The Wireless Age and Our Children

Our world is wireless. You can print from across the room, surf the Net from the backyard or Chick Fil A parking lot *ahem* and text someone across the globe instantly.

My children are growing up in a convenient, instant world.

It’s awesome.

And it’s also scary.

Take a look at these new alarming statistics just released:

71% of teens regard boyfriends/girlfriends spreading rumors about them on cell phones and social networking sites as a serious problem.

1 in 4 teens in a relationship (25%) say they have been called names, harassed, or put down by their partner through cell phones and texting.

68% of teens say boyfriends/girlfriends sharing private or embarrassing pictures/videos on cell phones and computers is a serious problem.

1 in 3 teens (30%) say they are text messaged 10, 20, 30 times an hour by a partner inquiring where they are, what they’re doing, or who they’re with.

82% of parents whose teens were emailed or texted 30 times per hour were unaware this was happening.

(Stats from Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU) studies)

My son is in the 3rd grade. Most of his friends have a cell phone or iTouch (ridiculous if you ask me!) and my 5th grade daughter is way behind the times, too, and I’m going to keep it that way as long as I can.

I don’t have a problem swimming upstream.

But, in reality, at some point, we will have texting teens (at college, of course!).

How do we keep them safe? Technology entraps kids younger and younger. My nearly 4 year old knows what an email is and recognizes the ping of my computer when Maureen Skypes.

How do you handle the wireless age and your children?

P.S. Our TV broke 3 weeks ago. We decided not to replace it. Best decision ever! We still have one we use for Netflix /Wii, but that’s occasional and it’s awesome. </two cents>


Comments

  1. says

    *I* do NOT have a cell phone. I do not think my children need one, either. My husband has one for work, but it does not have texting on it or internet access.

    We have one tv, and we always have, but we haven’t had cable for many years.

    I think there is too much of a push to get children ON the computer. We don’t need preschool computer games–really! What preschoolers need is more interaction with mom and real-world things. They don’t need to be online playing games on a computer in their room (I’m talking about 3-year-olds, even–I’ve seen it) playing games online.

    When the children are old enough to type reports, we’ll let them on the computer. Until then, they will be handwriting reports.

    Now, we don’t do skype because our family is near (really near).

    We are a no-video-game household. My husband and I made that decision a long time ago.

    My children do not own ipods. They are not plugged in all the time to music.

    As a teenager, I know that I was always listening to music. And then, I became a missionary, and my focus was changed. I didn’t have to always be listening to music. The more I allowed myself to be quiet, the better I was able to hear the promptings of the Holy Ghost. It completely changed my desire to always be listening to popular music, and to instead do the things which would invite the Holy Spirit into my life more.

    We don’t have to be doing what everyone else is, nor we even want to.

  2. says

    My mother in law casually mentioned last night that my kids’ cousins had their cell phones taken away. One is 2 years younger than my oldest and the other is one year older than my 2nd. I said “Please don’t tell them that their cousins HAVE cell phones”.

    My kids don’t have cell phones. They don’t have email. They don’t have Facebook. I love Facebook, but I have had to take a “break” to be a good example to my kiddos.

    My kids are horribly behind the times. I constantly have to tell them that we are not pleasing men, we are pleasing God and a sacrifice now will be a blessing later.

  3. TracyDK says

    I used to have a cell phone years ago. After having over 200$ in text messages sent to me UNopened, I opted out of owning a cell phone. We have a pay as you go phone now. We live 2 hours from everything, and our son has to see a specialist in Nashville for epilepsy and asthma, so we have it for our trips back and forth to Nashville. (this lesson was learned after trying to borrow my Mom’s or brother’s and neither was charged and neither had a car charger.) So I’ll admit yes, we have a cell. It’s a plain ol’ cell. No camera, no internet. And if I could convince one of my professors to answer his email, I’d never text. However, if I have to miss a class I have to send him a text. To me, they are a use when you absolutely have to sort of thing. My niece is 12 and doesn’t own a cell. She does have a computer, but she has strict parental controls over what she can and can’t do on it. My son knows that my computer is ” ‘cool” (school) and he doesn’t like it because it means I can’t play with him. I’ll admit I’m probably on it more than I ought to be. And that will change as time goes on. But I don’t think that kids should have a cell phone before they start driving. I don’t think that they should have a facebook or myspace or anything like that before their old enough to understand that stuff that gets put on there can’t just go away when you delete it. And that sometimes stuff gets put on there about them that they didn’t put up. That’s the scariest of all. No matter how you protect your child, sometimes, something heinous shows up anyways because other parents don’t care.

