Oh No! My 12 Year Old Has a Cell Phone

Post by Carolyn West

When I was 12 the most important thing on my mind was how I was going to afford to buy a skateboard. They were just getting big back then and skateboarding was something done in your driveway, not on a half-pipe at a skateboard park. My parents weren’t yet aware of the dangers and the fact that I could go flying off and crack my head open at any minute. That skateboard cost me $40, a huge amount back in the 1970’s.  

My daughter is turning 12 and the only thing on her mind is getting a cell phone. It’s partly my fault. I told her when she was 10 that she could have a cell phone when she turned 12. How was I to know that 2 years would fly by in the blink of an eye? I backed myself into a corner and now I had to deliver. One cell phone coming up.

Truth be told, I’m kind of looking forward to her having her own phone. Times have changed since I was 12 and I find myself needing to ask her something or tell her something or wonder when she’s coming home. There have been times when I wish I could text her at school. There was that time she was sleeping at a friend’s house and nobody answered the landline. I think that was the clincher… that, and being so angry that nobody answered the phone that she will never be allowed at that house again.

I don’t consider myself an over-protective parent, but I like knowing where my kids are at all times. I like the feeling of being able to call or text and get an instant response. Because that is going to be one of the rules. Oh yes, there will be rules. 

Rule 1: When Mom or Dad calls, you will pick up the phone ASAP or at least text back letting us know why you can’t answer the call. This is non-negotiable. No pick-up, no cell phone.

Rule 2: Although we added unlimited texting onto our plan, if we see the texting minutes escalate to monumental heights, the texting goes bye-bye.

Rule 3: Lose your phone, you pay to replace your phone. You get one shot from us, from now on it’s on your dime.

Rule 5: Your phone WILL NOT have a data plan. You have no access to the internet. This is NOT a Smart Phone, you have the plain Jane run-of-the-mill phone. Should you find a way to circumvent that fact, we will be suing Verizon… and you will be grounded until your 30.

Rule 6: You WILL NOT allow your friends to use your phone unless they need to call a parent in an emergency. We did not pay an extra $20 a month for your friends to make prank calls on our dime.

Rule 7: As your parents, and the people who actually PAY for your phone service, we have the right to go over your phone bill with a fine tooth comb, line item by line item, number by number. If we see anything funny… all phone privileges are lost for a time to be determined based on how truly angry we are at the moment.

Rule 8: If we ask you to turn the phone off, you do it. I don’t care if your BFF needs your immediate advice on whether she should talk to the boy she likes at school tomorrow. It’s not on my list of calls worth interrupting dinner or family movie night for.

Rule 9: You have this cell phone because we think you are responsible enough to handle it and we feel you are old enough to understand the above rules. Don’t prove us wrong. It won’t be pretty.

Follow these rules and we should have no problems. Enjoy and have fun.