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Kids and cellphones

Some people believe cellphones are a must-have gadget for children these days to help ensure their safety. Others worry about the potential health effects of wireless technology, and the the kind of mischief kids can get into when they're toting a cellphone.

Would you provide a child with his or her own mobile phone?

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Comments

Jeff

Winnipeg

No I wouldn't. I didn't encounter anything when I was a kid that required me to have a cellphone - my parents supervised me and cared about where I was, I was always with people I could trust and somewhere my parents could call anyways. I see it as unnecessary and I think it would be abused by a kid and encourage parents to feel that they are "supervising" their kids all the time, which is an illusion.

Posted February 28, 2008 02:10 AM

Jen

If I did provide any of my kids with a cell it would be a pay and talk type. When your minutes are up, they're up. I would not include texting either. I have that feature turned off on my personal cell.

Posted February 28, 2008 07:02 PM

Henry

Wpg

No, I don't condone provision of a phone. I, like many others I have talked with are of the opinion that, when the time comes, our kids can get their own phone on their own dime, which means that a part time job will be a necessity.
If there is an instance where they go out of town for some event or the situation deems it prudent, then my wife or I would gladly hand over our older pay/go phones.
We have made it our mandate to raise our kids with awareness of self & situation: 'do I feel comfortable here because I need to take care of myself when my parents aren't around' & not to get caught up in the never ending consumerism which has become a sick addiction in todays society.
The truth is, our kids have thus far not fallen victim to the 'must have' mentality, & let's face it, that's all it is because otherwise kids would be happy with a 'cell phone', not an all-in-one palm held media center.

Posted February 28, 2008 07:04 PM

Keith

My children are 6 and 8. Since my ex moved from the Island to Vancouver, I have much less contact with my children. She has also chosen to not have a landline-phone. This makes my contacting my children much more difficult, as well as them calling me. They have never initiated a call to me since they moved. And it has been almost impossible for my Mom to talk to them when she calls or get a call back when she leaves messages.
This Xmas I bought a pay-as-you-go phone for them. I programmed my phone # as well as their moms', gramas' and their friends' parents numbers(from the Island). I showed them how it works and to keep it in their room. No texting, or internet.
My youngest, who doesn't talk to me on the phone much, was the first to phone me. Twice in one day. They now call their grama when they want and I can connect with them directly.
I can keep up with their minutes of use online and top it up when needed.
I can see as they get older there will be more issues that I will have to face but for now, after that first call, I am smiling from ear to ear.
Keith

Posted February 28, 2008 07:20 PM

Charlene Smith

Woodstock,Ontario

No.I think in this day and age kids get too many things,cell phones,computers,high tech everything but haven't learned the basics such as how to interact with people face to face.

They are lacking the very basic skills they will need to survive in their everyday existence such as how to cook,sew on a button,use a washer.

With the modern technology,they have never learned the ability to actually learn how to be safe in our world.To be able to size up a situation and know if it is safe for them or not.

I hear of too many parents who in fact DON'T know what their kids are actually doing,who they are talking to,what they are doing on the internet,what they are watching or listening to.

They say they have cell phones to protect their kids but wouldn't it be more prudent to be a part of their kid's lives instead?

I know I brought up subjects many may think are not part of this topic but in fact they are all a bigger part of the bigger picture of the problems of our society with our kids and ourselves as parents.

Posted February 28, 2008 07:41 PM

Jenn

I would not give my child a cellphone if I was required to pay for it. While younger, kids are almost always in a location that has a land line (friend's house, babysitters, school office phone, neighbourhood watch house, etc.). When they are old enough to be off on their own in locations where there is no access to a land line and they are not strictly supervised, they are also old enough to get a part-time job and pay for a phone themselves!

Posted February 28, 2008 08:35 PM

Erik

Vancouver

If they come out with a cell phone that has no screen on it, limited to calls only, with no internet access or camera, I would consider it. But the way they're set up now there's so much pornography available through the phones and unwanted messaging that there's no way I would permit it at this time. I think parents are crazy to give a child a phone with so many features as it puts them at serious risk.

Posted February 28, 2008 10:11 PM

Karen Selfridge

Seems all these people care about is their money and not letting children " get away" with things.I spend as much time as I can with my daughter and she knows how to cook, socially interact, and even sew on a button. I thank God everyday that there were times that my daughter had a cell phone on her and was able to discourage wanted attention, call for a ride unexpectedly, and keep me posted on a teenager's constant change of plans. Like a good parent, I always know where she is and what she is doing even if plans suddenly change. I want her to feel freedom with a safety net, and a mobile phone lets me be that safety net; " just a call away" if necessary. Good luck trying to find a working pay phone, or safer still, go knock on a stranger's door and go into their house to use a phone! Kids aren't sneaky little deviants looking to get away with something any chance they can. If yours are, they need more than help than a cellphone will ever provide.

Posted March 1, 2008 03:22 PM

Deborah

Newfoundland

As was already noted, perhaps I would, if the phone had no other features.

My son will be 13 in a few months and says that almost everybody in his class has a cell phone. I asked him if he wanted one and he said no. When he does get to the point where he's out and about and needs a way to contact me, he can have my cell phone to use. My partner has a cell phone, so we get what we need... A way for my son to contact me if he needs to, and vice versa.

But from what I see, cellphones seem to be nothing but social tools for teenagers. My ears have been frequently assaulted by the utterly brainless drivel being emitted over the airwaves by teens everywhere. And this whole texting thing seems to be out of control.

I recently saw two groups of teens sitting about 20 feet away in a food court. From the gestures and comments, it was obvious that each group was texting the other. Some parent was paying for that nonsense.

