My oldest daughter has wanted a phone for a LONG time.
She turns 12 in 2 months.
Almost everyone has a phone that is younger than she is.
Yes.. we have heard it all.. and then some.
These are not the reasons she got a phone.
First.. we made a rule that she could have a phone when she was 16.
Then.. we had to re-evaluate our rule.. when some issues came up.
Namely.. babysitting... and phone/ipod touch borrowing.
Most people do not have land lines anymore. Now.. they only have cell phones.
Some people just simply leave one of their phones for a babysitter to use.
I am not OK with that.
My friend told me of a girl in her church/ward that was babysitting for a family and the mother left her phone for the babysitter to use. I am not sure if the girl was snooping.. or just happened across an inappropriate photo of the Father.. but she did.
1- Now the girl was introduced to Porn.
2- Embarrassment for all parties in the church involved now.
I found out that my daughter was using her friends phone/ipod touch at school and such.. and I felt that was a problem also.
Who knows what stuff her phone has on it.
Maybe all good things... but I don't want to take chances.
And I am opposed to ipod touches more so -- with kids than phones.
Hello....They have data!!
So... Chad and I had a lot of discussions.
I asked people's opinions on Facebook.. and we discussed and prayed some more.
I felt strongly that it was best for my daughter to have her own phone.. and not be on anyone elses.
Plain and Simple.
And so... we decided upon some rules... and we told her she could ask for it for Christmas.
She agreed to the rules.. and couldn't wait for Christmas.
When we purchased the phone.. we were told that because we had smart phones.. she could be added on for no extra charge.
She could have all of the benefits we do.
We had them disable all data.
Including picture texting.
And she knows that when we feel it's an appropriate age to have it.. she will get it.
So for now.. she has unlimited Texting and talking.
What she would need a phone for.
These are the main Rules with our phone.
1- If you don't have anything nice to say.. don't say anything at all.
Do not say anything mean to anyone in texts or in person.
We can and will check your phone at any given time.
2- Don't bother people by sending too many texts. -- We had to make this rule up after she got her phone.. because it was exciting to call/text her Uncles and Aunts too.
It got a little -- uh--overwhelming for us!
3- Your phone can only be used at school -- after hours... or during breaks.
I do like her to have it.. so if the bus is late.. or someone came home sick -- she/I know.
4- Your phone is not allowed at church.
5- Your phone has to be turned over to us every night before bed.
6- You are responsible if anything happens to your phone.
Take care of it.
7- It is our phone... and your phone.
As long as you abide by our rules.. you are free to use it.
If you break the rules... we'll take it away.
8- You must keep and maintain good grades in school.
9- Don't give your number out to strangers.. or let your number get passed around.
Be mindful and careful of whom you give your number to.
10- Let your phone be a tool for good.. and nothing bad.
We also had a family counsel about Cell Phones.
Last Friday my 8 year old son was told that he could take a favorite Christmas present to school.
He took the board game " Sorry" and a Stuffed animal -- since I wouldn't let him take Lego's.
He came home crying...and said that every child had a new phone.. or Ipad.. or ipod touch.
I comforted him.. and we decided we needed to have a family meeting about Cell phones.
I explained to each of my children that cell phones are a lot like fire.
They can be used for good and bad.
I explained that if I put my niece Lia that is a baby -- next to a fire and told her not to touch it.. would she be OK? Of course not. She doesn't understand.
So then I asked them about their cousin Linkin that is 3.
Would it be OK for him? He understands more -- doesn't he?
When we discussed that the older we get -- the more they understand and can learn to be careful..
I told them that fires are wonderful.
They give us heat.. and warmth. They are cozy and we can cook with them.
But.. they can also be dangerous.
They can burn us -- if we are not careful around them.
Sometimes even when we try to be careful.. an accident happens.. and we get burned.
I explained the same with cell phones.
I told them the older they get... the more they will understand it's good things and bad things.
But I feel like if I put one in their hands when they are too little.. it's like not watching them by a fire.
~ And I told them how much I loved them.. and don't want them burned.
We explained further... that Tenney doesn't have pictures on her phone.. because of the things I still feel like she needs protection from -- with the fire.
I told them.. that even Mom's and Dad's have to always be careful to choose the right with their phones.. and not watch bad videos -- or look at bad pictures.
Even though parents know and understand what fires can do.. sometimes they slip and get burned.
I reminded them about my first marriage.
I was upfront an honest about not letting people ever take inappropriate pictures of them.. or looking at bad pictures on someone Else's phone.
I told them they could come to me over anything.
It was probably one of the most effective and quiet family counsels we have had.
They totally got it.
Even my 5 year old listened.
I felt the spirit.. and knew what I was teaching them.. they needed to hear.
If you are reading my blog.. and find my rules and cell phone teachings to my family to be harsh...
I will not apologize.
I know first hand the level of what "getting burned" is like when it comes to Pornography.
I lived with an addict.
The burns may heal.. but the scars remain.
The addictions to Porn can be worse than it is for an Heroin or Cocaine addict.
And too many children are being exposed -- in the privacy of there homes.. with their cell phones.
Their parents have no idea.
It's all about being AWARE.
Today I am Grateful for:
Prayer... in all things.
Such kind friends -- thank you for your comments and e-mails. I needed it.
The Holiday special of "Call the Midwife" -- Beyond Beautiful.
Downton Abbey started last night! 2 hours.. so much happened.. I need to watch it again.
Dinner with Brian and Suzanne. So grateful my husband talked to Brian all through dinner.. and let Suzanne and I have a separate one-on one girl talk.
I needed to hear some advice she had for me. So grateful.