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Just Say No to Young Children and Cell Phones

January 11, 2010

Just Say NO!

Parents who buy their young children cell phones are doing their children a disservice in most cases.  Of course, there may be extenuating circumstances that warrant a child under driving age to own a cell phone, but generally speaking, young children should not own cell phones.

Society as a group in general seems to be losing a grip on common sense parenting.  While everyone needs advice now and then on parenting and relationships, the marketplace is flooded with self help volumes on how to parent, how to discipline, how to communicate, etc., with children.  Many parents are so occupied with the pressures and responsibilities of modern society that their growth as young parents that would normally come naturally and more easily has been stunted.  More than ever, young families require both parents to work full time.  When the parents arrive home, there is homework to be done, chores to be completed, and meals to prepare.  Parents and their very young children are sadly living what are essentially parallel lives. 

Overwrought and burdened parents have used the television, internet, and video games as virtual babysitters.  Many of these parents feel guilty for feeling they have to use these methods to entertain their children so that tasks can be completed and stresses alleviated.  They become less and less emotionally connected with their children as time goes on.  Enter the cell phone and all of its technological promise.  The parent buys the child a cell phone in hopes that they can communicate when he or she stays late at work or when the child has to stay late at school.  The parent dreams that they could even sneak in a text message or two during the day at lunch or recess to feel connected to one another.  Exactly the opposite occurs.  The parent and child are placated in their loneliness for one another through the text messages, emails, and phone calls to one another at times when it was impossible for them to communicate.  This form of communication can never replace what a child needs in these formative years in regards to a close emotional relationship with his or her parent. 

This form of communication gives a false promise to the parent and the very young child.  The youngster is still left empty inside, and in many cases has no idea why.  The parent still yearns for what is slipping away as each day passes, but feels trapped and shackled by life’s structure and responsibilities.  I implore these parents to take back the most important responsibility in the world.  It will be gone and the only memories left will be faded hugs and kisses and some sort of electronic messaging lost in the airwaves.  If there are two parents in the household, find a way to live on one income or on one and a half incomes.  If it means downsizing the home, eliminating the car payment, hocking some jewelry, it will be well worth it.  Take control, take charge, and throw away that cell phone, put a filter on the internet, use parental blocks on the television and go to the museum with your child.  Paint and make a mess with your child.  Garden  with your child.  Burn cookies and eat them anyway with your child. 

One last caveat – when your child is old enough to have a cell phone (i.e. driving age), require that he or she work to in some way pay for the phone itself and its service.   Don’t believe the cell phone lie.  Just because ‘everyone has one’ doesn’t cut it.  You know what your mother said when you came up with that argument…remember… “If everyone were jumping off of a bridge, would you do it too, Junior?”


One Comment leave one →
  1. Horace Bouten permalink
    December 3, 2012 4:46 am

    Cellphones that are ergonomic and feature packed are really the trend these days. *

    <a href="My personal web portal

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