Holding the (Phone) Line for a Few More Minutes

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It happened again. My twelve-year-old son asked for his own phone – yet again. This time, he sent my husband and me an email listing all the reasons he felt he “needed” the phone.  This request has become commonplace. He asks for a phone in some form or fashion about every two weeks.

Times are Changing

He knows our thoughts and he knows his older sister didn’t get a phone until she was a freshman in high school. But he also knows times are different now, despite the fact it has been only four years. He knows that most of his friends have their own phone. And he is not wrong. According to Common Sense Media, nearly 70 percent of 12-year-old kids have their own phones. He just wants to fit in.

That being said, we have our reasons for not getting him a phone yet. Kids his age already average four to seven hours of screen time each day. His world is constantly bombarded with video content from school, social influencers and gamers. It’s hard to keep on top of it all and monitor the good and the bad. I’m not sure we need another input to monitor.

He’s a good kid. He makes great grades, plays sports, is respectful to those around him, and doesn’t give us much attitude – even for an almost teenager. I’d like it to stay that way. And this boy enjoys his down time. He still likes to play board games, watch movies, play outside with friends and create amazing works of art from a variety of mediums. I know the phone will change that. Research shows that connections to outside activities drop due to increased screen time in kids his age.

Stay Young a Little Longer

But let’s be honest. The main reason he doesn’t have a phone is that I want him to stay young just a little longer. This world is hard, and the influences of this world are strong. I want just a few more minutes to help build his self-confidence, his self-image and his desire to be who he is despite what others put in front of him. Just a few more minutes to prepare him to face the good and the bad that life today brings. A few more minutes to show him just how much he is loved by his family and friends.

The phone gives him some independence and I want to make sure he is prepared to manage all that the independence brings. We want him to have the ability and wisdom to make good decisions on what he sees and hears – to be able to sort through the fluff and find those gems. I don’t want to give him a phone, just to be taking it away every other week because the temptation was too much.

Use Another Phone… For Now

Yes, it makes life interesting at times. He has to use the phone in the school office, or a friend’s parent’s phone to give us a call. His friends have my number and can text him on my phone if they need or want to. It’s not always convenient, but I’m willing to sacrifice because I’m just not ready and I’m not sure he is either.

There will come a time when we feel he is ready and when the convenience will outweigh our concern. But for now, we are holding the line for a few more minutes.

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