Thing 1

The phone…it is my enemy

It seems there is an overwhelming majority of mothers-to-small-children in the blog-world as many people are there to speak up when I need help with toddler or baby dilemmas, but not so much with the pre-teen questions. But – I am begging you, if you’re out there – I need your help/advice now about LilZ. MY SON HAS A PHONE ATTACHED TO HIS HEAD AND I CAN’T SEEM TO REMOVE IT.

Oh. My. God. First, we have reached a little bit of territory where I have to preserve some information to avoid embarrassing my son to any level, but let’s just say he now has someone to talk to on the phone (wink…wink…) and he is talking to this person every hour of every day.

He is learning my long-standing rule of “Off the phone by 8pm on a school night and 9pm any other night” is a lot more restricting when you have someone to talk to who does not have the same limitations. Now, suddenly, this rule is questioned and he is…get this…asking for a cell phone. Like seeing him on the phone for the last 72 hours straight motivates me in any way to want to sign a contract forcing me to be responsible for paying for those minutes. I have told him he only gets a cell phone when it is something that will make my life easier. No sooner.

So – seriously. What are your phone rules for your talk-a-holic? What about cell phones? When do you give them to your child and how do you make sure they don’t end up costing you your home? And more importantly: How awesome in it to now have the leverage of: “If you don’t do [insert task here] there will be no more phone tonight!” I’ve never seen him take out the recycling so fast before in my life.

39 thoughts on “The phone…it is my enemy”

  1. Here’s a solution that worked for me (for all three kids when they were teens) …

    Get the cell phone. BUT, get the pay-as-you go variety. This accomplishes two things …

    1. They have to work extra chores to get the money to buy the minutes needed to keep the phone active.

    2. They only have as many minutes as they purchase and then … ding, ding, ding … no more minutes and no more phone.

    Now, with #2 … you have to be FIRM … use up your minutes … NO USING THE HOUSE PHONE.

    It teaches them responsibility in several areas … you get some valuable extra chores done on a regular basis (and make it worth your pain and suffering … don’t count taking the garbage out as a “real” chore). It teaches responsibility in time management … theirs.

    There was a lot of balking at first, but after a month, it worked out well for everyone.

    Oh, don’t get Tracphone. If you have Verizon, go with their plan or another provider. It’s easier.

    Good luck.

  2. I forgot to tell you … after about 5 months of this idea, we decided to get rid of the land line. It was cheaper to get 4 cell phones (you have to watch for the deals, like buy one get one free, or better buy one get 3 free).

    It was much easier in the long run, cheaper (most of our relatives live out of State, so we eliminated long distance calls because it’s free on nights and weekends), and when the kids ran out of minutes, it was MUCH easier to say, sorry, I’m not sharing my minutes!

    Have a good day!

  3. What javajabber said is EXCELLENT advice. I will say, though, that two of my co-workers have Tracphones and they are very happy with them. But, of course, that is a personal preference and really beside the point.

    I know this part is none of my business, BUT…I think lilZ is too young for a cell. But, that’s just me. I dragged (drug?) my feet about getting my then-14 year old one because I personally HATE cell phones. But, my husband convinced me..and grandma and grandpa bought and pay for it, so it’s not costing us anything. That’s what I get for having the first and most spoiled of all the grandkids. πŸ™‚

    I really don’t have a big problem with my daughter being on the phone a lot as long as it’s before bedtime and all homework and household chores are done. But, she’s 15 almost 16, so I think it’s a tad different.

    Hmm..I really didn’t add any advice here, so I probably should have stayed out of it. On that note…Good luck!

  4. I don’t have advice, but I will be watching this thread and taking notes for when my guys are older. Maybe talk to Jenn at Mommy Needs Coffee? She has a couple of older boys and writes a tween column for ClubMom

  5. My oldest is 20, my youngest is 10. The kids are not allowed to have cell phones until they start driving, because I feel its a safety thing then….and then, its a pay as you go….there is no need for them to have a cell phone until that time IMO. I always know where the 10 year old is and who he is with. If they need to make phone calls the land line is there for them to use and there are time limitations. There is absolutley NO NEED to sit and talk on the phone for hours. Of course they want the cell phone for text messaging, thats the more popular way of communicating. Phone and computer time are limited.

