- Phones attached to the wall.
- There was one phone in the house.
- And, when there was more than one, it certainly wasn’t in your room!
- You had to stand within a 5 foot radius of the phone.
- You had zero privacy.
- You could only make & take calls.
- There was no caller I.D.
- Dialing a number, let alone long-distance, took forever!
- If you messed up dialing, starting over was an epic fail.
- Crank calls were fun & the most entertainment a phone could provide.
Phones today are so incredibly different from phones when we were kids. They’re hand held computers that we slip into our back pockets when they’re not attached to our ear or being used as a time filler. They help us get from point A to point B, let us instantly chat with our friends, family & co-workers, and keep us tethered to our email, personal & work. We literally know where our friends are without even having to speak with them… a simple check to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or FourSquare and we’ve found them – or, at least, where they’ve been in the last 1/2 hour, what they’ve eaten, or what they purchased.
As a teen I don’t think I could have fully appreciated where technology has brought us to today. I mean, I was that kid tethered to the wall trying to talk to my best friend or have a cryptic conversation with my boyfriend. When I was out I had to use a pay phone to call home or just wait until I got there to have that conversation.
I’m a huge advocate of not talking on or using the phone while driving, I literally ignore everything phone related while I’m at the wheel. I can’t not do that, I have two impressionable teens, and they’re safety is a priority. I point out bad drivers to them and as we pass the swervy driver I say loudly “See? Dumbshit is on the phone! That’s an accident just waiting to happen.” It’s unfortunate, but I get the chance to say that at least once or twice every time we leave the house. Hopefully my witty sarcastic humor sticks with them.
Doling out punishments is easy in our house, well as easy as it can be. For minor offenses we start by taking cords out of their bedrooms. TV, Wii, Play Station, etc., it all gets confiscated. And, with the hardware still in their room, it’s a reminder of what they’ve done and don’t have. If it’s a major offense we log on to our phone provider’s website and start by disabling phone features like texting – making mom & dad the only people they can text. Horrific, I know! Next comes media, downloads, and then the internet.
To a teenager today, tinkering with their phone is just evil and what hits them at their core. Their phone is literally their lifeline to everything. Remember when we had to be within a 5-foot radius of the phone? It’s the same now, they are never farther away than 5-feet from their phones. They sleep with them, have them at the dinner table and rest them on the bathroom sink while showering. And, as a parent, the absolute importance of their phone is valuable information that they probably don’t want you to know.
So, don’t feel guilty about buying your teen or pre-teen a phone… they actually need it for
emergencies everything, and with you “owning” the service & hardware you’ll potentially have the key to their good behavior.