Age Appropriate Cell Phones

Now that nobody has landlines anymore, I often wonder how kids communicate. Or stay in touch with relatives or family members if they don’t have their own cell phone. When I was growing up, my sibling and I came home by ourselves when we were in elementary school. We had a landline available to call out, for emergencies, but also for incoming calls to check up on us. Then again, we didn’t have any other form of communication available either. It was the phone or nothing. I think we had some battery-operated walkie talkies, but the range was pretty limited on those.

Now, if kids are maybe too young to have their own cell phone, they have other methods of communication available. Computers and tablets all offer ways to get in touch electronically. That may work for parents getting in touch with kids, but that may not always translate for kids to communicate with other kids.

Growing up, the phone was a pretty simple device to operate. Not to sound ancient, but my first phone had rotary dial. Even so, I recall being able to answer the phone and make calls from a young age. This was an important life skill. It connected me to loved ones, but also provided a way for me to have some independence. I learned conversation etiquette and how to handle myself with adults calling for my parents. The phone was a central part of our lives. It was a landline and a lifeline of sorts.

For all of my childhood, the phone, though common, held a place of importance in the household. Every advance of it somehow making things a little bit easier. First we had longer phone cords making it possible to move around while talking. Then came answering machines, so you didn’t have to wait around at home for that important call to come in. You could even call some of the newer machines to access messages remotely. Then there were push button phones followed by cordless ones. Each advance making things more comfortable for the individual but separating us more from each other. Now, we hold everything in our hands, portable, individual, customized, and solitary, to a certain extent. And where does that leave people too young for cell phones, or others not able to use them?

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