    Quite honestly , by the time we get home, eat dinner, do chores, homework its past 8:00 so there isnt alot of time for phone/computer.

  6. OH GOD! This is my near future? Brendan will be 11 in January.
    Hmm would i buy him a cell phone in a year.
    No.
    I would not. I would consider a pay as you go. But I would never be a stern enough to not let him use the house phone when his minutes were gone.
    I’m too soft for that.

  7. I don’t have a teenager but I am a firm believer in standing your ground. You are not being unreasonable. And if you are waffling over getting him a cell phone, this is what happened to my friend with a teen girl. She got her cell phone bill and there was $300 worth of text messages on it. Sure, her daughter followed the rules of not TALKING on the phone after Xtime, but still was texting into the wee hours of the morning. I say, no cell phone until he gets a job, then he can pay for it.

  8. Ahhh…I remember those days. And totally getting yelled at for hogging the phone. But Lisa up there may have an idea – instant messaging for a limited amount of time instead of the phone or cell phone. Although, if I had had instant messaging when I was a teen I don’t think I would have ever gotten away from the computer.

  9. I fought the whole “all my friends have a cell phone” for as long as I could till Girlscout (12) was in sports and had to call us from all her friends phones to find out transportation needs and stuff.. a few days later when Colorado had that shooting in the H.S., it was reported the kids were getting text messages to thier parents to let them know they were ok – I knew it was the stupidist reason to agree to getting the scouts phones but it was a good one none the less.

    the rule we have on the cell phones for the kids – it’s for emergencies. Period. And both of them have been good with that. Girlscout did put out $70.00 in text messages sending photos of herself and friends to her email and we nipped that real quick last night – but in general, her phone isn’t the gateway to local gossip with other teenagers.

    My rule of thumb is no phone-calls after 9 pm. I actually like your limit better, and will adopt it today. And I only allow 15 minutes at a time (that was my mom’s rule) per child. I’m not going to have the phone tied up all the time to the kids.

    Winded – yes. Helps – hope so. Now can you give me advice on computer usage? That’s where my problems are at hand!!

  10. A few suggestions:

    1) Not that you want to have a timer on the kid, but maybe you can restrict the amount of time he’s on the phone and extend the hours he’s allowed to use it (within reason). Also, just explain to him that you and Mr. Z and Nikki all want to spend time with him. You need his attention without a phone stuck to his head once in awhile. Remind him that you’re his family – you were around before this “person” and will be around if this “person” goes away. He needs to put in the work to maintain the relationships.

    2) If you decide to go with a cell phone – and seriously, many kids have them even younger, so it’s just matter of your preference – be careful about watching the bill. If you don’t get pay-as-you-go, the evening hours don’t deduct from the minutes, so… he could be on the phone all night long and you might not notice. Also,as Liv said, BEWARE OF TEXT MESSAGES. They add up. Fast.

    3) Disney has a phone that allows you to add or subtract minutes from his phone. What this means is that if he does a chore and earns 20 minutes, you can just add them. If he pisses you off and needs to be punished, you can take minutes away. He can only use the minutes you make available to him. I don’t have any experience with it, but…. it sounds like a good idea to me!

    Good luck. He’s a good kid – this will get resolved without much hassle, I’m sure.

    PS – Congrats on the race. I know this sounds weird coming from a stranger, but.. I’m proud of you!

  11. Love the pay-as-you-go idea!

    I work with teenagers all day, every day and my own is not quite a teenager, though she tries to act like one. At this point, my students without cell phones are in the minority. Last time we moved, we went cold turkey on the landline (no telemarketers EVER anymore!!) and have 3 cell phones. One is the “house” phone that we can send with the kiddo when she’s away from us or leave with a babysitter.

