We caved in. Or at least it feels like we did. The technology morphed faster than we expected, prices for a family plan came down so low that our kids can afford to pay their own monthly fees, and it seemed to make sense from a security-and-convenience point of view. But I do have a couple of doubts about this decision.
First, a cell phone might hinder a parent's ability to shepherd a child through the minefield of adolescent relationships. Like the best of secretaries, you used to be able to shield your over-stressed kid from unwanted phone calls, pick up cues about relationships in distress, and find out about new friendships without spying. Now friends and enemies can reach your kid 24/7, and you don't have a clue about who's on the line.
Two, a cell phone may squelch the development of problem-solving skills. In the old days, if a kid lost his homework, he had to pause, weigh his alternatives, and decide the best course of action. Now he just picks up the phone and whines, "Mo-o-om, I lost my homework." Mom leaps into the problem and suggests a solution, and the teen doesn't get to exercise his noggin.
Is it worth it? Or am I just a curmudgeon who hates listening to other people's cell phone conversations while savoring my Peet's Coffee?