Monday, December 5, 2011

Why do 9 yr olds need cell phones?

So I think that is a pretty good question. Actually come to think of it no, it is not a good question. Why are we asking this question at all, why are we even considering it? You may now prepare yourselves for a rant by Ben. Having recently attended several cultural events I have noticed again something that began to strike me on my mission and especially after I got home. Why do small children need cell phones? Having grown up in the era of cell phone development and followed it closely I can tell you that small children, and, in fact, teenagers do not need cell phones of their own.
Now don't get me wrong, I have been using cell phones since the days of the Commando Walkie-Talkie phones, at which point I was a very young boy. But I didn't have my own phone until I went to college, despite the fact that I would have liked one very much. I had a tracphone in high school that I shared with my brothers and sisters, but I like to pretend it was mine. So I do understand that sometimes even young children need the use of a cell phone. But their own phone? why in the world? Aside from safety or communication with parents when they are out with a group I can not think of a reason. Everyone should note that in order to fulfill that reason a child needs only the most basic of cell phones for occasional use. The don't need texting in order for that purpose to be fulfilled, and they don't need internet, and they don't need cameras, and they don't need anything a smartphone does. So, if you are making the argument that kids need cellphones for safety, but they have all this other stuff your argument is ridiculous and you need to rethink it. There are plenty of options out there to give kids the safety without giving them all these functions they don't need. Fireflys, Jitterbugs, and basic tracphones are all useful alternatives. Kids don't need to be in constant communication with their friends or be online. Parents should really be moderating that kind of communication and activity anyway. And then kids would not be on their cellphones at cultural events being annoying to other people.
As I've previously advocated, parents need to be more informed about their children's use of electronics. Parents may not know how to use all the functions on a smart phone so they may be unaware of the dangers of handing one to their child. And when children do have to use cellphones instruct them in proper etiquette of how and when to do so appropriately (of course this only works if the parents practice this themselves).
So there's my rant for the week, hope you all have a good one.

"now, go do the right thing" Dr. Laura

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