Posted March 3, 2008 05:28 PM

Charlene Smith

Woodstock,Ontario

Karen Selfridge,

I do understand your points and I do applaud your efforts of 'being a part'of your daughter's life.

I am speaking from my OWN perspective.

I am a former child victim of abuse from home AND foster care.

I also became a runaway because of the hell I was living.

Your very survival can depend on 'what you know'about the world around you.

I am also the mom of 1 girl,6 stepsons from 2 marriages[one is dead,the other still going strong,which equals close to 28 1/2 years of relationships and parenting and I am only going on 45!]10 grandkids and all of the friends of all the above.

The things I mentioned,are all of the things THEY tell me they are NOT being taught,whether in school or at home.

So when they come to me for help or advice,should I tell them no?

When they feel they aren't getting what they NEED,should I care?

I can't make any of THEIR parents DO anything,I can only help the kids who come to me by giving the most accurate,safest advice I can and HOPE that IF they ever do NEED it,they have all the information they NEED to make the best choices possible for ANY situation they find themselves in.

Until the time does come when people do take responsibility for their kids though,it is people like me that have to DO the job for them as parents.

So for me,it is not about money but about teaching kids to be safe and giving them the skills they need to survive in the world.

Posted March 3, 2008 06:10 PM

Rick

The only reason I would provide my kids a cell phone is so that I could get a hold of them (or they me) in an emergency. You can also get GPS on these machines, which means if they somehow went "missing" (God forbid) then they could potentially be tracked. I am, however, relatively opposed to just giving them to kids/teens just because all the other kids/teens have them to communicate. I am a secondary teacher and there are all sorts of problems (and arguably benefits) of teenagers having this technology 24-7. I get the impression that actually talking to a person is avoided. Instead, the kids text one another on those infernal machines (using them to cheat on tests, as well). Ban them from schools. Keep them for personal use would be my policy.

Posted March 4, 2008 02:13 PM

Paul Belyea

I think children today have been given far too much in the way of material things.It is our fault for aiding them in trying to keep up with the Jones'.The cell phone is simply anoher example.Some parents would say the kids need a cell phone for safety because in our busy society both parents are working and sometimes in various parts of the country. They do keep us in constant range of our loved ones,I'll agree. There are however, the negatives.Children in this cell phone ,computer age are slowly losing the ability to communicate in full sentences. And what about face to face communication? They can seem to be pretty brave or elusive with an eletronic gadget between them and their adversary or lover. They have been used to cheat in school exams. The phone cameras have been used to put sensational stunts or shool yard fights on "Utube". The other unknown is the electronic waves given off in transmissions. I think it is our responsibility to weigh the pros and cons and somewhere put a few rules in place. I am not against technology, but even in the adult world,it has to be handled responsibly.

Posted March 5, 2008 04:35 PM

Tc

BC

Kids don't need Phones ,Karen Selfridge Lets hope your daughter is telling the truth about where she really is.Thought everywhere my daughter goes there's a landline were my call display shows me were she is. When I was a teenager,My mother was stay at home. But my friends had working parents and a lot of them became sneaky deviants,saying they were at my house when they were not.I wish Karen the best..Thanks

Posted March 6, 2008 08:56 PM

Joe Hudson

Kids have extremely busy schedules, and keeping in touch with them has become increasingly important, especially with them growing up and going out alone more and more. the cellphone has evolved from an expensive, bulky device reserved only for the wealthy to a neccesity in our daily lives. A cellphone is essential.

Posted March 7, 2008 02:31 AM

Maria

Seattlle

I think cell phones are a must have in todays world.Teens and kids are getting more occupied with their after school activities and social life that they need a way to contact their parents in case of an emergency.Texting has become popular and very common,but as long as it is ban from school,I have no problem in it.If the child is respnsible enough to take good care of a cell phone than why not?

Posted March 9, 2008 03:32 AM

Noreen Janzen

We haven't allowed our kids to have cells while they live at home. Our 19 yr old daughter moved out, but no longer wants one because of the rude behaviors of friends with cells, and because she doesn't like to be accessible to everyone. She says she can always find a phone when she needs one. Our 16 yr old would love one, but we are waiting for her marks to improve...her social life is in over-drive even without a cell! We also like it that friends call the house, so we know who she's connecting with. I hate the idea of strangers getting ahold of her any time they want! She also is irritated with the way her friends with cell phones always give their attention to the person on the cell rather the one they are talking to in person.

Posted April 5, 2008 09:29 PM

DJ Herd

Guarantee that cell phones in preteen is a dangerous practice. Just look at the marks they get in school, (and possibly the trouble)
Do not be surprised what you find. It may give
you a rude awakening what actually gowing on.

Posted April 6, 2008 02:37 AM

TClarke

Regular cell phone, no way. A phone that you can only make and receive calls from pre-programmed numbers, certainly (family #'s and 911). Isn't there a cell called a "Firefly" that does this? The whole "I never had a cell phone and I turned out fine" argument doesn't wash with me. On top of basic parenting skills, which seem to be going the way of the Dodo as more time goes by, there's no reason not to, other than financial of course. I don't advocate giving a child a phone and then turning them loose without teaching them how to take care of themselves. Nor would I advocate giving a phone to a child of any age in the place of teaching them some common sense. If you're able to access a tool that can help, why not? A phone isn't a magic button that'll save a child from all harm, but I can easily see it helping them out of some sticky situations.

Posted June 4, 2008 04:48 PM

Emily G.

Montreal

Cellphones are not even necessary for the grand majority of adults, so why give them to kids?

Posted December 3, 2008 06:18 PM

baldassertion

Hamilton

I came across while searching for a story I scanned the other day about kids in traffic with a cell phone on. I cant quote it (since I have not found it yet) but it basically said kids on cell phones are road pizza.

Posted February 7, 2009 09:25 PM

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