posted by Joe Anaya on November 18th, 2013

Seriously people, stop it. Your 10-year old doesn’t need a cell phone. I just listened to a mom questioning whether or not to get her 10-year old child a cell phone. Even though her inclination was not to get one, she wasn’t sure how to handle it.

Here’s how you handle a child asking for a cell phone, “No.” Job done.

I know it’s tempting to think how much easier life would be if your child called when they were ready to be picked up or if plans changed. But here’s the thing, “They’re 10-years old!” They don’t need a cell phone. Still sitting on the fence? I’ll lay it out one point at a time.

Cell phone’s are bad for the kid’s health. There have been studies on the effects of cell phones and developing skulls that suggest there may be long-term effects. I’m not a doctor or scientist, but it seems obviously questionable to put a cell transmitter/receiver next to a developing brain.

Your pre-teen is just as likely to lose or break a cell phone. You know it’s true. Maybe your kid is special and has never lost anything, never misplaced anything, or never broken anything. But I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts they aren’t and have done at least one if not all three of those things. And probably on a regular basis. How much extra money have you calculated into the expense of giving your kid a cell phone?

At that age, mostly the kids just want to play games or text their friends. Your 10-year old doesn’t need either of those things. Excessive video games can reduce your child’s attention span. Let them fill the time with their own activities. Find a cool looking rock. Talk to other waiting friends. Daydream. Also, nothing they text to another tween is going to be worth giving them a cell phone. So, don’t bother.

Teach your kids self-discipline. When you tell your kids to be at the school gate by 3:30, they should be at the gate at 3:30. Not hanging out with their friends at the swings. Or wandering over to pet the dog down the lane. If they aren’t there, track them down and give them the angry-parent glare and the “concerned for your safety” speech. If they aren’t mature enough to follow these directions, what makes you think they’re mature enough to have a cell phone?

Finally, model self-discipline for your kids. When you tell your kid you’ll be at the gate at by 3:30, be at the gate by 3:30. Not chatting with you neighbor or running one last errand. Just take care of your business and make being on time for your kid a priority. Which reminds me, I’m late for picking up my kid.

File Under King of the Castle