Tag Archives: phones

person holding and taking selfie using a smartphone

Does my fifth grader “need” a smartphone?

My oldest will soon be 10 years old, and, with each year, he is becoming one of fewer and fewer kids his age with their own phone. He has known children with smartphones since he was in Kindergarten, and has expressed interest in one ever since.

Before he was nine, I wouldn’t even address the question of getting him a phone. I believe (and still do), he had no valid reason for having one, and trusted that he was always with a reliable individual (whether a teacher, relative or activity leader), who had access to a phone and my information should he ever be in trouble.

Still, I understand the desire to want to enable our kids to be able to reach us if/when they are in trouble or scared. My son is growing more independent, and if a phone could help ease some of my worries and allow him to do more on his own, it may not be a terrible solution.

This thought occurred to me last month, when my son wanted to march in our town’s Homecoming Parade with the Middle School. When I dropped him off, there was no clear adult in charge (though there were some present), and it was a loud chaotic mess of teens, floats and excitement.

I hesitated and asked my son if he wanted to stay. He said he did, and though I felt concerned about his welfare, I agreed, got back in my car and drove off to meet my husband and our seven-year-old with whom I’d be watching the parade.

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Five reasons why my kids can’t touch my phone


I have nothing against screen time. I believe if the pioneers had invented Facebook, their kids would be playing Farmville, instead of, well, farming. Technology isn’t a scourge on modern childhood, it just is modern childhood. But, as much as I don’t sweat hours spent watching TV, or how many dollars I’m contributing to some YouTube kid’s college fund, there’s one device in our house which is hands off: my smartphone.

Sure, my preschooler manages to get his sticky, peanut-butter-or-some-other-mysterious-substance-covered paws on my phone on occasion. The lock screen baffles him, and after a few failed attempts to get inside, and no budging from me, he gives up and goes right for my husband’s phone (which isn’t locked. Seriously. I don’t get it either). My phone is always on lockdown. I’m even thinking of beefing up security with a retina scan and blood sample.

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