved them. But they were too expensive."
"We had some," Jimmie explained. "It made doing home work and research projects very easy."
Here's where I thought they'd change their tune.
"Should I let my ten-year-old have a smart phone? It'd have a GPS app, and she'd have access to the world wide web."
They both nodded emphatically.
"Just keep an eye on how she uses it."
"Set down the ground rules."
"I'd have let my own kids have one."
So, we did. We set down the ground rules ... it doesn't stay the night in her room. She can lose it if she abuses it. There's no such thing as phone privacy until she's paying her own bills. She needs to be able to answer to anything odd we find.
We charted her use for the month, which is one of the beautiful things about the Go-Phone: We decide how much or how little she uses. And when her allotted time is up, it's up.
Was the month a success? Yes, ma'am. So much so that my ten-year-old now has a smart phone of her own.
And quite frankly, I feel really good about it.