When do you let your kids have smart phones?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by minnie, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    My kids are 6 and 7. Boy and a girl. It will be a looooong time before they get a phone. But I read the article below and it really got me concerned for my kids when they are in high school. For parents out there of older kids, when did you let them have a phone? Is it all your kids want to do??

    https://apple.news/AELUDm8fpSAGtifucH3o4Dg
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    My son received his first cell phone in HS, and if wasn't a "smart phone" either. It was a simple flip phone that allowed him to call home when practice was over.

    Unless the schools are 1:1 schools with tech, I would stick with a little less sophisticated, but practical phone until the student can earn some of the money to purchase the phone of their dreams.
    If the school doesn't allow phone use in school, you will be doing your kids a favor by removing temptation from their back pocket. Even the simplest phone can be used to text as well as call. If students have access to a computer at school and at home, why do they NEED a smart phone? Are they playing games at school, listening to music, using social media, and the list goes on? Are you OK with them doing all of those things in class, when they should be learning? If not, they just need a "phone", a way to contact you or others with vital info. Just my opinion, though. However, my son turned out just fine without the latest tech in his pocket as a young teen. In college, he got his first high tech phone, and he paid half for it. Since I paid the bills, I could tell if he was suddenly texting day and night by usage, which allowed us to discuss appropriate usage vs expected learning.

    He's now a teacher, and he comments that the students are hard to engage because they pay more attention to their phones than to their teachers. I find that amusing. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  4. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Unfortunately, I live in an area where is your kids don't have a smart phone by fifth grade they'll be social outcasts. My older son doesn't have one until high school, though.

    I was really mad at one of the last parental "hold outs". We had made a past among a few parents to put off getting smart phones for our kids back in fourth grade. We figured if a few of us did it would give our kids comfort knowing not everyone has one. The next week his son showed up wearing an Apple watch. Grrr...
     
  5. CherryOak

    CherryOak Companion

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    I'm a lot more open to the idea than I used to be. To be fair, I spent a ridiculous amount of hours five feet from a wall as a tween talking on a corded phone. At least they can move as they text.
     
  6. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    See, that is where it gets tricky for me. Obviously I don't want my kids to be social outcasts but I don't want it to take over their lives. I read it causes kids anxiety even when they are away from their phone because they are afraid they are missing out on plans their friends are making or they want to make sure no one is taking bad about them. I'm definitely leaning towards just getting them a simple phone that only calls and texts though.
     
  7. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    I'm just afraid of instagram and snap chat and other inappropriate things. To me, thatseems like the hardest part of being a parent
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
  8. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I don't think it is so bad to be social outcasts. Less peer pressure, less pressure to "be like the Joneses", less need to have every new gimmick and game, more time to actually interact with friends and family that aren't ruled by social media. My daughter did not get a phone until she went to college and bought her own. She is a well adjusted, career oriented adult now.
     
  9. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My daughter is 23; she got her phone (not a smart phone) when she graduated from Grade 8. If she hadn't been as involved as she was in competitive sports, it likely would have been a year or two later.

    I teach Grade 7; I think I have 2 students without smart phones.
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    You can always have hours off limits, charging in your bedroom only, and device free days. You’ll get pushback from your kids if you set limits as many people give their children free reign, but until they pay the bill....

    Screen time addiction is a real thing. It’ll be interesting to see how the future plays out with so many addicted children.
     
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  11. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    A teacher I work with had attended a lecture on addictive behaviors, and cell phones were mentioned. As a male, he sets his phone to vibrate, and can slip it out of his pocket to see what the notification is and who it is from fairly discreetly. After the lecture he tried ignoring the cell phone, but was on pins and needles all day, unusually short tempered, and distracted. Apparently cold turkey wasn't going to work for him, so he counted how many times he took it out of his pocket without thinking about it when it vibrated - 82 times in the five hours he had students.

    Other teachers said that they weren't a slave to their phones, so over the next few days they drew lots each day to monitor someone else checking their phones, to get a more honest count. All of them exceeded 70 times in the five hours with students, with one teacher clocking in at a whopping 123 times in the time frame. Keep in mind that staff are supposed to be off their phones when students are present. Some of the teachers made a joke about it and did absolutely nothing about the cell phone addiction, while others recognized it for the addictive behavior that is is, and they worked to significantly decrease their reliance on having to see every email NOW, and every message NOW, etc. Mind you, no one cares if we check our email at work, so none of us is lacking communication strategies. The teacher who first tried to stop cold turkey worked really hard to cut back on the amount of time his cell phone could control his actions..

    The moral to this story is that if adults can be lulled into mindlessly stopping what they are doing to respond to that trigger, what do you think a child's chances are of ignoring the notification, message, beep, vibration, ring, etc.? Anyone who has seen a child stop mid-sentence to look down at the phone if it vibrates, or receives a message that pops up knows that they don't, for the most part, know how to "just say no." Turns out that what didn't work so well with avoiding drugs is equally inept at keeping students off their phones if they have access to them during school hours.

    I have a smart phone that I turn off while at school :eek:, and even when at home,o_O I am in no rush to answer it nor the home phone. It rings, the messages are received, but I don't feel obligated to acknowledge immediately, or rearrange my schedule/plans to respond to any phone call. I'm not antisocial, but selective. I realize that I may be fairly unique in my cell phone usage. I don't play games on my cell, nor do I watch videos, follow FB on my phone, nor do participate on Instagram. I accept calls when driving simply because my phone is synced to my car, and I call while driving for the same reason, but any kind of messaging demands more attention than I am willing to take away from my driving, so not something I participate in. I wish the person who ran into the back of my car while answering a text had an attitude more like mine regarding cell phone use when behind the wheel.:rolleyes:

    I think that a smart phone is a portal to a world that many of our children are not ready to deal with yet. They may be convinced that sexting is acceptable, that everyone on the internet is truthful, so can be trusted, or find that the web can help you find and buy all of the things that mom and dad have forbidden you to try. I believe that high school is soon enough to expose our children to the cheats and the perverts who know just what to say to win your child's confidence, even when all they want is to exploit them and show them the seamy side of life.

