WFMW: Family Phone

Well. I’ve gone and done it.

I’ve did something I said I would NEVER DO. Don’t you just love it when you have to eat your words.

(They taste like chicken).

I have said for years that I would never ever get my kids a cell phone before they were driving.

I just think it’s crazy how young kids are with phones and nice phones at that.

But then I got a sixth grader  and within 12 hours of being in “middle school” it dawned on me that my daughter was going to be in situations where she needed me. And more importantly, where I needed to connect with her (band practices, lessons, etc).

But since we still feel like she’s too young for her own phone and don’t want all the headaches that come with that much freedom, we opted for a family cell phone.

Our family cell phones stays at home and is only used when we drop off our daughter for an extracurricular school or church event. Or if she is a mother’s helper across the street, or I run and get a sweet tea and leave her in charge for 7.5 minutes, etc.

We were able to just add a line to our existing contract for $10 a month, so it was a cheap solution.

It gives her a small amount of freedom she craves and keeps me from worrying.

It works for us!



Comments

  1. says

    We did the same thing, for the same reason last year. I have no regrets. $10 is worth the piece of mind, and by laying down explicit rules we’ve had no problems. I’m certainly not letting my middle schoolers have unrestricted access, but when my son went to high school we allowed him to have his own. He’s in Drivers Education now. YIKES!

  2. says

    Yup, my husband got my daughter one for her 10th birthday (sneaked off to the Sprint store while I was icing the cake) and I was totally against it. But now? I love that she has it. She’s 14 and went to homecoming the other night with some of her friends. I was able to GPS locate her and make sure she didn’t leave the area. Sneaky? Yes. Do I have reason to distrust her? Not at all….well, except that I was once 14. ;)

  3. says

    We also got our almost-11-year-old middle schooler a cellphone several weeks ago. During this time in the Philippines, we get many typhoons and classes are often suspended. In this case, our daughter needs to call us to pick her up earlier than usual.

    Rina

  4. says

    Yes, when my children go biking, or to a part time job, or just away for a while I loan them my phone. It gives me a lot of peace of mind, and they’re OK with it.

    Thanks for hosting again!

  5. says

    My son is only 6, so I don’t have to worry about cell phones for a couple of years. I’ll probably wind up getting him one for the reasons you mention. The world has gotten so crazy that giving a pre-teen a cell phone is necessary for safety reasons.

  6. Angie says

    I’m just wondering what company you have gone through to have a landline with additional cell phone? That would totally work for our family – but I have never heard of it being offered. Can you pass on the name of the company? Pretty please! :-)

  7. says

    We have a family cell phone too. My oldest takes it when she is at a marching band competition so she can let me know when she gets back. My philosophy is that if they want a cell phone of their own, they need to get a job so they can pay for it :) Otherwise, the family phone works just fine.

  8. says

    Thank you for hosting! This week I have shared the following seasonal farm-to-table recipes that promote the benefits of good health through nutrition from eating fresh unprocessed seasonal produce:

    mung bean & pea shoot salad
    http://theintentionalminimalist.blogspot.com/2011/10/mung-bean-pea-shoot-salad.html

    basil, turnip & quinoa salad
    http://theintentionalminimalist.blogspot.com/2011/10/basil-turnip-quinoa-salad.html

    fall bright-n-spicy salad
    http://theintentionalminimalist.blogspot.com/2011/10/fall-bright-n-spicy-salad.html

    Happy cooking!
    The Intentional Minimalist

  9. says

    I was one of those moms who rolled her eyes at the middle schoolers with cell phones . . . until I had a middle schooler. My boys are seven years apart, so the youngest didn’t even have to put up a fight to get his. He rarely uses it, and it’s more about peace of mind for me than anything else, since practices, meetings, etc ALWAYS seem to run early or late anymore. But even though my eldest will be twenty soon both just have basic phones – no internet access. So I still do some eye-rolling over the twelve-year-olds with iPhones!

  10. says

    When my oldest son was doing football, we got him a pay as you go phone in case he needed to call us. He didn’t use it very much, and it gave us peace of mind. He’s not terribly active socially as a high schooler though that may change. I would definitely do the pay as you go again unless adding a second line was a cheaper option.

  11. says

    I said the same thing Kristen, but ended up getting my two older (ages 17 and 12) daughters a phone to share. It’s as plain (no camera, no internet, no games or music and no texting) as possible. Whoever is “out” takes it with them and in the event that they’re both out at the same time, the other kid can usually borrow mine or their dad’s. It’s a matter of convenience and a tool for everyone to stay connected and safe- not a toy to obsess over.

  12. says

    My boys (9 and 12) share a phone and it works out great!! Like you it is linked to our phone plan, so it’s not expensive. They’ve even gotten really creative and used their phones (the camera part) to make stop motion videos! I have no regrets.

