At Christmas we caved and got my eleven year old his first phone. I say caved because 90% of me thinks kids having mobile phones is utterly ridiculous. But I’m learning during these tween years that quite often I have to give in. I don’t want him to miss out because he is the only kid that doesn’t have something. Yes at very nearly 42 years old, I am giving into peer pressure!
It’s very different to when I was his age and I would have to wait until 6pm when it was cheaper to call my best friend. I’d sit under the stairs twiddling with the cord (yes phones had cords!) and talking in code about boys so our parents didn’t hear. At various points I would scream down the receiver at my little brother to stop listening in from the upstairs phone.
Time have changed my friend, and I’m here to tell you the 9 problems with kids having mobile phones…
Problem 1: They don’t know phone etiquette
When you give them their first phone it opens up a whole new social etiquette that they have to be taught. Or you realise they don’t automatically know this etiquette and perhaps you should have taught them, after your mum texts you to tell you her precious grandson phoned her at 6am.
Lesson One: Just because you are you at the arse crack of dawn, doesn’t mean everyone else is. No phone calls before 9am!
Lesson Two: If someone doesn’t answer their phone or reply to your message instantly, it means they are busy. They will get back to you when they can. It doesn’t mean you should send them 37 messages saying “hello… are you there?”, and ring them 17 more times in the space of 30 minutes. Do you know what a stalker is?
Lesson Three: Don’t chat to someone on the phone whilst you are doing a poo.
Problem 2: It makes you feel old
Why doesn’t anyone hold a phone to their actual ear anymore? Why is every conversation on speaker for everyone else to hear? How does my kid already know how to use a phone better than I do? When did I get so old? Kids having mobile phones makes me feel out of touch!
Problem 3: They mostly communicate in memes
I love a good meme. But these are not good ones. Let’s face it, they aren’t old enough to have any cultural references. Most of the memes they share aren’t funny and don’t make sense. Remember when they first learnt to tell jokes and they were truly awful. Like, why did the chicken cross the road? Because he was going to the park. Tumbleweed. It’s like that all over again.
And anyway, my generation invented memes, hands off. I think I know how the My Space generation felt when we all started using Facebook.
Problem 4: You have to check their messages
It’s part of being a responsible parent to check their messages on their phone. Ensuring sure nothing inappropriate is being said, that they are not talking to anyone they shouldn’t be, and that there is no bullying going on.
In reality this involves scrolling through tons of pointless messages along the lines of…
It very much springs to mind these guys…
I mean, why use more than one word if you don’t have to? Pretty soon they are going to need abbreviations for their abbreviations.
Of course there’s also the odd message along the lines of “My Mum said no. She’s being well harsh.” Although I did laugh the other day when his friend sent him a message saying “Can’t. I got mad at my Mum and she banned me until Thursday.”
I am glad to know that’s how it goes down in other homes too. My son is not as hard done by and I am not as mean as he would have me believe!
Problem 5: There’s someone in my house
There’s not. It’s just your kid talking to his mate really loudly on speaker. You however, have just given yourself a mild heart attack and a few more grey hairs because you thought someone was in the living room.
Problem 6: It’s another means for them to give you attitude.
My son is mostly a good kid. But he’ll argue with you that black is white and proclaim often that his life isn’t fair. I know this ‘attitude’ phase shall eventually pass. But now not only do I get attitude to my face, but I get it via text too…
Problem 7: You lose control of their social life
For the last 11 years I have arranged his social life. Every play date, every accepted birthday party invitation. I have been the organiser, the instigator. Playdates for him were also time with friends for me. Now all of a sudden he is making plans by himself. “I can’t do my chores then, because that’s when I said I would call (insert about 100 possible names)”. If we weren’t in lockdown he’d be telling me he was off for a sleep over with his best mate who lives 30 miles away this weekend.
Change is of course to be expected. It’s the natural order of things as he gets older. But it takes some getting used to. Plus I now have to arrange my own play dates!
Problem 8: He has more friends than me
It is blatantly obvious that he has more friends than me. I phone my mum more than anyone. And my mum phones my son more than she does me! I think that makes me bottom of the social pile!
Problem 9: I live in fear of being caught naked
He walks round the house on video calls all the time. It’s only a matter of time before I walk out the bathroom and am exposed to a previously innocent and unsuspecting tween. Please God, don’t let it be a group call.
Have you entered the phone zone yet? How are you navigating your way through?
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