    You didn’t mention in this post what your house policy on IM is. I agree that it’s really hard to explain why one home’s rules are stricter than anothers. As the only one in my peer group who had curfew, I can tell you that I thank my mom NOW. I truly resented her THEN.

    And (just to make this comment longer!) CONGRATS on your race!!! I’m in training for a half marathon in January. You have inspired me!!!

  12. Ah…I so remember….I’m the mother of a 19 year old boy and a 21 year old boy. I have one communicator and one who is not. I like the policy you have now…no cell phone until i t makes your life easier…which will be fairly soon, I would imagine, and no phone after a certain time and make sure that homework and chores are done. There are boundries and boundries are important.

    I think the bottom line is that it will probably slow down some as time goes on…BUT, having said that, if you have a COMMUNICATOR, and it seems that you just might (you know, it IS inherited), then you might as well accept that this is what he does. You blog, he talks. You blog often, he talks often. Same thing, different form. In some ways, I think it is a good thing. My communicator still talks to ME as well…although not as often, and mainly when he is bored…but still, as a mother, it is wonderful to still know what is going on in your kids lives when they are as old as mine and it is their choice to do so!

  13. I’m only 26, so I remember the days of being on the phone all the time. My parents didn’t care how long I talked on the house phone, as long as I got my homework and household chores done. I had my own number, so this was not a conflict for calls that were coming through for my mom and dad. All my friends had AOL instant messenger, though, so I spent more time on the computer. My parents got me a cell phone when I started driving, and they paid for it. But it was really more of an “in case of emergency” type thing.

  14. Back in my day we didn’t have cell phones… but my parents were nice enough to get me my own phone line in the house so that I at least didn’t tie up their line all the time.

    Nowadays? I guess cell phones rule all… so the prepaid minute thing would be a good idea… but he’d most likely burn through those minutes way too fast and be bugging the crap out of you to get him more.

  15. Both my boys have cell phones and we restrict the numbers they are allowed to call and the minutes.
    They have them as a safety measure more than anything else and once the novelty of new phone wore off we didn’t have any trouble keeping minutes down.

    They know there is hell to pay if they abuse the phones. And the good thing about cell phones is the ability to repossess them. πŸ˜‰

    (My oldest had some serious trouble with the bus ride to school last year. He rides an hour each way. We wanted to make sure he could contact us.)

    Another bonus? They hate when I can call them at any time to tell them to come home from playing and do homework, etc. hahah. I think maybe they should have been careful what they wished for!

  16. Okay, now, I know technology is a GOOD thing and all, but being someone who’s in the predicament that can’t HAVE a cell phone (spotty, crappy coverage in general and NO coverage at my house, add to that you can roam into Canada in the blink of an eye and cost a fortune, no thank you!) I have no clue why the general population is so obsessed with cell phones. SERIOUSLY!

    Last November hubby and I went Christmas shopping a few hours away in a large city where we stayed overnight. Every store I popped into, I heard “ring ring” or something even more obnoxious like the opening to All My Children or something. When I’m out shopping I don’t want to be bothered! I dont want you to call and say “guess what…I rented Click to watch tonight! And so and so are coming over! And it’ll be really cool!” AND?! Yay, I’m happy for you, but I’m not calling you saying “Look, I found a red shirt for my mom…sweet, huh?!”

    I do agree with real emergencys, which is why when hubby or I go out of town (rarely) we always let people know which hotel we’re at and how to reach us, and we bring along a trackfone just in case we break down. But other then that? Unless you’re a frequent traveler (I mean you travel between states or have a job that requires that you visit 15 different houses in one day and you have to report back into your job) then I think cell phones really aren’t that big of a deal.

