Sunday, December 5, 2010

Is eleven too young for a cell phone?

Ah Christmas, when children across this country will be badgering Santa Claus and their parents for all manner of gifts. The eleven year old referenced in the title to this blog entry is my son who will actually be twelve in another couple of months. Like many kids his age he wants a cellular phone, its not something he needs, but then all his needs are well looked after and Christmas for kids does tend to be about wants.

Back when I was his age, the Christmas when I too was 11, the gift I wanted above all else was Matel Electronic Football. Having asked for it my parents told me it wasn't going to happen, my father was leaving his position and we were going to be moving from Portland Oregon back to the Toronto area. In short money was tight and the game was too expensive.

On Christmas morning after all the presents had been opened my Mom asked the same question she asked every year. "Was this the best Christmas ever"? Although my most cherished gift had not been under the tree I, along with my brother and sister, responded in the affirmative. Then my Dad noticed one last small package way back under the tree against the wall and asked my sister to retrieve it. "Its for Gordon", she said handing me the gift. Thinking it was socks or underwear or something equally useful and unexciting I unwrapped it. You guessed it, it was the game I'd be dreaming about owning for months. I jumped around like a kangaroo on bennies.

That's part of the reason I'm thinking of giving in and getting my son a cell, but its not the only reason.

I recently read an article about how this digital age we're living in is 'rewiring' our brains. Children growing up now are apparently capable of extreme laser like focus, but only in very short bursts. Being able to compete and thrive in our brave new world means being able to adapt easily to new technologies and to assimilate tons of information in a short period of time.

If I do go ahead and get him one it will be with certain restrictions. I will only get him one provided I am able to limit the phone numbers he is able to dial. There would be no long distance permitted, but I would allow him to text. I'm fairly certain that my cell provider (Rogers) will be able to meet those demands, but I'm not 100% sure I'm going to give in just yet.

Am I spoiling him? Kids do tend to get spoiled at Christmas regardless, its really just a matter of degree and perception I think.

On a final practical note, it would be nice to know that no matter the circumstance or situation buddy would be able to call me or his mother.

Any thoughts from parents who've been hit with similar requests?

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