It’s 10pm. Where is Your Child’s Cell Phone?

05.10.12

 

In an effort to make my teenage daughter hate me (because really, what other motive could I have?). I gave Jane two options regarding her cell phone at night.

Option 1: She can leave her cell phone plugged in downstairs

Option 2: I can add back parental controls and after 10pm she will only be able to call or text me, her grandparents and 9-1-1.

There is no option 3.

We had tears and threats. I wasn’t spoken to for two solid hours. If you’ve ever met Jane you’d know how meaningful silence is. This is a child who needs to communicate to feel alive.

“It’s my phone.” She wailed, “You treat me like a child. No one else’s parents do this.”

And I was horrified. “They don’t? Well they should.”

I went on to explain to her that there were two scenarios (two is my favorite number in this discussion). The scenarios are as follows:

Scenario 1: The other kids do have to give up their cell phones at night but don’t want to talk about it because they’re embarassed.

Scenario 2: The other kids’ parents are making a mistake.

There is no scenario 3.

With a not fully developed frontal lobe teens are notoriously poor decision makers. Add a little sleepiness to the mix and there’s just no good reason to allow a cell phone into the bedroom at night. There’s the obvious nudity issue, but there’s also something a little less terrifying that leaves a big mark on their lives. Sleeplessness.

Adults who sleep with the phone by the bed suffer from sleep deprivation. Our kids hardly get enough time to sleep with school starting so early in the morning, why give up an extra hour (or more) at night?

Jane doesn’t seem to know yet that I’m chaperoning her volleyball team for five days in June. I’ve already let some of the parents know that my plan is to have all the cell phones in the adult room at night. I’m pretty sure it’ll go over like a lead balloon but unless someone else wants to take up the chaperoning baton it’s my rules.

I can’t wait to have a dozen 13 year old girls not speaking to me. I can almost imagine the silence.

Crossing The Street

06.4.10

Next week there is a birthday party for one of Jane’s friends.  The party is very close to Jamba Juice. Remember Alexander’s big walk to Jamba Juice?

Well, Jane would like to walk to the party, and she’d like to walk there alone. Two other moms are on board, and the girls will be coming to my house after school, and then the trio will walk the eight tenths of a mile to the birthday party, enjoy the party and then walk back home.

One of the moms said, “I’ll just give my daughter my cell phone so they can check in with us.”

I found myself replying with, “Jane has a cell phone, and I’m pretty sure the moms at the party will be happy to check on them too.”

I found myself worrying that instead of teaching our kids to rely on good judgment, and even better social skills (like asking a store owner to please call home), that we’ve taught our kids to rely on texting and electronic leashes.

I’m pretty sure there’s a lovely balance between the two, but I’m not sure exactly where it is. I know this is all dynamic.

Is Technology Helping Or Hurting Our Kids?

05.20.10

Does technology help or hinder development?

Do you read your child’s email? I do.

What’s the best new place you’ve ever found using your phone?

05.18.10

Yelpers, I want to hear from you. What’s your best find?

I just text my friend Jay and ask him what’s good. I’m pretty sure he’s finding it on Yelp or Urban Spoon.

Also, has anyone else noticed that google maps has a number of businesses on them? I end up using it even though my new car has GPS, because I can see the whole neighborhood.

My Eleven Year Old Charged $192 to My Cell Phone

05.12.10

Remember when Jane turned eleven and got a cell phone? My brother called me and was like, “you should get her an unlimited text plan because our girls ran up huge texting bills, and Mom loves me best.” (that is EXACTLY what he said).

In keeping with my general rule of never listening to my brother, I bought Jane the cell phone with no additional text plan. I figured it would run me a few dollars a month when she texted her friends. The first cell phone bill included $123 in texting. That is not a typo.

Well, thank goodness for AT&T, I called and explained the situation. They assured me that my brother was still a dummy and that Mom still loves me best, and then they switched me to an unlimited text plan and backdated it. I recovered from my shock, both at the cost of texting, and at the speed of Jane’s fingers, and went on my merry way.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I opened up the cell phone bill and there were $192 in extra fees that made NO SENSE to me whatsoever.

After a 45 minute phone call to AT&T we were able to unwind the charges, and figure out the source of the charges. Twilight. Twilight apps, games and something called the “News Prediction Game” came together $9.99 at a time to reach almost two hundred dollars.

For the record, I did not punish Jane. I did not so much as take her phone away for a day. I did teach her a little bit about how companies try to trick you into entering your phone number on their sites. I’m pretty sure she’ll be savvier next time, but I know a good vampire app is hard for a tween to resist.