Today someone I know casually talked a great deal about what makes a crappy parent. One of her main points was that anyone who gives their child under the age of sixteen a cell phone is completely wretched. Probably worth stoning.
"I told mine they could have a cell phone when they could pay for it!" she told me.
I listened, because I'm a Girl Scout and we do crap like that.
Then she said,
"Any parent who gives their twelve year old child a cell phone should have their children taken away by DCS!"
Seriously. She said that.
So I said,
"Oh. Good thing I didn't give my children cell phones when they were twelve."
She nodded, obviously pleased.
"My kids were actually ELEVEN when I gave them their cell phones. So I guess I'm safe, huh?"
She didn't say much after that.
My kids have cell phones.
I pay for their cell phones.
I also monitor their incoming and outgoing minutes (not their calls though). The phones are prepaid. The money comes out of my bank account.
I don't feel bad about it. Not even a little bit.
Because, yeah. They are twelve. They'll be in seventh grade next week. They've achieved the rank of first decided black belt, held their head up high as they walked directly into three different elementary schools, one middle school and countless Sunday school classes, and done every chore I've ever asked of them. They spend enough time alone (together, not alone alone) that I felt totally okay with the purchase. And? I felt totally sure they could handle the responsibility. As they plug their little phones into the little chargers every night, I feel confident I made the right decision.
We all do the best we can, seriously. Maybe it's not right for your kids to have a cell phone. Maybe it's not right for your kids to kick ass for the Lord. Maybe it's not right for my daughter to wear pants that say hottie on her butt, but if it's okay for your daughter then that's up to you to decide.
I think I'm safe from DCS. Maybe not Hell, yet. But definitely DCS.