A Phone of His Own?

I was, like, the last person in the developed world to get a cell phone. Seriously. I was twenty-six or twenty-seven and the only reason I grudgingly got one is because I was in a minor wreck and had to rely on someone else to call for help.

(And no, the wreck wasn't my fault, thankyouverymuch.)

I was so behind the times that when I told people I didn't have a cell phone, they'd look at me like my eyebrows had turned into caterpillars and were inching their way across my face. "Everybody has a cell phone," they'd say, as if I didn't know.

Yesterday, I had a flashback to 2007 when I heard that phrase again ... only this time it was from my nine-year-old.

It started when I got a text. I expected it to be from one of the handful of people who regularly text me - but instead, it was from a number I didn't know, talking about, "So much homework!" and "Are you making that Minecraft video?" and a bunch of emoticons.

I haven't personally made a Minecraft video in ... well, ever. But I just happen to know someone who is obsessed with Minecraft, so I was pretty sure he was the intended recipient of the text.

"Colin?" I shouted in the direction of his bedroom. "Did you give one of your friends my phone number? Because I think you have a text."

It was as though I'd told him tomorrow was Christmas, the way he scrambled to snatch up the phone. "You can text with your friend for a little while," I told him, "but I need it back soon." Because hello, not having access to your own phone is a weird feeling.

When he was done with it, Colin asked the question that I was certain was coming: "Mom, can I get a phone?"

And I gave the answer that he had to know was coming: "No."

"But everybody has a phone," he said, proceeding to rattle off a list of his technologically-blessed classmates.

"Good for everybody," I said. "But you're nine years old. And your parents are mean. So you don't need a phone."

Seriously, is this a thing? Nine-year-old fourth-graders having their own phones? Because until yesterday, I had no idea that kids this young (not to mention MULTIPLE kids this young) had their own phones. I guess if there's a need - like, maybe if the kid's parents both work and he or she is in some sort of extracurricular activity or sport after school or something - I can see the practicality of it. But, like, my son literally has zero purpose for having his own phone at this point. And in my opinion, probably not for years to come.

I mean ... who wants to waste valuable data on conversations like this?

... I rest my case.


  1. But mom!! My daughter is nine and also wants one. Lisa Gorham

  2. I can't understand it at all either, but at that age, the most I can understand are the phones made for kids. They have a feature that lets them only call preprogrammed numbers (for mom, dad, grandma, etc) and some allow texting too. The biggest feature a lot them have that sell them - GPS, parents can find where their children are in a hurry or in an emergency. I still can't see getting one for Drake in the next four years.

  3. I don't agree with kids having cell phones. They are kids! They have no idea what a cell phone costs and most of them are not responsible enough to take care of it. I personally dont think a kid needs a phone until they are like 15(that's being nice in my book) regardless of their activities. Schools have phones. Teachers, coaches etc. all have access to phones. Kids need to be responsible enough to remember their stuff and be where they are suppose to be without relying on technology. In my opinion, if they want to talk to a friend they can either A: go over to the fri3nds house, B: call on a house phone, or C: wait until school the next day. My kids are 6 and 4 ( i know kids that age with phones) and they already know that they wont be getting a phone until they are teenagers (if i feel like being nice) or when they can afford to go buy one and pay the bill themselves. Which ever comes first.

  4. Maybe when they are 16 and are driving then they might need a phone but at 9 years old I think is a little crazy for them to have a phone. I started Becky out on a tracphone first before she got her own line on my cell plan.

  5. My daughter only got one at 7 due to her type one diabetes. But I've been in the mobile phone business for years and I remember in probably... 2007ish.. The average age of "children" getting a first phone? 8 years old. Sigh. There are 10 year olds with nicer phones (and data plans!!) than me!!!

  6. I see little kids with phones all the time. I'm wondering who they are talking to? My son MIGHT get one when he turns 13. MIGHT. Natalie wants a phone. I laugh at her.

  7. My husband and I have already had this conversation and agree that our son will not get a phone until at least 12-13. And then only if he has extracurricular activities. There will also be plenty of rules, and he will get something basic, not a smartphone.

  8. My daughter is definitely not getting a phone until she is at least at secondary school, maybe even later. I don't see how or why kids need a phone to talk to friends - they can do the talking the traditional way!

  9. Playing devil's advocate here but times have changed. Technology took over as soon as you delivered your baby. They are born knowing nothing different. Saw their parents using cells as mini computers for years now. What do you expect? I'm glad my son is 15 and just got his first crappy semi smartphone lol poor guy. But they are their environment. If you have your cell attached to your right hand (left if you're a lefty) and they never saw any different, how can they not want one


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