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The never-ending question: kids and cell phones

At no point in the foreseeable future do I see this question going away. When should a kid get a cell phone? Clearly, there’s not a single, concrete answer. It just pains me, you know, to see a 10-year-old with a cell phone in hand. I dunno, I guess it has to do with youthful innocence or something. Anyway, Terri Gruca of WCCO in Minnesota caught up with Tim Wolfe, a Verizon Wireless rep, to ask him about when kids should have cell phones.

This is his first quote, and the one that sounds more than reasonable:

“Do they do their chores on time? Do they have their homework done? If they do, they’re probably showing the responsibility that yes, they can have a phone,” he said.

An addendum to that is that the child continues to perform said tasks with the same regularity once he or she has a cell phone. Even then, the need for a cell phone needs to be addressed.

Kids want new, shiny things. We know this. We’ve been kids before, surprising as that may be. When I was 10, 12, 14 years old, I wanted every new gadget that hit the market. There wasn’t a mass market for cell phones back then, so it meant mostly CD players and stereo equipment. Cell phones, however, pose a different challenge for parents.

As I said above, there’s no hard and fast rule for giving kids cell phones. Responsibility is the only universal key, really, and even a responsible kid might not be deemed fit for cell phone usage by some parents. In the end, only the parents can decide.

On a funny parting note, here’s another quote from the article: “Some teenagers say they send 15,000 text messages in a month.” Some teenagers are liars. To send 15,000 text messages a month would mean sending 500 per day, nearly 21 per hour. Yeah, right.