After many repeated whining requests, but mostly in honor of all her hard work over this Summer, we too caved and decided to give our 11 year old a cell phone. Two years prior to our promise to ourselves and to her that she would have a phone when she was 13, but two years AFTER most of the other dance moms and their broken promises...so there's that tiny victory.
It's my old phone, but it's still a pretty sweet deal.
There are all sorts of reasons why an 11 year old should have a cell phone. And also a whole host of reasons (maybe more) why she shouldn't. Emma's a pretty active kid, and she rides the bus home, and although a cell phone is not a necessity...it will be pretty convenient her having it.
We waited until Leslie got home from work and told Emma together. To say she was touched would be a gross understatement. We told her how proud we were of all the work she'd done. We explained how even though sometimes it seems like all we see are the bad things, we've seen how hard she's worked all summer, volunteering, doing gymnastics and dance, CLO camp...she's exhausted every night, and we've both seen first hand how hard she works herself during the day. We told her as soon as I'd copied her iTouch over to my old phone we'd give it to her.
Before giving it to her though, we wanted her to understand 'da rulez'. I emailed her a copy and printed it out. She read it out loud, happily and eagerly agreeing to each caveat, patiently listening as I explained what I'd meant as I'd written them.
I tried to pull from various sources to come up with suggestions. After comparing and contrasting them I added a couple, subtracted a few, and was left with what you'll see here.
Many items copied, bastardized and adapted from the following articles:
Cell Phone Rules
My ResponsibilitiesI will:
- Keep my phone charged at all times. "My battery was dead" will never be an acceptable excuse for not answering an important phone call.
- Always answer calls from my mother or father. If I miss a call I will immediately call back.
- Always obey my school's policies on cell phone use while at school, unless my parents' rules are more restrictive, in which case I will continue to follow them.
- Immediately inform my parents if any of my friends or I am being harassed by cell phone, whether it is by text, call, email or social media.
Alert my parents if I receive suspicious or alarming calls/texts/comments
1. unknown person (prior to replying)
2. harassing me or friends
3. embarrassing or inappropriate
- Know where my phone is at all times, and keep it in good condition
- obey rules of etiquette regarding cell phones in public places. I will make sure my phone is turned off when I am in church, in restaurants, quiet settings or as requested by my parents.
- hand my phone over to my parents when they wish it without argument, so that they can check the contents, email, social media and text. "I forgot my password" will not be an acceptable response to parent's requests for access.
- put my phone away when visiting with friends and family.
- lose my phone if I fail to honor the terms of our agreement.
I will not:
- send threatening or mean texts/emails/social media messages to others.
- take or share embarrassing or inappropriate pictures of myself or others.
- use my cell phone to bully others.
- participate in conversations where others are harassed or bullied.
- text or place phone calls after 9 p.m.
- bring my cell phone to the family dinner table
Some things to remember:
Don't post anything on social media or via email or text that you aren't willing to copy your parents on. Don't say things on text/email/social media) that you aren't ready to say in person. If the phone breaks or is lost, there will be no replacement. If you want to replace or repair the phone you will have to pay for it.
We told her she'd have to use her money to buy a case, and when we drove to Best Buy, she purchased the absolute safest and most expensive cover she could find - three ply - with a screen protector under the screen protector. She wants that phone SAFE.
Today she took her new phone to "work" volunteering. This is her last week there, and she's sad to go. We told her to take lots of pictures. For the past two nights she's told us this is the best Summer that she's ever had. She is a happy kid.