  4. says

    Honestly? We are planning on handling the wireless issue much like any other issue….Hopefully, teaching them to discern right from wrong and waiting until they are old enough to handle the privelege that comes with use. And then check up on them to see that they *are* handling the privelege responsibly while they are under our roof.

    Its the same with driving (shudder), or TV (we don’t have cable, but do allow streaming netflix- much for the same reasons I bet that you are loving not having TV! More control, go read a book, no commericals you can’t edit out..etc), or social situations at school (or youth group retreats or wherever unless you live in a complete bubble and allow children no interaction with peers whatsoever) where you cannot control who interacts with them and what is said….

    My goal as a parent is to teach them the skills and knowledge to make wise choices, even when I am not around. Because I won’t always be.

    That being said, we have a few pratical ground rules. Internet filters on our home computers, no TV or personal computers in rooms, they don’t have cell phones (they are 6 and 8)…we will allow one when it becomes needed due to extra curricular activities but it will be LIMITED (i.e. just on the day of activity and use monitored- calls/texts, etc) at first, and yes, they have ipod nanos- but they are used for traveling (lifesavers in the car!) and THAT is primarily for mom and dad’s sanity :)

  5. Amy says

    My 3rd grader doesn’t have a cell & honestly could care less. My 4 (almost 5) yr old is going to be the one who wants to keep up with her peers. She’s already asking for her own cell, but I refuse. Even when my 3rd grader was in public school, she was one of the few, in kindergarten & 1st grade, who DIDN’T have a cell phone! I couldn’t believe it. My 4 yr old follows an online curriculum & my 3rd grader only gets online when I’m sitting there helping her look stuff up that go along with her curriculum. They don’t even have a Wii, play station, Xbox or PSP. We went to a friends how who made fun of my kids because they didn’t know how to play them. Instead, my kids run around outside. They play with their dolls & Barbies and stuffed toys. They *gasp* use their imagination to come up with all kinds of things to do! I hate how technical that things are now.

  6. says

    We hold out on cell phones and FB until high school, and we’d be considered dinosaurs in our area. But our girls know our standards AND our expectations–that the phone is a privilege and to be used to call when they need a ride, etc. (Plus, we make them pay for it, so it gets used a lot less!)

    I noticed that the statistics you used in your post had mostly to do with boyfriends stalking/texting. Maybe the problem isn’t so much with having a phone, but with having a boyfriend. I have had two daughters go through high school (well, one finished, one still there, one in jr. high), and without our even having to say it, they pretty much know that having a boyfriend in high school is unnecessary and not what we would want for them. My oldest decided on her own not to date in high school because, as she said, “It’s not like I’m going to marry any guy I date in high school.” Anyway, I don’t mean to nitpick here, but maybe the issue is setting expectations first, before you give your kids technology, for every area of their lives.

  7. says

    It is so scary. We are behind the times too. My sixth grader doesn’t have a cell phone and only goes online to google things he needs for school. I know we will get there eventually, but we’ve already discussed some major rules. And our children will never be allowed to have computers in their bedrooms. It is just too risky.

  8. says

    I agree so much with this post, Kristen! I also agree with Rhonda’s comment above–that while there is an obscene lack of moderation in technology usage around us, we have to teach our kids how to deal with that. I know a family who has an 18 year old senior, who kept him away from all that stuff and now he is facing college and way more freedom than they raised him to be able to handle. I don’t want to be there.

    We don’t have a TV, but we teach the kids how to turn off the commercials when we’re at Grandma’s. We don’t hand out cell phones, but we’ve taught them how to use ours and explained about cost, usage, etc. so that they know it isn’t a magic little box that grows on a tree. We let them save up for iPods if they want to, and we don’t allow internet access, texting, or email on them yet–but we plan to ease them into the use of all this while they are at home, so that they grow up learning moderation and self-control. And if they mess up, they mess up with loving parents there to help them learn from it and move forward.

