Q:My 9-year-old daughter is begging for a cell phone because all her friends have them. I don’t want her to feel left out, but I honestly don’t know what she would do with a cell phone. Help!
Sometimes being a parent means that you have to be the parent. Do you have everything else your friends have? Do you take all the same vacations your friends take? Do you drive the same car your friends drive? Probably not.
A cell phone is more than just a fancy little gadget in your daughter’s pocket. It’s a responsibility that comes with monthly charges and, realistically speaking, a new sense of secrecy associated with texting. But beyond that, you’ve pretty much answered your own questions. If you don’t know why your daughter needs a cell phone, chances are she probably doesn’t.
That’s not to say that no child should ever have a cell phone. Some parents want their child to have a phone because there’s no landline in the home and the child spends time alone during the day. Other parents want their child to carry a phone because he or she takes public transportation without adult supervision. Sometimes noncustodial parents want their child to have a cell phone to use for contact between parent and child. Those are all valid reasons for a child having a cell phone. But giving her a cell phone just because her friends all have them? Not so much.