A Phoenix Burning

A Necessary Evil?

Necessary?  I’m not sure.  Evil?  I’m not so sure about that either.

Big Girl, who is eleven (and a half) and is now in Middle School, has been asking for a cell phone for years, and incessantly begging for one for months.  We have firmly been saying no for months.  The truth of the matter is, that while our mouths were saying no, our heads were saying maybe. 

As Big Girl has been earning more freedoms, her need for more independence is beginning to overtake my “need” to keep her tied to my apron strings.  However, Zan and I wanted a bit more peace of mind before allowing her to venture too far away from us, and a bit more peace of mind can be bought for the price of an average cell phone.  The point of no return in this whole cell phone saga, was the “mall adventure.”  She and a friend were allowed to go wandering in the mall while I shopped.  We had walkie talkies so I could contact them and they could contact me.  Halfway through the shopping trip, the batteries died on the walkie talkies, leaving us to find each other without them.  Although I earned a few more gray hairs, and thoughts of child abuctions flooded my weak little mind, this adventure ended very uneventfully, and we were reunited by chance, walking out of stores across the corridor from each other at exactly the same time.  *whew!*  This was the day I went from, “She doesn’t need a cell phone,” to “I need her to have a cell phone.” 

We surprised her on Friday night, taking her out and letting her pick her phone.  “Unfortunately,” I needed a new one too…*ahem*…(Isn’t it preeeeettttyyyy?!!)  You see, Verizon has this feature called “Chaperone.”  I can track my daughter’s phone, knowing where she is, what speed she’s travelling at, and I am alerted if she leaves the “safe zones” that I set up.  A very cool feature.  I am not naive enough to believe that this will keep her safe, but there is some comfort in the idea that I will be alerted the minute she leaves “the mall” for example.  The fact that we can be in contact with each other by text or voice anywhere, anytime is also a comfort, not only to me, but to her.  As an added benefit, she’s been texting with long-distance cousins all weekend too, which will keep them close when we’re far apart.

So, we took another step toward untying a knot in the apron string…lots more knots to go, thank God.  I wish they could stay young forever.  Have we done right?  Who knows.  Only time will tell.  Right now we are her heroes.  And it really is fun to play a hero now and then.

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6 responses

  1. Melissa has been begging for a phone, too (she’s 12) and I’m kinda thinking of maybe getting her one for Christmas? Just not sure yet whether to add another line for her and have her share my minutes, which I never even come close to using up each month) or getting her a cheapie little pre-paid one and not have to worry about her losing it. Decisions, decisions…..
    So far there was only once when she needed a phone, and that was when she went on a field trip to Six Flags. She didn’t “need” one, but we felt better if she had one.

    November 9, 2008 at 5:15 pm

  2. Oops, meant to ask… which one is yours and which one is hers?
    I think the one on the right is the new version of the one I have.

    November 9, 2008 at 5:17 pm

  3. These ARE big decisions, aren’t they?! lol
    We got the family share plan since I don’t use my minutes either. I think it will be fine since she is using it to text (which we got unlimited) much more than calling. I told her she should be using our landline to call friends. The cell is for contacting us and for emergencies.
    And if you are a Verizon customer, check out their Chaperone service. Pretty neat for ten bucks a month…you can add parental controls for another $5.

    http://products.vzw.com/index.aspx?id=fnd_toolsApps_childFinder

    Her phone is the red one…mine is the “cadillac” of cell phones! It isn’t the iphone, but it’s pretty darn cool anyway! Check this phone out!

    http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/store/controller?item=phoneFirst&action=viewPhoneDetail&selectedPhoneId=4069&changingCompletedOrder=

    I loooove it! I got a new one simply because I needed a phone that was “chaperone enabled.” But I splurged (big time) and got this one which has navigation, mobile internet, e-mail access, and everything else under the sun. Fun fun fun!
    Just what I need is the ability to play with my blog from the car! lol

    November 9, 2008 at 6:32 pm

  4. karma

    We took the plunge and got our “big girl” a cell phone last year -that was when she started walking to school since the middle school is very close to our home. We felt safer being able to be in contact with her when she was out of our sight and out of adult transportation. We haven’t allowed it to become a “toy” as it isn’t her chatting with friends phone (she’d use up all our minutes if it was used for that!) and texting isn’t allowed unless she pays for it herself. Its nice to have the peace of mind. “Little girl” will be in middle school next year (as “big girl” heads off to high school! Yikes!) so I guess there will be another cell phone joining our family!

    November 9, 2008 at 8:11 pm

  5. Like you guys, I resisted for quite a while to get Mini-DD the cellphone, but once I did, I wondered how we survived without it. We made it a condition of getting the phone that he always has to call us when leaving one place and arriving at another. He is now 17 and still does it, as it’s now a habit. Particularly for a girl, I think it’s critical for them to have one if they are going to be “on their own” for more than 5 minutes. I initially resisted the texting feature, but finally broke down this past summer.

    For $9.99 he gets unlimited texting that I can use when I need to get a message to him at school when his cell phone has to be “turned off”. Because he is so used to texting, he’ll actually answer me when I text now. I’m not sure how we’ll handle once he goes off to college, but now in the days of unlimited long distance and texting, we may not have to do anything.

    A traveling buddy (over 55) and I were talking this past week about how we ever survived without our “electronics” before. Now, they are more a necessity than a convenience.

    November 10, 2008 at 11:08 am

  6. MM…you made me remember the days when I was in college, and how much money Zan and I spent on long-distance! He was in SUNY New Paltz, and I was in SUNY Plattsburgh four hours away…how much less stressful keeping in touch with each other would’ve been if we had had cells with unlimited texting and long distance! We each worked our butts off with part-time jobs just to keep up with our phone bills! I won’t even *think* about how great e-mail would’ve been. It was *just* coming into play when we were in college, but not easily accessible at the time.

    And by the way, you all are making me feel much better about our decision. 🙂

    November 10, 2008 at 1:42 pm

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