    Definitely a great topic! Thanks for getting the gears turning this morning.
    Kathleen

  9. says

    We have 3 kids – 15, 12 and 7 and they don’t have cell phones either. They are definitely not in the norm, but we manage just fine. If they ever need to get ahold of us from school or sports practice they either borrow someone else’s or use the phone in the office! (amazing, isn’t it!) It truly is a pet peeve to see kids staring at and texting on their phones constantly. We also have internet safety features (we’re using “safe eyes” now) and we keep an eye on what how much and what they need it for. I want to keep my kids as kids as long as possible!

  10. says

    My 5th grade son doesn’t have a cell phone, but all of the neighborhood kids do. To be fair, I’m the only SAHM and most kids have it in part so their parents can get ahold of them. It is hard though because our neighborhood “mean girls” harrass with cellphones all the time (they’re 8 and 10).

    We don’t have cable but we do have plenty of TV through Netflix, and the kids play computer. We access Netflix through a PS3 and my 3 year old knows how to use the controllers to turn it on and scroll through to find Thomas the Tank Engine. My 4 yo can surf the internet using bookmarks.

    My kids beg for a cell phone all the time but *I* just got one. They have to wait – and even then we’d probably only get one “general” family one to give to a kid if/when they go out.

    I think it’s important to be very direct and forthright about texting and technology. Just like money – technology itself isn’t bad, it’s a tool that can be used for good or for bad. We try to give general life guidelines that will work in many situations.

    We don’t allow TVs in bedrooms, and our computer is on the mainfloor of the house in an open area. The computer is password protected and the kids don’t have it, they always have to ask before playing so I’m aware. Norton makes a free filter/parent control. We also have different users on the computer, and I set the homepage to the site where their games are (lego.com for one boy, GirlsGoGames for the 4 and 6 year old.) We do half hour turns and having just one computer for them (I have my own laptop for my work) helps too- with 7 kids old enough to play they CAN’T spend hours on it!

    Our greatest problem has been my older boys going to sites that have been “banned” with their friends – we don’t let them go to YouTube or eBay. That eBay drives me nuts- my 11 yo will surf and then tell me everything he wants to buy which really bothers me.

  11. says

    Those are scary. My 3rd and 5th graders do not have cell phones, rarely use the computer but I can’t protect them forever. We have to be proactive about teaching them NOW.

  12. says

    I only just got a cell phone five years ago from my husband when I was got a flat on the highway and I was seven months pregnant. I finally got my own about two years ago because we don’t have a home phone (a land line is more expensive here) plus I started my own business and my day job has me running out of town. I live in New Mexico and nearly every town is a good 45 minutes to 2 hours away from each other. My kids (13, 11, 8, 4) do not have cell phones. Our eldest two only have the extra cell phone when they are on an out of town trip or sleepovers. They will not be getting one until college and they seem just fine with that.

  13. says

    I’m totally with you! It’s so important to have some other Christian families doing the same thing. My daughter got her own cell phone this year for grade 10, but she needs it to phone us mostly, so we can pick her up or know where she is. I think they also need to learn how to use technology wisely and so need supervised practise with it before they are totally on their own! Love you blog!

  14. says

    We haven’t had television for 14 years. When we were in a bigger city we did get the local networks with an antenna but we’ve been in the “country” for almost 5 years now with access to only our local PBS station. Our kids are in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th grade. It’s wonderful. Yes, we take them to the movies. Yes, we have a Netflix account for movies. And the Wii. But guess what else? Our kids LOVE books on tape. And know how to play cards and boardgames, work puzzles and have library cards. Last Saturday morning I got up to one kid sitting at the kitchen counter reading a magazine, another draped in a chair reading a chapter book and the oldest leafing through the new library books we had picked up the day before. It’s a hard road to walk but I think our kids are so much better off without all the CRAP the media shoves down their throats. . .the lies that ensnare young, impressionable children. . .and. . .best of all. . .they don’t know *what* to ask for at Christmastime because they know their needs are met and the television isn’t constantly showing them/telling them that there are better, bigger, more fabulous things “out there”. I’ll be interested to follow you and see if you make it permanent. . .I think you’ll really find a lot of family time that you didn’t know existed!!!

