At the end of this past summer, my wife and I bought our sixth grader a cell phone.
Right now, many of you are groaning. You’re probably thinking, “A sixth grader? Really?!?”
Yep, we did, but, here’s the good news.
IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.
We bought our daughter a cell phone for a few different reasons…
- Because I’m no longer a full-time stay-at-home dad, there will be occasions where she will be a latchkey kid. It won’t happen often, but when it does, it will be nice for her to call us (side note we don’t have a landline … remember those?)
- She got her Safe Sitter certification and began babysitting. Since fewer and fewer families, like us, have landlines in their homes, we felt it was necessary for her to have a way to contact the parents of the kids she’s watching. Would you leave your sitter without a phone? Me neither.
- She’ll end up with a phone eventually so we’re hoping by giving it to her at this age, with our help, she’ll learn to use it responsibly. She isn’t allowed (and doesn’t want) social media. She can text her friends but we have the feature to send pictures turned off. So, for the most part, when she is home the phone stays on the charger.
So why did I feel the need to mention this has nothing to do with you? Because it doesn’t. I’m not saying ALL sixth graders should have phones, just that ours should. We’ve made it clear to our other kids this doesn’t meant they automatically get phones at age 11 either. They’ll need to show they are ready for one.
Next time you see a tween with a phone, don’t instantly groan and roll your eyes. The parents of that child didn’t give him or her a phone to pressure you into getting one for your child. They got one for their child because it was the right thing for their family.