I have to say right here that it wasn't my idea to give my son a cell phone when he still was in elementary school.
But I quickly grasped its advantages. Even if he was just a few doors down, I could call him to check in, or order him home, without yelling out the back door. Or trying to track him down.
And, in a way, it taught him something about the world of wireless. Try ignoring that, no matter how old you are.
Then, of course, he got a little older and tried ignoring phone calls from M.O.M. At that point, since I was paying for the phone bill, I firmly informed him that he would take my calls — or his service would get cut off.
There also was the debate regarding texting. I was accused of being a Neanderthal because I flatly refused to sign a middle schooler up for texting. (I did manage to get a real deal by signing up the college student earlier for texting because I also realized that a then-cheap flat rate for unlimited texting on my plan would save money on phone bills, as well as being a necessity for an older student in the 21st century.)
But a middle schooler? As I saw it, it was simply too much of an opportunity for getting disciplined in school. Or texting the wrong message. Or getting the wrong message.
And why did he need to hear from kids who all too often were sitting in my living room, anyway?
Apparently, however, that attitude put me very much in the minority. What about you? Did you sign up your student for unlimited texting in middle school? Earlier? What was your reasoning?
Last year, a student seminar held at William Annin Middle School talked about cyber-bullying. Texting was a major tool for achieving that goal, or otherwise passing troublesome (and possibly law-violating) messages. And there it was, as evidence, in writing.
Another presentation on internet safety, this one for parents, was held on Tuesday night, courtesy of two PTOs. Did you go and what did you learn?
I finally provided son No. 2 with texting in high school. Unlimited. My adviser at Sprint (I bother to drive to Flemington to talk to the people in the know about my phone service decisions) flatly told me that just signing him up for a limit of 350 text messages per month was courting extra charges.
So when did you get your child a cell phone? Have you? How long will you wait? Did you block incoming texts (as I managed to do for a few years) or put on some other extra brakes on how the technology can be used?
Let us know what you think by posting a comment on the end of this article. I look forward to hearing from you!
PS. Do you think your student could even LIVE without a cell phone at this point? I was amused to see during our video story on how local teens said they were preparing for Hurricane Irene by charging their cell phones ahead of time so they could talk to their friends during the storm was a top priority.