Have cell phone, will ignore parents
We gave Olivia a smartphone for her birthday. Of course, she'd been asking for years.
Some classmates and friends got their cell phones in third grade. By fourth, she was one of the only ones without one.
While listening to NPR, I learned about a national push asking parents to not get their children a smartphone until eight grade. Wait Until 8th cautions, "Smartphones are distracting and potentially dangerous for children yet are widespread in elementary and middle school because of unrealistic social pressure and expectations to have one."
It makes a smart - pun intended - argument to NOT give kids one too soon. "Playing outdoors, spending time with friends, reading books and hanging out with family is happening a lot less to make room for hours of snap chatting, instagramming, and catching up on You Tube," reads the website. We agree.
Yet, we gave in. Again, the group sums up our feelings perfectly: "Parents feel powerless in this uphill battle and need community support to help delay the ever-evolving presence of the smartphone in the classroom, social arena and family dinner table."
We gave her a tablet, which tided her over for a year, but then the requests started anew when she realized in fifth grade that she couldn't text the friends who weren't on her OS (iPhone vs. Android.) She is the last one of her friends - and it seems, anecdotally, classmates - to get a phone.
We have been monitoring her iPad habits and she's been pretty good. That, and she has learned to keep better track of her things over the last year.
She's been a good girl and we decided she earned it. She was pretty thrilled.
We have rules limiting screen time and place of use, and she already preempted a lecture from us by saying up front, "I'm guessing the rules for the iPad apply to the phone?" Yes.
Now, we had tentative plans for her birthday to go out and do various things, but I already predicted (correctly) that would go out the window once she opened the box. We usually limit tech time, but for her birthday, we let her go hogwild for the day.
What I didn't predict was the speed at which she would get her first call: approximately three minutes.
Claus and I looked at each other and laughed. "I guess we'll see you in a week then?" we called after her. No answer.
We feel like analog relics from another time.