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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tweens on Cell Phones

Is anyone else noticing the huge numbers of tweens (pre-teens) on cell phones lately?  In my neighborhood, it is not uncommon to see a group of kids all sitting together each with his or her own cell phone.  Instead of conversing with the real, live people sitting next to them, they will all be texting or chatting on their phones to some unseen person who apparently is more important than the people in their company at that time.  It doesn't stop there, though.  There will also be children riding bike, each talking on their phones or texting while riding.

This is troubling to me in a number of ways.  First of all, why does a pre-teen child need a cell phone anyway?  I've been told by many parents that the phone is "for emergencies".  If that were in fact the case, the phones would be very basic and not have all the bells and whistles for texting, downloading music, watching movies, etc.  The phones would be in pockets or backpacks and not constantly in the child's hands ready to place the next call or receive a text.   Secondly, what message are we sending to our children about socialization?  It seems to me that it is a common courtesy to give the people around you your attention and that it is rude to always be distracted by other people you wish that you could be around.  Thirdly, why can't children just focus their attention on one task, such as bike riding?  We are training a generation of people to multi-task at a dangerous level.  Even Oprah Winfrey recognizes the dangers of using cell phones while driving and is encouraging her viewers to make their vehicles "cell free zones".  It only stands to reason that if a child is unable to give her full attention to biking, conversing with friends, rollerblading, or babysitting children (I could continue, but you get the idea), then they will continue that pattern when they get older and get behind the wheel of a car.

Most parents tell me, "Just wait until your kids get older.  Then you'll understand.  All the kids have them now."  No, I don't think that I will understand.  Just because all the other kids are doing it (whatever IT may be, in this case owning and using cell phones) doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do.  I think that we as parents need to take a stand and not worry about being popular with our kids.  It's nice to have your child look at you and think that you're cool, but that's not what the job of a mom is.  My job, as a mom, is to raise my child so that she will be able to spend all of eternity in Heaven when her journey on earth is through.  I don't think that task can be accomplished by being the cool mom who allows things because everyone else is doing it.

What do you think?  Am I being to harsh?  I'd love to hear what you think.

God Bless!

Heather :-)
This is not an actual photo of anyone in my neighborhood.  I found this on google images which means this phenomenon is not isolated to my little corner of the world.