    There are scams aimed at acquiring images of young children for porn, which is profitable for the perverts, humiliating for the victim. Along the same line, once the person has acquired sexually inappropriate images, the children can also be threatened or blackmailed into more of the same or actual encounters. I work with students who have been abused in this matter and their self esteem is shattered, confidence destroyed.

    Guess you could say that I want our kids to have a fighting chance to be "kids" as long as possible without being exploited or targeted by sexual predators with the help of their new "best friend", their smart phone. It may be idyllic, but I figure that people need to know there are far worse things than being social outcasts because mean moms and dads won't give smart phones to immature young teens. Be one of the parents who takes a stand and holds their ground. It isn't easy, but you are doing the right thing for your child, despite how much.your child will claim to hate you and your rules. It isn't going to get you brownie points with your children, but you will sleep a little better at night, :2cents:
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
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  12. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    My daughters are 28 and 29, so this is from that perspective. They did not receive a basic phone until they had a driver’s license. They got smartphones in college. They turned out fine.
     
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  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    In my school community, the struggle seems to be more with the parents than with the students. They struggle with the fact that they do not need to be able to be able to be in constant communication with their children during the day and that their children will get into trouble, and have their phones confiscated, if they have it out to answer those texts from their parents.
     
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  14. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    My eldest being not quite five, I have hoped the trend would change in the next ten or so years and leave with me another befuddlement. But younger and younger kids are having smart phones. I'd probably guess half my second graders have smart phones.

    I suppose if I had my druthers, I'd say jr. high.
     
  15. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    This was eight years ago now, the last time I worked at Scout Camp. Oh, we had smart phones back then, but we also had terrible service (it was a fairly remote camp), so phones just weren't a big thing, generally reserved for the weekends when we could get to town or on the hike day (there was a very random spot of perfect connection). I was still a forum fan back then, and one of my forums was talking about screen addiction even then, claiming none of us could go long without a computer or smart phone.

    I was able to do it. Internet was a hard thing as well at the camp, and we were busy, and I had a freakin' lake waterfront to manage. It was not uncommon for me to go screenless a month at a time during those summers.

    Yet... I wonder what would happen to me now.
     
  16. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    My 3 oldest children got phones as I thought they needed them. Mainly for calling to pick them up after band practice or athletics. I think the two oldest were in at least 8th or 9th grade . Maybe even older and they weren't smartphones (they weren't invented yet) They got my hand me downs. As I upgraded they got my old phones. My youngest son didn't get one until 7th grade and still not a smart phone. The youngest got a smart phone at a very young age. She was in the 4th grade. The main reason was she was texting her friends on my phone all the time and I needed my phone back. She is now a freshman and well uses it as a typical teenager. She is on Snap, and other social media. I watch what she does and who she texts.
    I teach kindergarten and I see no reason for any of my littles to have phones. Although I know several do. Mainly to play games on and watch videos.
     
  17. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    I didn't have a smartphone until I was 25 lol. My oldest sibling got a Nokia brick when she started driving, the next when he went to college, and I got a Razr sophomore year. I only got a phone because they removed the pay phone and the office wasn't open after school. Now I make a deliberate choice to not live attached to my phone. I haven't even looked at it today. I don't put social media apps on it and my friends know to use FB or call call in an emergency.

    When it comes time, I encourage you to consider tracfone or something like it. The phones and plans are extremely affordable (I pay $20 every three months) and it'll put a limit on usage. They'd have to prioritize their usage and budget it out. They'd likely blow through texts and data before talk minutes, so it's still practical for emergencies.
     
  18. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    If schools are using cell phones as digital technology, that is the time to get your student a smart phone. However, if your student can get in trouble for having a phone out in class, if it will be a financial hardship if the phone is lost or stolen. or if you know that your child will listen to the phone instead of the teacher, it's a bad idea to provide a smart phone to your student. If smart phones were indispensable, we would be born with phone in hand (joke). I suspect that many children "feel" they are indispensable since they have been used as the electronic babysitter. Perception and reality are two very different things.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  19. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    • :)Thanks everyone for all of your responses! They have really helped me to kind of calm down. That article really got me worked up lol. I work at the school my kids go to all the way up until 8th grade so I'm thinking that I'll consider gettting them a phone when they start high school and sports to just call and text. My sister is the school nurse at the high school my kids will go to and she said that the cell phone usage is insane at the school and there really isn't a policy on cell phones in the classroom. But like vickilyn said above, if the teachers are using smart phone as a tool in the classroom, then maybe they'll get a smart phone. I guess I'll just pray for wisdom and cross this bridge when I get there.:)
     
  20. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Are 2nd graders responsible enough to have a cell phone? I highly doubt it. What percentage of those 8 year olds with cell phones have lost or damaged them? It's just ridiculous.No, they do not need cell phones just because their friends do. That's a pathetic excuse.
     
  21. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    I would never let my 2nd grader have a phone. That's just insane. But maybe when she starts high school.
     
  22. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I don't think the school can require students have a smart phone even if they use it in class. As a parent you could control what goes on the phone too so if you want them to only be able to call and text then that's all they'll be able to do. That sounds reasonable if there's some reason you need to stay in touch with your child during their extracurricular activities or such.
     
  23. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    No, it would be definitely overstepping some boundaries if schools required smart phones.

    But I suppose I would advise the on-the-fence parent to go for the phone if the schools were actively allowing/teaching the technology use.
     

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