HMU or txt me when we get on the playground K
A recent survey done in Massachusetts stated that twenty-percent of 3rd grade boys and eighteen-percent of 3rd grade girls own cell phones. Yep. Twenty percent. That basically translates to about five kids in each classroom, folks. FIVE.
When I was in third grade, I didn’t even fathom the prospect of having a corded, rotary-dial telephone in my room. Cell phones were suit-case sized monstrosities that only CEOs and the like carried in their car. They were much too cumbersome to take anywhere else. When I was in third grade, the going thing was whether or not you owned an Atari system, or, better yet, A Cabbage Patch Doll. Incidentally, I never owned one of those. I got a bike that Christmas, instead.
I owned my first cell phone in 1998. It was a prepaid Nokia 5110 with local-only service through TMobile. I was twenty-four. I bought a matching one for my then-boyfriend. He was twenty-six. It was his first cell phone, also.
Fast forward to the other night. It was our first Scout meeting of the year. Knowing that my daughter now owned an Ipod and a Nintendo DS, I opted to make it clear to my 1st to 5th grade girls on the troop that electronic devices would not be allowed during the meetings as they present a distraction. At that moment, two of my scouts, both third-graders, pulled out their (coincidentally) identical cell phones and said “What about these??” I was floored. “We need them to call our moms when wer’re done with scouts,” one explained. Still unsure how to answer, I told the girl to keep it in her pocket at all times.
Of course, that didn’t happen.
“Do you want to see a picture of my boyfriend?” one asked me later, flashing me a photo of a young child, barely older than her. “Here’s one of my kitty,” the other girl said, showing me her flip phone.
I couldn’t and still cannot grasp it. I didn’t want to confiscate them because I was too stunned at the idea that two girls my daughter’s age owned cell phones.
I was sure to let the parents know (also, I wanted to see what they would say..) that I prefer not to have the phones in the meetings as they’re a distraction and that scouts is done at the exact same time each night we meet. Both parents said that the daughters weren’t even supposed to have the phones with them that night. Well… they did.
Now, these two girls are actually the second and third third-graders from (hopefully coincidentally) the same elementary school that I know of with cell phones. Is it a fad going around that particular elementary school? What purpose would a third-grader have in owning a cell phone? So that the parent can call them and tell them to come home? Back in my day, my mom would just call the mom of my friend and have that mom send me home. Is it so your third-grader can call you and tell you where they are? Why do you as a parent need to question where your eight or nine-year old is? Shouldn’t you know? I know I am aware of where my child is all the time. If she’s playing outside, I can hear her the whole time. If she’s at a friend’s house, I’ll call that child’s mom and have them send her back home (which is no more than four houses away, ever).
Can someone shed some light on this? What is your opinion? What IS the right age to give a child a cell phone?