Most parents wish to buy their children cell phones so the youngsters can keep in touch when they are away from home. These devices are helpful if they need a ride and allows you to contact them in case of an emergency. And as frightening as it is, a cell phone may be your only contact with your child during a school shooting or a terrorist attack.
Another advantage of a cell phone for your teenager is the fact that she can call and let you know where she is and when the she plans to be home. The added feature of a GPS can ensure that the teenager is where she is supposed to be.
The only reason that may you want a younger child to have a cell phone is to enable him to contact you when he is not home.This may sound like a good idea, but the main place where younger children are when not at home is at school, and many schools are now prohibiting the use of cell phones on their property. So if you are purchasing a phone for a child who spends most of his time at school, you might as well not even bother. He won’t be able to use it there anyway. Another factor is the child’s age. If a child is under ten, he really shouldn’t be alone anyway, so he should be able to use the cell phone that belongs to the adult that is supervising him. So purchasing a phone for a younger child is not a necessity.
Another disadvantage of purchasing a cell phone for any of your children is the added expense. While you may carefully track your available minutes and rarely use your text message feature, children do not keep track of the minutes they use and some teenagers send as many text messages a day that their fingers will allow them to type. Your child may also download games onto their cell phone adding up additional costs. These practices can lead to you receiving an astronomical phone bill. That does not include the additional cost if your child loses or breaks his cell phone.
While some parents consider the extra independence that a cell phone can give a child as an advantage, it could be viewed as a disadvantage also. While it does give your child more freedom, it is a freedom to communicate with the outside world without your supervision. This can open the way for sex offenders to befriend your child without your knowledge.
If you decide to allow your child to have a cell phone, you may want to purchase a prepaid phone to keep the price within reason. You should also put limits on the amount of use and the specifics of what the phone will be used for. Also take the time to talk to your child about not accepting text messages from anyone they do not know.
Cell phones are becoming a way of life for most Americans. While a teenager probably needs one of these devices, a younger child may not. In the end, the choice is up to you.
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Article Added on Sunday, May 25, 2008
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