    And a pre-teen having one?! Please. When our 17 y/o nephew lived with us he had to jump through hoops just to have a phone installed in his room! If Lil’Z is seeing this person at school (which is 8 hrs a day at least) AND has their e-mail then there should be no reason to be on half the night. With my teenage nephew (before he’d earned his own phone) we’d say no phone calls after 7 (we did have a baby/child in the house) on weekdays and limit the calls to half an hour. Strict? Maybe…but parents who are being just buddies IMO are half the problem with kids now a days…we have to KEEP being parents as well as friends. And now that I’ve basically written a post worth, I’ll shut up LOL

  17. When I was a preteen and teen, I was on the phone constantly. My parents really didn’t say much about it.
    My stepdaughter is 12. She talks on the phone a little. I actually think it’s weird that she doesn’t talk more. But, every kid is different, I guess. We got her a cell phone last year. Yeah, she wanted one, but the reason we got it for her mother will not answer the phone or pass along phone messageto her when she’s staying there, so we got her the phone so we could talk to her while she was away. We put her phone on with our family plan, and we allotted her 100 minutes per month. If she goes over that, she has to pay the difference. She’s never gone over.

  18. Whatever big talker, I remember many a nights where you would sneak the phone into your room and talk ALL NIGHT LONG! Nice job trying to be all tough, but you’re still Jenny from the block…

  19. I may be in for a verbal beating here, as I think many of you may disagree, but… I say give the kid more phone privileges, not less.

    Obviously I don’t know you or LilZ, but if what you write here is accurate, he is a really, really good kid and a mature one, too. I think he’s old enough and smart enough to understand your reasons/concerns. So, if your concern is that giving him more phone usage will result in him not doing his homework (or not enough family time, or chores not getting done), TELL him that and ask him how he will avoid that issue. Let him be the one figure out how to alleviate your concerns. That way, if he suddenly starts slacking off on his homework, you can say, “You said you weren’t going to let this happen because you had a plan in place. You’re not following it so now I will be the one to make the plan.”

    Maybe this comes from my experience having horribly strict parents, but I think teenagers (and pre-teens) will make better decisions when they are allowed to think for themselves a little bit. If they have to think their way to a solution, they will be more likely to follow the guidelines since they have been the ones to come up with them.

    Oh, and I’m not saying that you should run out and buy him a cell phone, or allow him to spend all night on the house phone. I’m just saying that you should speak to him and work WITH him to come up with a solution.

    Good luck!

  20. My sister and I had this problem when we were teenagers not only with the phone but with the use of our dial-up internet. Imagine TWO kids online/tying up the phone all frickin day. To alleviate? I got my first phone when I was 12 but it was pre-paid minutes. I would take the money from my chores and give it to my mom each week to put on the phone. BUT the rules were that I couldn’t take the phone to school so I had to check it in each morning and then was allowed free range after school and weekends. I was still allowed some home phone use but it came with a price as well. I had so many “electronic use” hours during the day which included TV, phone, and computer. If I wanted to spend my three hours on phone time, I got no TV/computer time…so I had to time manage to get to do everything I wanted. And then I discovered the beauty of IM and none of my friends wanted to talk on the phone anymore. πŸ˜›

    I don’t think there should be an age limit on a cell phone. We live in a time where they are an integral part of our lives and its a great way to teach responsibility and work ethic.

  21. We got our oldest (13) a cell when he was 12 (on our Verizon plan) mostly because it is soooo easy to keep track of him.

    He’s at that age where he’s not just going to a friends house, they are riding bikes and hanging out, so he can call me (and I him) and let me know where he is. The safety issue is great too. If something happens, he can call.

    He also had his first girlfriend this last year, and if he talked to her at home, he has to use the house phone. No wasting cell minutes when he is sitting on his bed, and the land line is right next to him. No phone calls past 9 on school nights, 10 on weekends. Of course his first g-friend was a sneaky one. Not only would she call the house/his cell/my cell 20 times a day, she tried telling him to call her at 11 at night after we went to bed so I wouldn’t know. HAH…he ratted her out on that one!

  22. I have four kids, three that are already teens. Here’s the best advice I can give you.

    Don’t get him a cell phone until you absolutely have to. If you need him to have one to be able to reach him. Buy one and keep it with you unless you need him to have it.

