Yesterday was my father’s birthday and I tried to call him. Several times, but no answer. Just before bed, I sent him a Happy Birthday text, convinced that he was just having too much fun to answer. I was way off the mark. When I woke up this morning, I received a return text. It simply stated, “This is Hope.”
Hope is my nine year old little step-sister who is spending the summer out of state with her father. I love the girl dearly, but I was confused at why she had my father’s phone out of state. I asked her why.
“My mom gave it to me. Isn’t that cool? She said your dad could find a new phone if he wanted to.”
I am still confused. My father and his wife do not share what anyone near them would call a normal relationship. In fact, it is close to a disaster, but he chooses to stay with her so what can I do? I have to love him and accept her and there is nothing in this world including divorce that would ever steer me away from my siblings that are her children. That is not the point though. The point is the cell phone and why a nine-year-old has one, especially since it means that my father had to sacrifice his.
I am only twenty-two years old. I understand the basics of technology. I understand the convenience of the cell phone and I understand the attraction that a child has to one. I wanted one desperately for years before I finally bought my own. I also understand why I never got one before I was old enough to pay for it myself. A cell phone is a luxury not a need. I know this is a controversial matter, but my opinion will not change. There are children in my own little town that don’t have the luxury of a full stomach every night, so why do some parents, like my step mother hold the opinion that a child needs a cell phone?
I am a mother of two little balls of energy. They haven’t started Kindergarten yet and still they are active in T-ball, swimming lessons and tap and jazz class. I know that their love of sports and interaction Wii not cease with time and before I am ready they will be in so many sports my head is spinning. They will probably beg for their own phones. They will surely tell me “Mom, if I had a phone you wouldn’t have to wait outside until practice was over, mom, you wouldn’t have sit through all my games. Mom, you wouldn’t have to call my friends’ parents to check up on me, you could just call me directly. I could go to the pool on my own and just call you when I’m done.”
Well, I have news for them. I will always there for every game, every practice, and every event. I don’t mind waiting outside. I can keep them safe in ways that a phone cannot. For instance, I can swing a tire iron. I do not need a devise to babysit my children. That is my job. And there is a reason I will want to check with the parents and not my child, and that reason being I was a teenager once. Lying is far too easy over the phone.
Phones are equally as dangerous as they are helpful considering how easily it makes things for a bully. Someone could be damaging your child’s self-esteem with a few taps of their thumbs. Consider sexting and internet availability too. As well as the fact that most phones these days have built in cameras, video, and voice recorders.
There are of course a few safe alternatives like Kajeet kid phones with parental control and gps locator, but when it comes to taking a grown man’s full service plan phone to hand over to a nine year old, you are making a mistake. There is no reason for a child to have that much freedom without the responsibilities that go along with it. Dad, stand up for yourself. Dad’s wife, what the heck are you thinking?