  15. says

    My son is in 4th grade and a large number of his friends have cell phones and play unsupervised on the computer. I don’t think of myself as being overly strict but I can’t help but feel this is ridiculous and scary! Whenever he tries to get me to lighten up on the rules regarding the computer I tell him to go outside, that is where children should be doing their social networking. Not in front of a computer or behind a cell phone. He may occasionally feel deprived now but I am hoping that one day he will appreciate my logic in this. When he is old enough to go out of the house without me then we will discuss a cell phone.

  16. says

    Kristen,

    I have a slightly different take as a dad and a high school technology teacher. We are wired, wireless and stay pretty connected at our house. We have a 6yr old (Kate) and a 14yr old (Laura). They both have ipods and Laura has had a phone for a year. They both use laptops at school and at home for learning, communicating, entertaining and creating.

    As a technology teacher, I see stats like this and hear the scary stories all the time.Truth is that its not a technology problem. Its a relationship, communication, self-control, priorities problem. Before the internet and texting, we saw similar stats about the dangers of the Wal-Mart parking lots, too much TV, and playground bullies. For every negative story on the news and such about kids being on the internet/facebook/phones, I can think of a few good ones.

    I remember as a kid, calling my grandma once a month, on a Sunday evening at 9:00pm, when the long distance rates weren’t so high. We got to talk for 10 minutes. Today, Laura is able to call and text her grandparents whenever she wants, as often as she wants. She posts on Facebook and they comment back. Her relationship with them is so much deeper than I had. They know what she is doing daily and they see her struggles from a long way away. They pray for her daily, and specifically, based on those conversations.

    Laura chats with students and teachers at the orphanage in Kenya that I work with. She is able to encourage them and interact with them, having never met them before. She knows their struggles and prays for them by name. Many of them are her friends on Facebook and they share their lives together. She has a whole family that she may never meet face to face, but has found a place for them in her heart.

    Kate has an ipod and listens to praise music and watches videos from Discovery Education, PBS, etc. She also has reading and math apps/games that she really likes playing. She does this outside on the trampoline, on the swing or sitting on porch with the cats. She practically lives outside and doesn’t like watching TV at all. Her media is mobile, she doesn’t sit still for very long, and she takes it wherever she goes.

    That being said, we have rules at our house about laptops, ipods and phones. They have limits on use: time, locations, etc. There’s a time and place for appropriate use and a time they will be turned off. We monitor closely all accounts, history and trends. Its easy for us to do that since my wife and I are tech literate. You mentioned “entrapment.” That portrays kids with technology as the victims. I’d rather empower them to use it effectively, in moderation, in the setting, with the right frame of mind. We put them in the drivers seat and hold driving lessons as early and for as many years as we can, before they go off on their own. We want them to learn to be in control or the tools and not victims of it.

    Great conversations here. Thanks

    • says

      Excellent point, Darren and I totally agree! I probably should have said
      That we love technology and use it everyday, much like your kids. It’s the unmonitored, absolute freedom of technology that is concerning. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  17. says

    Agreed. Leaving kids alone/isolated with a mobile phone or internet is just as risky as leaving them home alone or at the store by themselves. It can be swift, silent and happen when you least expect it.

  18. Leigh says

    I just HAD to chime in on this one! We turned our TV off way back in July and haven’t had it on since (with the exception of watching our Texas Rangers in the World Series, during which we had to fast forward through all of the inappropriate commercials). BEST DECISION EVER! It’s like my whole family has come out of a coma! We didn’t watch that much to begin with, but this has changed our family dynamic in ways I can’t even begin to describe. I HIGHLY recommend everyone give it a try for a month or two. If we are all honest, there are very few shows on TV that are appropriate for Christian families (or anyone else) to watch. And if you do find a good show, then you have to beware of the commercials. I know parents often record and watch shows after the kids are in bed, but I’ve always wondered how it can be right for me to sit through a show that I wouldn’t let my children watch.

    Lovin’ life without TV!!

    • says

      Yes, we went a whole year without television and it was AWESOME!!! I miss those days! LOL We still watch it more than I would like, but not nearly as much as in the past. The only one in control of it is ME. So I’m the one who has to make the tough decision. (But it’s OH so worth it once you get over that “hump”, ya know?)

  19. says

    My children are 8, 5, 3, 2, and 3 months. I occasionally allow computer games (on the weekends) but the game has to be a cd-r. I’ve not allowed internet games unless my husband was sitting there, in control of it. I will never allow an internet game while I’m not in the room.

