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Cell phones for Tweens and young Teens
what is the bottom line
In today's world, it is almost impossible to avoid getting your teens and tweens cell phones. I put it off as long as possible more on principal than any other reason. I kept telling them that it was a luxury that they did not need. However, now that the boys have their phones, I find them an excellent tool. I am able to ask questions of them at any given time and they must follow the rule and answer me promptly. Their dad and I are top priority on their cell list, we MUST be responded to when we text or call, no letting that call go to voicemail unless it is unavoidable. Then it must be returned as soon as possible.
After careful research, we choose the pay as you go route. This of course does not allow for unlimited texting and sending of pictures and videos. The boys must budget their money and use accordingly. At first there was some disappointment and embarassment. They did not want to tell their friends that they had to pay for their texts and that they could not text indefinitely as most of the other kids did. There were setbacks, there were unnecessary text messages send and answered, money wasted, limits set, unhappy moments to endure when they were told they had to spend their own money to replenish the card since they had gone through the minutes too quickly.
Now, several months after the initial purchase of the phones, all is well in our home. We chose Verizon as our pay as you go phones simply because we carry a Verizon plan on our phones, as do most of our family member. This way, the Grandparents, aunts, uncles and parents can call the boys at no extra cost to them. Likewise any friends who carry Verizon also have unlimited calls to our sons. The text messages come on a daily basis, like most kids these days, but they are limited. Our sons will not forward messages that come to them stating that they should send to ten other people. They delete those knowing they are ridiculous, a waste of time and money. They usually tell their friends that they do not accept those messages so please do not send them. They do not participate in silly texting, they will get together with a friend to talk or call them on the home telephone instead.
In short, the pay as you go phones have worked to our benefit. Our sons have learned the value of the cellphones. They take good care of them. They look as clean as they did they day we purchased them. They monitor their calls and their minutes. They know they are responsible for unnecessary minutes spent. They do not download games or purchase ringtones unless they know they can pay for them. It has been a lesson for them. They are not the kids that are sitting at a table addicted to their telephones, texting non stop. They like to text as other kids do, but they are able to draw the line. They do not take and send pictures and videos to bother and upset others, as many teens have done in the past. These teens do not understand the consequences of their actions because they have never been held accountable for anything they do.
Ahhhh...there it is, I said it. The true reason our sons have pay as you go cellphones. The lesson of accountability. It is a lesson so seldom learned in our world today. This is why we are in the shape we are in. This is why we are in terrible despair. Lack of accountability. Okay, so we can't change the world by making our three kids accountable when so many other parents are not making their kids accountable for ANYTHING: their homework, their behavior, how they treat others, how they dress, paying for what they want by working for it, even passing the tryouts for a team is something many parents think they can pay for rather than have their child work for it. Maybe we can't change everyone by making three kids accountable, but I know that we are not alone. Many parents have their eyes open. We are all looking ahead, we are hoping for a better tomorrow, one small step at a time.