“Hi, this is Giana,” she said Valley girl-style. “Do you want to go out with me?”
I looked in the rear-view mirror to discover that girl’s voice was coming from our team’s goalie, a fearless and good-sized boy who scares the heck out of every team we play. He was making prank phone calls to his friends, first as a girl in search of a date, then as a Pakistani pizza delivery man and finally, as Jackie Chan.
Look out, Saturday Night Live 2021.
For a moment, I considered making him stop. I mean, if he was calling from my home phone, I would tell him to knock it off. But then I figured that if his parents gave him a cell phone, they must think he’s responsible enough to handle it. So I sat back and enjoyed his impressions all the way to the game.
Now I am faced with whether I should get my own kids cell phones, and I’m having a hard time coming up with a good reason to slip new phones into their Christmas stockings.
I had figured that my sixth grader would need a cell phone when he started playing soccer on the middle school team, but thanks to budget cuts, there is no middle school team. Instead, he’s on the travel team, and I am the coach. If he needs to call me, he can just shout down the sidelines.
Besides, when it comes to cell phones, I believe in Herd Immunity — the theory that vaccinated children will protect non-vaccinated children from diseases. I believe that it works with cell phones, too, so that when kids are out in a group, somebody’s bound to have a phone. I know that the kids on my soccer team borrow my phone several times a week (even our goalie, who didn’t have his last week.)
That’s not to say that other kids don’t need cell phones. My niece has had one for years, but her parents are divorced, and she has varying schedules and carpools. I know kids who have them because they’re on sports teams with practices and games that end at odd times.
But then, there’s Giana. And Jackie Chan. And a car-full of Cub Scouts who took pictures of their nostrils and e-mailed them to friends two years ago while I wondered if I should stop them. (No, I didn’t. See above: responsibility, parents.)
I mentioned to my kids that perhaps it’s time for cell phones. My sixth grader was thrilled with the idea. My seventh grader said, “Really Mom. We don’t need them.”
So maybe I’ll wait a year. Or maybe I’ll get an emergency phone they can take when they go out — one without texting or a camera. As long as Giana doesn’t have the number, it’s fine with me.
Share, share: Do your kids have phones? Why or why not?
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