    Our tv is down stairs, out of our main living area. It is the only one we own, and we have no cable, satellite, or anything of the sort.

    I have to admit, I struggle with the fact that my children are growing up in such a technologically advanced world. Whenever my daughter reads a book, she automatically wonders or asks if it was made into a movie. And don’t even get me started on the kindle, lol. I won’t even read e-books. If they are short enough I will print them. But I cannot read that much off a screen. I prefer to be able to touch and turn the pages.

    I’ve not run into my children’s friends having cell phones yet. But I agree, when it is introduced to our [grown] children, it will definitely be monitored. I don’t see the need for our children to be constantly attached to technology. But yes, it has become the “norm” in society. I don’t want it to be the norm for us. Call me old fashioned or whatever, LOL. Yes, we use it…but we are always sorely outdated. And I’m fine with that.

  20. says

    I’m also grateful AND scared of the world my kids are growing up in…there are really NO boundaries anymore in terms
    of accessing info. and communicating. good topic!!

  21. Anne says

    A pastor at a church in our area recently did a series of 4 talks on impacts of technology. It’s not a series that condemns technology as bad, but it is very interesting as it discusses the impacts that is has, especially on the current generation that is growing up in a world that has always had the internet. Here is the website if you are interested. I definitely found it very thought provoking and worthwhile to listen to. http://www.tcpca.org/Audio/Sermons/Search?op0=%3D&filter0=downloading+

  22. cheryl newsted says

    I agree with Darren but would like to say that it was a difficult decision allowing our 12 year old a cell phone. We prayed diligently +and came up with strict rules. As the year has progressed (she’ll be 13 next week) rules have changed, tears have been shed (on both sides), and we all are better for the opportunity to learn together how to best handle a cell phone and our relationship. Now our 11 and 9 year old are begging and the answer is “no” but because we laid the ground rules from the beginning, they know why. They are in the minority and we’re ok with that. :) We are a tech-y family but we’re teaching our children that when much is given much is required. They’ve lost privileges (tech is a privilege) and are much more careful now. We will continue to monitor them and learn together as technology changes. It’s my and my husband’s job to teach our three kids using God’s Word as our compass.

  23. says

    You know, I’m still trying to figure all this out – my boys are 3 and 4 so, hopefully I have a little time before they start asking for cell phones LOL But I am all for less. I hate how much life all this technology saps out of us. I am so included in this! I spend too much time on the internet and the boys spend way to much with the television. I am working on weaning us off of all of the things that don’t really contribute to life and relationships and learning.

  24. says

    If allowed, the first thing and the only thing the kids (6 and 4) want to do is watch t.v. But, if not allowed, they play with each other and draw constantly. With t.v. they fight, even if they have only watched 1/2 hour show. Without t.v. they get along–usually. We have a wii which hasn’t been on in about 6 weeks, because even on a limited basis, the change in their behaviour and tolerance is unbelievable.
    The only reason we have satellite is ME. I love t.v, although only get a chance to watch it when they are in bed. But we keep thinking about cancelling our service, giving away the wii. I don’t think we would survive without the internet or cell phones. Homeschooling our kids means the likelihood of them needing a cell phone is very low.
    Sometimes I think about how life must have been before all this technology, how much closer families were, how much less dissatisfaction there was in life.

  25. says

    We will not allow our kids to have cell phones till they are older, like in late high school, and they can use the family computer, there is no need for them to have their own computer let alone a lap top. Also since neither my husband or i have an ianything I don’t plan on my kids have one. We have 3 TV in the house and they only play movies. We made turned off the cable to in order to save money but has been a great thing for our family. The kids watch less TV, we do have Nexflix which is worth our money because they can watch seasons of their preschool shows through there whenever they want and not at just the time they are one. For example they really like the Backyardagains but there were on after bed time when we had cable, with Nextflix they can watch it before bed to settle down for the night. We know that what having all the technology can do to our kids and will be glad that they can’t be involved in it. I am glad that my parents didn’t let me do that stuff when I was younger too.