    Once they have their own cell phone, things really change. You don’t know who they’re talking to, or when they’re talking to them. Oh, and the text messaging is another thing. That gets out of control and it’s all they do.

    Good luck over there. The teen years are trying, that’s for sure!

  23. Well I think there are lots of good ideas on this. My daughter is 10 and she, too, loves talking on the phone. Often it is just goofy stuff, but she can talk forever. I usually give her a 5 minute warning when she needs to get off, and I also don’t allow her to make calls past 8pm. She doesn’t have a cell phone right now because she is never somewhere that she wouldn’t have access to a phone, but we are considering getting one for “emergencies only”. It is so hard to know what to do with all of this, huh? I try to make the best decisions but it is hard! Good Luck! πŸ™‚

  24. October 2, 2006…

    “Another example? In high school, I tended to date guys who didn’t talk much. I always wanted to spend hours on the phone with them…” ~Zoot.

    It runs in the family. Just make sure he isn’t making lists up too.

  25. I have a teen girl (14). She has a similar rule. No calls in after 8pm (toddlars bed time) and must be off by 9 pm. She can be on the phone for hours. Her friends and her used to watch tv together over the phone. lol. She gets an hour of computer Tue, Wed, Sat and Sun. She dances the other 3 days.

    She wants a cell phone. We refuse until she drives. There really is no point in it. My aunt gave her a cell phone while we were on vacation and offered to pay for it. I refused and returned the phone. For my daughter (remember she watches tv over the phone with her friends) she is not self disciplined enough and there really is no need. All of her friends have phones and have had phones for a very long time.

  26. I don’t have a problem with the kids being on the land line (once homework and chores are done) as long as they answer the call waiting and I don’t miss any calls. My older step kids from Germany didn’t ever understand what the call waiting tone was and NEVER answered it! My younger two know our phone system better than I do (intercom features, etc…) We do not permit incoming phone calls from their friends after 10pm and no outgoing calls to their friends homes after 9pm.

    But, finally the time arrived when cell phones were requested. Holy Hell!

    1st teen’s 1st bill: $187 (boy 15)
    2nd teen’s 1st bill: $485 (girl 15)
    3rd teen’s 1st bill: $132 (boy 14)
    4th teen has no cell phone…yet.

    From my experience, the girls are the ones who “abuse” the phone plans. She went hog wild and I disconnected her phone and made her pay the early termination fee as well. It took her almost a year to pay it off, but I had to stand by my rules. She eventually got her own pay as you go phone and was literally throwing all of her Burger King earnings away with it. She has just turned 18 and has gotten her own cell phone plan for which she is 100 percent responsible for.

    1. Buy the highest text plan available, it is worth it the $6 per month. For some reason kids really would rather type to each other than speak.

    2. Set the rules…clearly and specifically. We wrote up “contracts” with each of the kids outlining exactly when they were allowed to use the phones and who would be responsible for any overages and the resulting action if the rules were not followed, as well as what would happen if the phone was confiscated at school for usage.

    3. School rules? Should they take then to school? Should they stay on during the day in quiet mode?

    It really irritates me that there are no phones on campus for a kid to use when he is at an afterschool event. The office staff frowns upon being asked to use the office phones! Cell phones are not permitted to be used during the day per campus policy, but may be used afterschool. I let my kids keep theirs on during the day in quiet mode. I also text them with messages that they will get when they check their phones at the end of the school day.

    Our high school had a situation last month where guns were reported to have been found on the campus in a plan to use them at the pep rally. My son texted me to go get him. So, I and 300 other parents were there to get our kids out of harms way. Now tell me I am the only one who thinks that cells just might be a good idea in certain situations.

    In this day and age, safety is the main reason I choose to let my kids have the cell phones. As with all other “privileges” they have to earn them and they run the risk of losing them if the rules are not followed.

    I am glad that kid #1 and #2 are now on their own and on their own plans. #3 is currently out of minutes!! #4 still isn’t into cells, he’d much rather pitch a tent in the back yard and camp out without all the electronics.

