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Smart Phones and Kids: A Luxury Or Necessity?

Years ago, I remember being anxiety ridden, trying to decide whether I should get my, then nine-year-old daughter a basic cell phone. She’s 15 now so you know that was about a half a dozen cell phones ago. My anxiety stemmed from, well honestly I don’t know where it stemmed from. Maybe I thought she would get spoiled or blow through her texting minutes like an F-5 tornado on the open plain. Turns out both fears were unfounded. That’s because Casey is terribly responsible and has been since exiting the womb. Like her dad, she is very much a self-policer. Not so much with Cole who, through no fault of his own, is just like his mother. You know what that means right? We’ve been though our share of smart phones.

The last time one turned up missing, I stood on principle and screamed at the top of my lungs, “THAT’S IT! You will not get another phone!” Clearly I had forgotten my one, very important rule when meting out punishment; it is to punish the offender not the warden. But that’s exactly what happened when Cole was without his phone.

People write me all the time asking my advice on this issue. So here are three reasons I am firmly in the “Smart Phones As A Necessity” camp.

*HAVING A SMART PHONE MEANS NEVER HEARING THE WORDS, “I’M BORED”: My kids have a ton of apps on theirs and in a crazy juxtaposed way, I’m the one who rejoices when new ones are announced. They use their allowance money to buy them and having those apps buys me a moment of silence. I mean really, who has time to argue with a little brother when they’re busy slicing virtual fruit or clobbering friends with 7-letter words? And look at it this way; it will be the first time you see the top of their heads since they outgrew you last summer.

*SMART PHONES AS GPS: I am the boss of the house. I need to know where everyone is, at any given moment. If I don’t, I’m not doing my job, which means I’m doing their jobs, feeding the cats or picking up dog poop. I don’t like that namely because I have my own job. So when Cole was untethered, after school conversations would go something like this;“ Mom I’m going over to blank’s house. I’ll call when I get there.” Which of course, he never would because he’d get sucked into a game of Minecraft (after cookies and homework, I’m sure). I could never remember which friend it was, and their phone conveniently “ran out of battery.” Uh-huh. That means I have to call every one of Cole’s friend’s mothers to see if my prodigal son was parked on their sofa. You know how that makes me look? Yeah me neither.

*SMART PHONES AS PUNISHMENT: Can you see me? Can you see me now? Cackling and rubbing my hands together in the most evil way? Yeah, forget about GPS, the smart phone can be wielded like a weapon when the GPA starts to slide below acceptable levels. It is punishment in its most pure and efficient form. Just make sure, along with not having a phone, they come home right after school each day to avoid the above scenario.

Okay so that’s why I see smart phones as very much a necessity, at least as the mother of adolescents. And check this out: If you’re looking for an Android-powered smartphone at a great value, be sure to check out U.S. Cellular. They have the highest satisfaction rating of any national carrier and you earn rewards points to use on things like accessories and upgrading your phone sooner. Learn More

What about you? DO you think Smart phones are a necessity or can your kids go without? Why or why not?

“Disclosure: Compensation was provided by US Cellular via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of U.S. Cellular®

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