  26. Leah W. says

    Ok… So I’m not a mom (and nowhere close to that time) lol. I’m only twenty, but I can vouch that the stats are completely accurate. I can also say that my parents gave me a cell phone when I was only twelve. I love them to death, and they’re the best parents EVER.. but it was the worst mistake. I’ve said for awhile now that pretty much most of my teenage mistakes could have been avoided if I didn’t have a cell. Just sayin’…

  27. says

    This is increasingly becoming a big issue for all of us as parents… and an issue where we get a LOT of questions. Many parents of teens now are not as tech savvy as their teens and so we put together a guide last summer to help parents navigate this tough subject. http://www.momlifetoday.com/resources/teens-and-tec/

    I also have to be aware of my own behavior with my cell phone and computer use. Being too connected is REALLY easy for me. I try very hard to intentionally focus my attention on my littles and to guard my time with them as separate from my work time. I am not always successful but it is important to me for them to know they are more important.

    Blessings,
    Katie

  28. says

    I really think that how much technology a kid can handle is really different for each kid. My son (15 now) had his own computer at 2, it had educational and fun games on it and by 3 he was loading new games himself because he was constantly asking me to do it so that became a self preservation thing for me. Now I did not let him access the internet at all, instead he began to play other games like Civilization, Age of Empires and Sims. As a stubborn reader these games were used as a way to get him to read, since I wouldn’t read for him he had to do it himself if he wanted to play the games. I now do regret holding off on introducing Matt to the net early on, he really has become more of a recluse and while he does have Facebook he will only play games. He is a gamer, and very serious about gaming wanting to go into Game design, or at least something in the Gaming field. He communicates with friends and others over XBOX live, which has really given him a good understanding about dealing with other people- he plays with people of all ages, from all geographic locations and has had to learn how to deal with some pretty well not nice behaved kids. Now there are restrictions on his gaming, not during the week and not if his grades are not kept up to my standard. He has a cell phone, but other than communicating with me and only a few friends and his dad he leaves it alone (he has 200 min and 300 texts and uses maybe 25 min and 100 texts a month). We have found the phone invaluable for him to have since 6th grade, since I drive him to and from school and with his Cross Country and other after school activities its a great way for us to keep in contact. He can use phones at school, but only till 3:30 unless he’s really lucky and practices usually lasted till 5:00.

    My daughter at 5 has been surfing YouTube on an iTouch since probably about 3, and that has kept her amused at many swim meet or during those times when I need to concentrate on something else. She learned early on what is appropriate behavior and language for the videos, and has always been able to police herself and would immediately change the video when asked.

    I have always operated under the idea that I want to be the one to introduce things to my kids, not to have their friends introduce them to things. So in many cases I have introduced them to things early, explained my thoughts and my expectations. Both really do have very good heads on their shoulders, my son at 15 is actually disgusted by his peers dating (though in a way I wouldn’t mind for him to like girls and take a little bit more self initiative in his person hygiene) and my 5 year old daughter still thinks that the S word is Shoot and the D word is darn and the F word is Fudge.

    BTW I am a Computer loving gaming geek and my kids come by it naturally …… ;)

