Well, the inevitable came this morning.
It was as sure as the rain on a west coast October day. We knew it was coming. We just didn’t know when.
“Mom, I need an iPhone.”
erm. Need? Let’s just look that little word up in the dictionary and see the exact definition, shall we young lad.
A requirement. A necessity. A lack of something requisite.
Yup, I was right. The 14 year old boy does not need an iPhone. But just one month after starting highschool he deems he does. What’s a parent to do?
Just last week he cruised off on his bike to meet a friend. No phone. Not even properly working brakes on his bike. He came back alive. That’s sort of how we roll. We’re definitely bucking against this whole kids and phones thing and we just don’t want to cave. I mean, I survived walking to the mall and hanging out for hours on Saturdays, going to the movies with friends, high school parties and school basketball games all without a phone.
My biggest question really is, why do 14 year olds have phones anyways? (Note: most 12 year olds seem to have them now too…)
The way I see it is I drive the boy everywhere he needs to go outside of somewhere he can feasibly get on his bike. (sans brakes) I pick him up from everywhere he needs to be and get him back home at an arranged time. A skill I think the world should continue to teach our children.
Sure, I get that he can’t text me at the last minute to ask to stay longer or to meet at a different place but that keeps things simple and accountable. Two things I’m a fan of.
Secondly, everywhere he goes there is a phone. School has one he can use whenever he needs. Friends houses have them. Even the mall still has a pay phone. Of course, he probably doesn’t have a quarter….
My biggest problem, truly, with giving an adolescent an iPhone really comes down to the internet. I just can’t fathom letting them have access to anything they ever wanted access to in their pocket. Whenever they want, wherever they want.
Now I know there’s the whole idea out there that if they’re going to get into trouble they’ll find some way to do it but I don’t believe that means we need to test them or tempt them. Would any of our parents have put a pornographic magazine in our backpack and said, “Just don’t look at that, okay? I’m trusting you!” Not a chance. Would they have had a set of racey dictionaries in our home which outlined every sexual word you ever wanted to know complete with photos and video and said, “I know you’ll only look up the things that are appropriate, right? Make wise decisions!” No way.
But somehow we’re willingly placing the world at our children’s fingertips while they’re outside of our grasp. Yes, my boys use the internet at home but only in viewable areas, never with a door closed and never, ever in bed! All devices are kept outside of bedrooms at night just to push aside any temptation. I’ve read enough research to show that it’s dangerous to do otherwise.
I don’t want to place difficulties straight into my children’s hands. I don’t want to give them more than they can handle and I don’t want to place harm or destruction at their fingertips and simply tell them no. I want to protect them. I want too keep them from harm. I don’t want to place stumbling blocks before them.
So, we’re continuing to say no to the iPhone. It may be a battle but it’s one we’re willing to fight just now.
What about you? Do your kids have phones? At what age do you think you’ll allow them if they’re not their yet? I’d love to know…