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Should Your Tween Have a Cellphone?

by T Akery | May 30th, 2011 | Tweens

A cellphone is a device that dances a thin line between a necessity and a want. There are certainly valid arguments for both sides. But as a parent, a cellphone is also a device that requires a tween to be responsible and can also be the source of arguments.

Tweens are individuals. As such, your child will probably be at a different maturity level than other friends of their age. While your tween may demand a cellphone because all of their friends have one, it doesn’t automatically make them responsible enough to handle one. They are still in the growing/learning stage and being a responsible child isn’t at the top of their list. So, as a parent, you need to look at how well they tackle the tasks they are responsible for. Each tween should be evaluated for their individual personalities and their level of handling responsibility.

Another part of answering the question about if your tween should have a cellphone is their absolute need to have one. They are still at the age where a parent is required to shuffle them around from activity to activity. So, where they are at most of the time isn’t a complete mystery. Consider their schedule and yours to determine the line between whether it is a necessity or something they must have because their friends do.

Most schools don’t allow the use of cellphones during classroom time. If you are picking up and dropping off your tween at school everyday, then perhaps a cellphone is not a necessity. For long school trips or away games, then it might be a necessity to equip your tween with a phone to give them a way to reach you. But again, it does boil down to responsibility. Can your tween handle the rules that schools place on cellphone use?

Of course, as parents we still have to make the ultimate decisions for our tweens. Even though they want a cellphone, it does not necessarily mean they are handling enough responsibility to have one. They are still on the path to figuring out who they are. They will still make many mistakes that they will have to learn from. A cellphone can be a very good teaching tool on responsibility about money, taking care of things, and following the rules.

The core of this question is not about keeping up with their friends or even allowing them to have something just because everyone else does. It is about handling something in a responsible enough manner to keep a privilege that is given to them. It is about understanding and following the rules that have been laid out for them. It is about whether there is a genuine need rather than just being another toy.

Not all tweens are capable of such a responsibility and that is perfectly fine. If they aren’t ready, they aren’t ready. They are still kids despite the tween labeling. As a parent, you can say no and mean it.

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