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Who gives a 7 year old a cell phone?

July 7, 2009

P’s has been having a couple of friends come over during the summer for play dates and sleepovers. Since I am home all day and we don’t have that many plans, when I let her invite someone over I usually plan on her asking if her friend can spend the night. We have gone over phone manners since she started talking to daddy and her grandmas on the phone. Now that I know she uses proper phone ettiquette and her brothers bother her when she is trying to talk on the phone, I let her take the phone into her room to talk. She has earned that small right in the phone battle that I am sure will ensue through her high school days. A cell phone is still a ways off.

One of her friends called yesterday. I don’t let the kids answer the phone unless it is daddy, which they know from the ringtone. The number came up as unknown. I answered, “hello?” Caller responded with a hello, as one might give to a store employee. I did not recognize the voice from the short hello and with the kids jabbering in the kitchen by me I didn’t even realize if it was an adult or a child. I asked hello again after the unnatural pause only to be responded with another ‘hello’ and nothing else. At that point I realized the caller must be one of the P’s friends. The back and forth hello’s would go on forever had I not questioned the identity of the caller; it happened before. It happens every time this friend calls our house, and it is starting to irk me. This little girl is actually a year older than P’s and by now should know proper phone ettiquette. I then gave P’s the phone to talk about the details of their play date. Her friend arrived an hour later to stay for the afternoon and overnight.

As soon as she got here the cell phone came out. I saw it as I passed the girls playing and talking in P’s room. It was like a new toy for the friend complete with games on the phone. Great! P’s has already been asking about having a phone in her room, which will never happen, and now her friend has a cell phone. I know we are only a couple of years out from getting her one, and she is responsible enough to have one, I am not ready for a bunch of 7 and 8 year olds to start calling my phone whenever they please to talk with P’s. I was especially upset to see this friend with a cell phone. She has the worst phone manners and is the most irresponsible of P’s friends. She toted her phone around like it was a doll and not an expensive piece of equipment, letting it fall on the floor and almost be lost under the couch.

I have come up with a few requirements for P’s before she can even think about asking for a cell phone.

1. Use proper phone ettiquette all of the time.

2. Memorize all important phone numbers: mom, dad, police, etc.

3. Always keep our current electronics put away when not in use: wiimotes, dvd players, cd’s, dvd’s, etc.

4. Have a need for a cell phone beyond the desire to call friends or talk to friends on the phone.

I know P’s will be responsible when we do decide it is time for her to have a phone. I am just really irked that her friend’s parents have not instilled a sense of responsibility in their child before getting her a cell phone. It is only one area I have noticed in irresponsible parenting. This particular friend is also quite bossy, invites herself over without asking permission from her parents or being invited, pesters the boys a bit when she should be playing with P’s and already plays mind games like ‘I will not be your friend or I will be mad at you if I have to help clean or I don’t get to use the toy or plate I want.’ I can already tell P’s gets upset and annoyed with her and if they are not in the same class next year we may not see this friend again.

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