  29. totoshome says

    I’ve got to say, there are some very wise people on this blog. I’m so thankful to be reading some voices of reason!
    We recently bought our daughter a cell phone for her 13th birthday. It was only after a great deal of thought and prayer.
    For me, it’s a middle school safety kind of an issue. My daughter will hit high school next year, and I want her to be safe. We are in a dangerous world, and I feel like I have made the right choice for our daughter. But every situation is different, and each parent must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of such a decision for their own kids.
    Parents usually know their own child. If my child was not a very responsible young lady, we never would have even considered a phone. I too, think our dependence on technology has gotten entirely out of hand. I wish we were living in the country somewhere, so that we could just turn everything off and enjoy each other, and our surroundings. That would be ideal. But we are in a city. Sometimes, it’s not pretty. And I want my child to be able to call me or her father, or 911 whenever, and if ever, needed. When I searched the internet for a cell phone that might be safe for kids, I found a real gem in Kajeet.
    Kajeet is a cell phone company dedicated to keeping kids safe – while giving parents COMPLETE AND TOTAL CONTROL OVER THEIR CHILD’S PHONE. If you are a parent who strives to make good judgement calls when it comes to technology for your child, you cannot go wrong with kajeet. You can set the phone up to be usable only at certain times of the day and night. You can also allow only certain numbers that you and your child agree upon to call your child’s phone. You can BLOCK certain numbers from ever calling your child’s phone. All 900 numbers are automatically blocked from every kajeet phone! Wallets can be set up for your child as a reward or allowance so that your child can buy ringtones, wallpapers and safe games (approved for kids). You can even go online and see a running log of all numbers calling your child’s phone, and any number that your child has called.
    The list goes on and on. This company has thought of everything!
    My daughter just told me (as she is in the kitchen baking cookies) that she is one of the few people she knows who is
    not at all addcted to her phone! This is a 13 year old girl, who played on her phone all of the time, at first. However,
    she realized very quickly that I will go online to make sure she is following the guildelines that we have set up for her
    use of this phone, and she doesn’t abuse the priviledge, ever. She knows the phone will be turned off (by me) online
    if she uses it during school, or homework hours, etc. She can use her phone, she can play the games, but she is not
    obsessed. That’s a dream come true for this mom! She’s baking cookies for a bake sale at school! She does her
    homework, plays basketball, piano and is a very focused young lady.
    Here’s a tip: IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO BE THE GROWN-UP IN THE RELATIONSHIP, AND KEEP
    TABS ON YOUR CHILD’S PHONE, HOLDING THEM COMPLETELY ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS, DO NOT GET YOUR CHILD A PHONE….OR FACEBOOK, OR ANY OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA!
    Parents need to grow up and be parents! If you are willing to make the rules clear from the start, and follow through
    on consequences, I think there’s a real good shot that your child could be responsible with a cell phone.
    Since the kajeet service is set up on the SPRINT PCS NETWORK, I know the service is reliable.
    It has all kinds of kid friendly stuff already built into the phone.
    GPS is an awesome feature, and available for all kajeet phones, as well. If you can find your child’s phone, it’s a pretty
    good bet, you can find your child.
    I would never try and convince another parent that they should get a cell phone for their child. I know of a parent that bought her 16 yr. old daughter a kajeet (first) phone. That’s a thoughtful parent.
    If you are going to get your child (age 8 and up) a phone, pray first and then check out kajeet. I know of a site where you can get a 15% discount on any of their phones: http://www.kajeet.com/180. Or you can type in (at checkout) the promo code: SAFETALK and receive the same discount.
    I hope you find this helpful if, in fact, you are considering buying your child a phone.
    Let’s work as hard as possible, in whatever ways we can, to keep our children safe!
    God Bless You All! Thank you for giving me some real food for thought!

  30. says

    interesting comments. i have an opinion, but no kids, so i’ll keep things to myself. :)

    but what i really want to know is where did you get your africa sticker!? LOVE it!

  31. says

    I agree that cell phones for kids are ridiculous. I don’t have a cell phone myself, and I intend to hold out as long as possible for both myself and my child.

    I just want to mention (as someone who works with research data from questionnaires) that when “68% of teens say boyfriends/girlfriends sharing private or embarrassing pictures/videos on cell phones and computers is a serious problem” that may mean they answered “serious problem” to the question, “What if your boyfriend/girlfriend shared a private picture?” It might not mean they’ve actually had the experience.

    I agree with those who say the technology is just another way to enable things that have been going on forever. When I was a teenager in the ’80s, I was harrassed by kids calling me on the landline phone, and I had a private letter I was writing stolen from my notebook and passed around and gossiped about. It’s the increased speed and copying ability of computers that make bullying potentially more intense these days.

  32. says

    Our family is a somewhat connected family. Hubs is kind of a geek when it comes to computers and the sort. When we bought this house 3 years ago we didn’t get cable and every once in a while we have a 10 second discussion about whether or not we should get cable (usually right before hockey season starts). It usually goes something like this:
    Hubs: Do you want to get cable again?
    Me: No
    Hubs: Ok, just checking.
    I like that my children are not being bombarded by commercials or inappropriate, non-mom-approved stuff. My 3 year old daughter just spent 2 days with a friend while my son was in the hospital and I was told that for every commercial my daughter said “I want that!!!” We do have a TV that is hooked up to a VCR player and a PS2 that we use to play DVDs. I can’t tell you the last time the PS2 was used to actually play a game! The kids are allowed to watch 1 movie a day and that’s it.

