Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Should Kids Have Cell Phones?

My oldest daughter has a cell phone and is often found texting with her friends. We have an "open phone" policy where she knows that her texts are not private and that her mother and I can and will read them regularly. This article by Russell Moore poses some interesting ideas about kids and cell phones. Though I am not planning on taking the cell phone away from my daughter, this does make me think more carefully about how and when she and my other children should posess and use cell phones. Here's a clip from his post:
A pre-teen or a teenager with unrestricted cell-phone usage (or Internet or television consumption) is being placed in a very, very difficult place of temptation. The company of that young man or woman is now away from the scrutiny of parents, and is now left only to his or her discretion or conscience. Are there some young Christians who can handle such? Of course. Should you assume your child is one of them? Your Father (meaning Heavenly Father) is more careful of you than that.
(HT: Challies)


John C said...

This is interesting. I think to be honest, it almost might be better them having access to a cell phone at a younger age, rather than older, so it's not such a "novelty" to them when it comes time to use it. Land lines are slowly becoming a thing of the past anyway. But think about it - our kids have access to a land line phone all their lives, but there's not the temptation to "abuse" it so much. Albeit cell phones have more features that can allow for that. But if a kid grows up with a cell phone being a normal part of their life, there's not going to be that novelty of wanting to abuse it.

We no longer have a land line - just had no use for it and no need to spend the money for it any longer. We got Shailee an inexpensive track phone to have at home just in the case that she's home and we're not, which now that she's older we're more and more ok with that for short periods of time, or to have when we're out and we separate. She really has no temptation to abuse it in anyway or be texting all the time. Well, YET anyway. But again, if you grow up with it, it's just a normal part of life.

Scott Sterner said...

John. It definitely sounds like it's not an issue at all with Shailee. We're in the stage now with Hannah where she is constantly getting texts during meals, while watching a family movie, when doing homework, etc.

It's in that situation where I fully embrace the need to pull back the reigns a bit and work harder to protect her from the temptations that come with technology. Especially since she is getting many of those texts from unbelieving friends... many who are guys... You get my point.

John C said...

ya - I'm sure that will change over time with us! *grin* I think there are ways you can use parental controls in Verizon to limit text messages, from what numbers they can be received from, etc. Not sure but I think when I was poking around their online site I saw where you could set up a lot of different controls for that sort of thing.

And of course, you can always just turn the phone off during dinner/movie time/homework!