Small Wonders: A dose of cell phone reality

February 24, 2012|By Patrick Caneday

Dear Parents (and you know who you are),

I would like to thank those of you who felt that the third grade was an appropriate age to give your child a cell phone. I'm sure you have every good reason for doing so.

But thanks to your generosity, I am subjected to my kids' constant complaining and begging for a cell phone, because apparently “everyone else has one.” I am barraged daily by their incessant pining for a device that, until this decade, every human being on the planet was able to survive adolescence without.


Personally, I have yet to make this financial commitment for my children. I'm not yet convinced 8- and 9-year-olds are quite ready for the responsibility that comes with being electronically tethered to the rest of humanity. Or that my child's life is enhanced by texting their elementary school friends five minutes after they've spent the day with them. Or by having unlimited calls, even if only within network.

Call me old-fashioned, but we still have a rotary dial phone in the house that costs pennies and can be more easily supervised. Somehow that sufficed for the last 100 years.

Anyway, since you decided to lower the bar by adding yet one more juicy idol to the peer pressure candy machine for all minors to covet, I thought I'd share with you a few things I've decided to give my kids before they're ready. It won't be long before your kids are throwing nuclear tantrums and causing you migraines over a few things that “everyone else has.” Such as:

Driver's licenses. That's right, my kids will now be the envy of all their third- and fourth-grade friends when they drive themselves through the drop-off lane at school each morning. Safety-shmafety. I'll even let my kids drive your kids home.

I already gave them their college savings. They just spent their future on 100 life-sized Gummy Bears, 50-meter-line seats to the Canadian Football League opening game (go Eskimos!) and lifetime subscriptions to Tiger Beat and Teen People magazines. I wonder what your kids will spend their inheritances on.

I'm also giving my kids the right to vote. Now, it'll be your fault this fall when minors across this great land choose the ticket of Ron Paul and Lady Gaga over The Socialist and Selena Gomez.

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