Teens and cell phones


I have a young teen–well, she’s thirteen, soon to be turning fourteen. Up until now, I’ve resisted the impulse to go out and buy her a cell phone, particularly a smart phone with all the texting, Internet, apps, games, and other doodads that smart phones typically come with.

Am I a hardass?  How many other parents are there out there like me who just don’t see the need for a teenager to have the latest gadget?

I think about when I was a teenager. Did I talk on the phone? Sure. Not excessively, because I generally biked to many of my friend’s houses and hung out. But occasionally I’d talk. I never had my own line. Never had a cell phone. Never had a TV in my room either, but I did have a computer, lol, a MacPlus. I used it for all kinds of things.

I don’t think I’m the old fogey standing on the porch shouting “You kids, get off my lawn!” when I say that kids these days have things they really, really don’t need. The computer I get. It’s a useful tool, first of all, and it’s so much a part of our culture now. I even get social media–Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. It’s nice to know what friends and family are up to, especially if they don’t live nearby.  Selfies?  Ehhh, whatever. Are you REALLY going to keep those photos to reminisce over when you’re older? I doubt it. Unless of course you were in the one with Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars. That one I’d keep. Texting can be useful to send a quick message.

But when texting becomes a main method of communication, there’s a problem.

I don’t think it advances society to raise a generation of people who don’t know how to sit down and TALK to each other. I can’t think of any advantage to developing a texting skill. Nor a Candy Crush skill, nor any other silly app. If my teen texts at only one word a minute as opposed to 60wpm, I don’t think it’ll be the end of society. In fact, if she’s developing her off-phone, in-person skills, I think she’ll go farther in life.

So no, I don’t think that makes me a hardass. Maybe not the “cool” mom. But I guess I’ll see when my teen gets through high school and college and has to fend for herself.

I just wonder how many other moms out there think the same way. It seems like I’m in the minority.

And that frightens me.

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