  27. Can I speak up as the girl who has probably most recently been the teenager here?

    I talked on the land line All. The. Time. when I was in late elementary through early high school. I had “friends” at school that were hard to get around and I needed one on one time with my *real* friends. As long as my dad wasn’t on call (he’s a cop) and my homework was done, I had the limit of an hour at a time (if my dad was on call the limit was 5 minutes. harsh, but understandable). Cut off was always an hour before bed time, whenever my bed time happened to be. Still, it was never “only an hour” it was an hour at a time… my parents were pretty leniant about it because I was a pretty well behaved kid otherwise.

    I didn’t get a cell phone until Christmas of my senior year. I never really felt like I even needed one before then. When I was at school, everyone who would call me was there too. When I was in activities, I couldn’t answer the phone anyway. When I was at home, the phone was there. Now, I don’t really think I could possibly live without my phone… but being in college is a totally different thing. My parents are still paying for my phone as a part of their family plan, but any extra charges I incur, I owe them. I think that’s a fair plan for any kid whose parents are paying for their phone.

    My brother has a cell now too–got his last Christmas when he was 16, but his phone is strictly for use in emergencies (his truck is not exactly reliable) and for calls to family members (since those calls are always free.) Otherwise, he’s restricted to the land line.

  28. I have a 15 yeaar old daughter and these are her phone rules:
    House phone: If the phone rings after 8:30 (toddler bed time), the phone gets taken away for 3 days. I tell all her friends this so they really get the picture. She has to be off the phone by 9:30. Any calls to me or her father get priority. No phone until homework & chores are done.
    Cell phone: We have a family plan & have told her she gets 200 minutes a month (enough for emergencies or quick calls). For every minute she goes over, she has to pay us ten cents. We actually have a ridiculously high number of minutes so it never costs us anything, we just don’t want her on the cell all the time.
    If she does something that requires punishment, the phone is the first thing that goes.

  29. Man, I’m glad you raised this issue, Zoot. As you know, Finn and LilZ are about the same age, and I’ve also been getting hints about a cell phone. I’ve resisted so far and I think I’ll continue to resist a while longer, but the pay as you go minutes coming out of his pocket sounds like what we’ll seriously consider when the time comes.

    I can’t believe we’re to this point.

    And now, off to stock up on more OxyClean and Right Guard!

  30. We’re pretty strict, but our rule is 2 hours of “electronics” (Video game/phone/tv/computer) per day and that’s it. You can spend your whole two hours on the computer, but then you aren’t watching tv that night.

    I agree that kids don’t need a cell phone until they are driving.

  31. Now with all the new cell phone limitations my son who is only eleven has one. We programed in four numbers our cells, home and 911. Any other calls he is punished and pays for them. As far as phone at home-keep to your 8pm rule and let the kids calling after 8 know your rule so they won’t call.

  32. My kids are grown, 23 and 20. They didn’t get cell phones until they were driving (for my peace of mind, for safety, etc)and had jobs to pay for them. Here you can drive alone at 16, and they both had part time jobs by then to pay for their own gas money and cell phones. I can’t think of any reason at all that kids younger than that would need a cell phone. If the amount of time he’s on the phone bugs you now, wait until he can talk from ANYWHERE! I had rules similar to yours regarding phone use.

    Certainly your rules may be more strict than some of his friends, but that’s just the way it’s going to be for him from now on……there’s always going to be some friend that has a later curfew, is allowed to “date” younger, get pierced, tattooed, etc. It’s one of those “suck it up buttercup” moments, of which there will be many!

  33. Well I tried to think back to my talking on the phone 24/7 days and Igot a nasty flashback that involved stirrup pants and I think the cell phones were bigger than the land line phones back then so who wanted to carry that around! I think the only rule my parents had for me was that if the call waiting beeped I had to hang up my call and give the phone to whoever was being called. Other than that I don’t think I had time limits or anything. I got a cell when I was 16, but it stayed in the car and I could only make short calls ( like maybe 2 minutes) on it. I think it really depends on what your problem is, are you worried that he is spending too much time doing one thing that is not all that productive or do you want your phone to not be tied up?

