OK bear with me as I state the obvious: your 9 year-old doesn’t need a cell phone. At all. You know this. Every fiber of your logical being knows this. That being said, you’ve caved to her incessant whining, begging and cajoling (but Madison has one!) and now she has one.
Congratulations. You are an active participant in the destructive trend of showering our kids with indulgent excess. There may be no turning back for you at this point (and if it’s an iPhone, do yourself a favor and unfollow this blog immediately because, honestly? You’re the one I visualize every time I publish a post).
In the ever-growing club of Overindulgent Parents, the ‘cell phone for little kids’ scenario is the one most commonly used to identify a member. So, congratulations once again, for fitting into my stereotype and THANK YOU for the material.
But that’s not fair…you say…
…she needs to be able to reach me!
…her friends all have iPhones; she’s just getting one of my hand-me-downs.
…I’ve limited her data plan.
…it’s a sign of the times. All the kids have one now. She feels left out.
…the little charms and cases are so cute. Her phone is personalized like an accessory – it’s so her.
Those are justifications. And poor ones. Now…here is what you need to know and what no one in your peer group is telling you…
Your 9 year-old looks ridiculous carrying that cell phone around in her back pocket. She’s in elementary school, for goodness’ sake! She still has recess.
She is texting utter nonsense to all of her 9 year-old cell phone-carrying friends (emoticons! IDK’s and GTG’s). At least you’d better hope that’s all she’s texting.
She is abandoning more productive pursuits (um…homework? reading?) in favor of changing her background to furry little cartoon monsters that do side flips across the screen of her phone.
She is using the cell phone against other kids that don’t have one, and creating a peer pressure situation which will result in more 9 year-olds coaxing their parents into the concept that it’s normal to own a cell phone when you’re 9.
If she actually needs to contact you, chances are there will be an adult in the vicinity whose cell phone she can use. And frankly, if you’re the type of parent that thinks she ‘needs’ a cell phone at age 9, I will bet $1,000,000 that there is never one moment of one day that you don’t know exactly where she is, who she’s with and what she’s doing (thus negating your own argument about needing to reach her).
No summary. No ‘in conclusion‘. I have nothing else to add. Just please take the phone away – at least until middle school – and if it’s an iPhone, I’m praying for you.