    As for cell phones, Hubs and I both have one. Mine is an older style, Hubs is a new one with all of the gadgets and stuff on it (again, geek there). I use the phone to text more than call because that is what is convenient for me and my schedule when it comes to needing to contact a friend or whatever. Where I live, most kids over age 11/12 have cell phones. I understand why alot of families do it. Around here, it is often cheaper to do away with your land line and go to just cell phones and then families get family plans so that their kids can have a phone and so that mom and dad can reach them whenever they want to….which is good when both parents are working and kids are home alone after school.

    However, when it comes to the statistics above, the problems that I see are not technological in nature, but are inter-relational. Spreading rumors, being harassed, being called names…those things are happening not because kids have cell phones but because children are not being taught the proper way to treat others. They are not being taught to respect one another and to love others in Christ. Cell phones and computers are merely the tools that are being used. …and they are not being supervised by their parents or care givers.

    While my kids will most likely be in their teens (we’re talking driving age here) when we allow them to have cell phones (unless one of them has a job and is able to pay for his/her own phone completely…and even then there will be rules set for the phone), my kids will be taught how to use computers and the internet. Don’t get me wrong, they will be monitored and there will be strict rules with the computer, but I do think it is important for my kids to know how to use a computer and the internet efficiently. Our (the US) way of life and many, many jobs require the knowledge and use of computers and I want to make sure my kids are prepared, so we will teach them. We will educate them on the dangers of the internet and the things that Satan uses to make people fall.

    We use all of this as an opportunity to teach values and margins. We use it to teach time management. We use it to teach the kids how to research. For a while, my kids were really interested in the water tanker trucks that the gas companies here use to transport water to where they are drilling, so we got online and researched how the tankers worked and learned about the trucks. Then, in order to make sure we weren’t doing everything via computer, we went to a place where the trucks get filled and saw how they hook the truck up to the pump and fill it. For me, it’s all about making things a learning opportunity. So that’s how we handle the wireless age.

  33. Molly says

    I work in an internet business and spend a lot of time in social media. I am pretty tech savvy and we have smart phones, ipods and laptops. I teach my children how to use technology in much the same way I think one might teach their children to use a gun (we don’t own guns, but I know families that put guns in the hands of 8 y.o.s come hunting season). Technology/the internet is just as dangerous as a gun, but can also be just as useful. Even though managing the seduction of constant teenage texting is exhausting, I have to admit that I really appreciate having my kids in my pocket, and vice versa. (For the record, turning off the TV was the best thing I’ve ever done.)

  34. says

    I don’t want to rehash what’s already been said, but I’m pretty much on board with “everything in moderation.” We live far away from family and friends, so technology keeps us connected when we wouldn’t be otherwise. Technology in and of itself is not evil, but kids need to have limits and know how to use it properly (just like driving).

    Our rules are:
    *No internet usage without permission. Our school is a Apple 1:1 school, meaning all kids 6th-12th grades get a laptop. She must be in the family room or at the dining room table when she’s on the internet and, thankfully, the school advocated this rule.
    *No televisions in bedrooms.
    *No cell phones until teens.
    *My eldest has an ipod touch, but it has to be on the charger stand at bedtime. When we enter the cell phone stage, I will probably have all electronics left in the kitchen at night to charge. I know WAY too many kids who stay up too late texting when they are supposed to be sleeping. (And don’t get me started on what sleep deprivation is doing to teens in the U.S.)
    *I must have all passwords to email addresses (and social media, when we get to that point) and they know that I am free to log-in and check things out at any time.
    *We constantly talk about how to “act” when online/texting–never say anything that you wouldn’t say in person, be respectful, etc.

  35. says

    crazy huh? My daughter too, tried to come home with the request for a cell phone when she was in elementary school and I’ve never been one to give in to peer pressure so the answer was simply NO. She did get one as she was going into 7th grade. No unlimited plan either…and we get to view everything. Too many kids have too many techie gadgets and know all the latest Wii/Xbox games but don’t read well. We have Monday & TUesday no tv times in this house and my kids just got used to it. I think its better for them anyway.

  36. says

    Good to see so many people making a conscious effort to protect their children from the damage and potential horrors of being connected to the net.

    We have strict rules about screen-time and internet access and all things ‘techy’. As parents, we have to responsible for what we expose our children to, what we encourage them to do with their time and the values they grow up with.

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