  34. when i was a phone-crazy teen (i’m 23 now), i could talk on the phone until “bedtime,” and i of course had to give it up if there was a beep for one of my parents. i got a cellphone when i got a car, and used it only for checking in/emergencies, until college when it became my main phone for everything. in ninth grade, i got my own phone line for christmas that i could talk on until my bedtime – i had to share it with my brother a couple years later.
    These rules worked for us…they are pretty lenient but my parents were really strict in other areas. if my phone rules had been more strict i probably would have ripped my hair out (or, you know, rebelled in other ways), but because that one area was lenient but ironclad in its rules, when i got caught breaking those i could never really complain…
    if your main concern is the amount of time spent on the phone versus with the fam, i would change the phone curfew time and limit the amount of time to talk. in my opinion a cellphone is absolutely necessary once a kid is driving and totally not before then.
    that’s just my take on the situation.

  35. I do not agree wit the Pre-paid phone plans mentioned above just because they are such awful deals minutes wise.

    Personally, I would get him one of those VOIP phones, and hook him up with AOL Phoneline or Skype (Skype has free outgoing calls until the end of the year).

    AOL is a flat $9.95 per month, he gets his own phone number, and can chat away without tying up the house phone.

    I have to admit, I am not a big fan of kids less than 16 having a cell phone. I am old fashioned and a bit out of touch in that way I guess. But until that time, I don’t plan on allowing my daughter to be anywhere that I am not aware of.

    As to the phone on the ear at all times. Yeah, it happens to all of them. As long as homework and chores are done, I would allow it (like somebody else said) until bed time. Afterall… (again providing everything else that needs to be done is), it is better (I think) to intereact with another human being (even if it is over the phone) than it is to sit mindlessly in front of the television (which is what he would most likely be doing otherwise).

  36. My daughter walks about 35 mins to get to school, and I have to leave for work about an hour before she heads out, so we got her a phone in Grade 9. She uses it to contact people for locations or rides, we’ve stressed that it’s not for conversations but connections and that has worked out pretty well.

    As for the house phone, it’s been an issue off and on, but most of her friends prefer MSN to the phone. The rules for both are pretty similar though:

    Homework first.
    Chores second
    Socialization when both are done.

    Friends need to know to NOT call after 9pm, but as long as she’s already showered and ready for bed, she can stay on a call up until bedtime at 10. If the call waiting beeps you MUST NOT IGNORE IT.

    Basically as long as her responsiblities are taken care of, and her being on the phone doesn’t make it impossible for the rest of the household it’s okay

  37. well I know I should have commented on this yesterday but I’m going to share it today anyways…

    I’m fifteen and I have a cell phone. I never thought I would get one but just this past summer my dad decided that I needed one because he had just got one and realized how horrible his life would be without it. So he got me a really nice phone and put me on his plan. We share 1400 minutes and I have 1000 text messages per month, after which I hear they can really start to bring up the price but I wouldn’t know because I only use about 300-400 minutes a month and I don’t text very much. I do like texting more than talking but few of my friends can text on their phones because they aren’t allowed because of the price.

    I think my case is a little extreme, but I don’t take advantage of the amount of freedom I have. Before I got my phone I had used some different pay-as-you-go phones in the past, but having used them I consider them to be crap. It’s a lot more expensive than a phone plan in my opinion, because you don’t get very many minutes at all for the price. It’s a lot of hassle too. That was a few years ago that I used them but I eventually stopped because I really didn’t need a cell except for when i needed my mum to come get me from someplace. As I’ve gotten older my social life has definitely expanded and I do NEED my phone. It’s nice to not have to borrow other people’s cell phones anymore. I have never had any restrictions on the land line at all though. If I ever did something wrong I think my phone would probably be among the first things to be taken away. It’s just funny to me though, because it punishes mum as well- she can’t get ahold of me when she wants to.

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