  13. says

    We did the same thing. The phone goes with the child that will be on his own somewhere (just my older 2 for right now). it works out really well – when we can find the phone, but that is another story.

  14. says

    This is a lot more sensible than getting her her own phone, but I have to wonder: Do her school, church, and neighbor’s house not have telephones??? I don’t have a cell phone, and it’s really very rare for me to end up in a place where there isn’t a land line phone I can use, and when that does happen it’s almost always possible to borrow someone else’s cell phone.

    Thanks again for hosting WfMW! It brings me great traffic, and I’ve found so many good ideas and well-written blogs by clicking on some of the links each week.

  15. says

    We did the same thing and it worked for us! Now they are 15 and 17 and have their own phones. Still very strict with use and we monitor them and their usage. But it sure does give us peace of mind knowing they can contact us or get help when they are away from us:-)

  16. Krista says

    We did the same thing. We added texting, as well. I just made sure that my phone had a keyboard, and they had to use the number keypad, so I could keep up with their texting speed! :)

  17. says

    I never thought of this! My step-daughter just turned 11 and we feel she is also too young for a phone however both her dad and I only have cell phones. There is no landline in the house. I’m currently off on maternity leave so I’m around most days but for future occasions it would be the perfect solution. She currently doesn’t spend much/any time as the only one in the house but I can definitely see that happening in the not-so-distant future.

  18. Sharon says

    It drives me crazy to be waiting outside the elementary school for my son and see tons of kids walk out and pull out a phone. Some of these kids are 6-7 years old!! That’s insane. We got both of our older kids their own cell phone when they were 13. At our intermediate school (Jr. High) the 6th graders aren’t allowed to be in sports or a lot of other extracurricular activities so it wasn’t bad that year, but by 7th grade they were more involved. It has worked out very well to let them have that access and ability to contact me when they need something. And my 10 yo knows not to aske for one because he won’t get one before he’s 13.

    Now if I could just get my daughter to remember to take hers with her. I guess I need to get her more pants with pockets! LOL! She doesn’t take her purse with her regularly and won’t take her phone if she doesn’t have pockets to put it in. Crazy child!

  19. says

    We’ll be doing that soon. We don’t have a land line. So, when we start having our oldest babysit the others we will not have a phone at the house. We’ll be buying a family phone that mostly stays here. It is great that it is cheap and really easy to limit features.

  20. Rebecca says

    Our family has had the policy to let each child get his own phone when entering high school, but truthfully, it would have been very convenient to have it sooner. It’s not just about them being able to call you; it’s about you being able to contact them or simply to connect with them at any time. The ability to use today’s technological tools is an important if not necessary skill. My smart phone is like a portable office–calendar, email, address book, to do list, document editor, etc. This will be even more true for tomorrow’s generation. One feature I find very useful with Verizon is the ability to suspend all service for a line at a moment’s notice. We don’t have to wrestle a cell phone from a child’s grasping claw; to ground her from her phone, all I have to do is log in and click a couple of buttons. I think there are also ways to automatically suspend phone service during certain hours.

  21. says

    I was very against getting our oldest (he’s 20) a cell phone until I couldn’t get in touch with him one afternoon and didn’t know where he was. He was going to be a freshman in high school and I decided that my peace of mind was worth $10 a month. I caved much earlier with my daughter because I realized how wonderful it was to have them available at all times, especially because I work about 30 miles from home. However I won’t pay for internet service for my daughter. My son has it but he pays for it, I don’t think they need to be connected to the internet 24/7.

  22. says

    We were JUST talking about this. Our girls are 10, 9, and 5, and we have no landline. I don’t feel like I can leave them for even a little bit w/o a way to get in touch with me.

  23. says

    I feel like I am always defending our decision to get our girls cell phones. Like you that extra $10 each month is worth the piece of mind. Today my youngest son came home from school earlier, and my daughter texted us from the bus because he wasn’t on it (they go to different schools but ride the same bus). Luckily, we knew where he was but if he had missed the bus for some reason or something was wrong that quick heads up could have been HUGE.

  24. says

    Kristen,

    We did the exact same thing just a few weeks ago. My daughter is the same age as yours and is more and more becoming involved in activities that take her away from home for an extended period of time. That coupled with the fact that we were disconnecting our land line, which we only had because we used DSL internet and switching to cable Internet meant that there was no longer a home phone that could be used in emergencies (since at any give time my phone or my husband’s phone could be anywhere and not always in a central location.) When our daughter is away from home for extracurricular activities, the “extra” phone is with her. Otherwise, it stays in one place in our house where it can always be accessible. It works for us, too!

  25. Melinda P says

    I always thought if my kids needed a phone before I was ready to actually give them a phone, I would get them Fireflies (cellphones that can only call a few select numbers that you pre-program in). I’d be fairly okay with a younger child having one of those. But you’re idea is pretty good too (and probably much cheaper).

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