We were at Whole Foods, buying what our meager budget could afford, when my 5 year old asked, “Mom, can I see my phone so I can check my account? I want to buy some candy.”
It was there, in the middle of Whole Foods, that timed stopped. People did the slow turn and soon all eyes were on the Lockhart Family. Then one brave soul approached me and asked, “Do they ALL have phones?” I replied with a hearty, “YES.” And of course, Elliott chimed in, “We all have debit cards too. But I’m saving my money right now.”
The brave soul slowly rose her nose in the air as high as it would go and turned her back to us in the rudest way possible. Other patrons at Whole Foods just looked on before quietly going back to minding their own business.
Why do people look at me strange whenever I tell them that my kids, ages 5, 7, 7, and 10, all have cell phones and debit cards? I understand that’s it’s unorthodox and there’re a host of articles that state that cell phones are bad for kids. And from my minimal research, because I could care less, here are a list of reasons why “people” say kids shouldn’t have phones:
- Online predators
- Awkward social skills
- Lack of social skills
- Poor grades in school
- Decreases physical activity
- Blah blah blah
But I completely disagree. Those online predators don’t live in a computer. They aren’t fictional characters. They are actually real people. If we teach our children about stranger-danger at the age of 4, then why not teach them about stranger-danger online via cell phones as well? (My kids don’t have social media accounts, but one day my 10 year old may ask for one. And I will have full access.) I’ve taught them each about accepting request from people they don’t know. They don’t give out any information over the cell phones or landlines AT ALL. The are more likely to “swipe up” and ignore a call or text if you interrupt their game anyway. While they primarily use their phones to play games, they also have the ability to make phone calls and send text messages. They usually text each other (with the exception of the oldest hobbit). Therefore, they have memorized every important phone number: Mom’s, Dad’s, and Grandmother’s. They also understand the responsibility that comes along with taking care of an electronic device. Water is BAD. Charge when DEAD. Phones on coffee table during meals, naps, and bedtime.
As for awkward social skills….puey! Anyone can be socially awkward given the right situation. As for overall social skills, I thing that anyone who has met my kids know that they do not lack ANY social skills. All of my kids have great grades in school and half of them have good conduct as well.
As for their debit cards, I looked online for 3.25 minutes and couldn’t find an article that disagreed with kids having debit cards. So I guess the public can agree that teaching kids financial responsibility at a young age is a good thing. My kids understand how to earn, save, and donate money. Being financially independent is a small joy that I always want them to feel. Plus, the tooth fairy also sends her payments as direct deposits.
I don’t think that parents should shy away from allowing their children to use technology. Children must be taught how to appropriately use cell phones. We, Hubby and I, teach them that neither tech nor money should consume their life. We have a saying, “When company is around, phones down.” Therefore the kids know that cell phones are a “no-go” during meal times and social gatherings. They understand that when you are around people you love and appreciate, you should choose to share that moment with them. Because your loved ones will not always be around.
I love to cook and prefer to cook at home rather than go out. But my kids LOVE to explore Memphis. And sometimes they rally and decide they would prefer to eat dinner out. One day, the kids wanted to go eat at O’Charley’s rather than eat dinner at home. I told them they had to use their debit cards pay for their own meals. They said okay. Sooooo........