That is today’s question. My 11-year-old has started to babysit. So far she has one client,  third-grade twins in our neighborhood. She has stated her case that it would be helpful to have a cell phone while babysitting in case of emergency when she walks out of the house to take the kids to the park, to a neighbor’s to play, or to the nearby pond.  Once she called me from a neighbor boy’s cell phone to double check her understanding of the twins’ plans for the day.

I know that back in the day none of us had cell phones and we all lived through every situation that came our way. Yet, I’m in a serious debate with myself. Is finding ways to call me without a cell phone a useful test for my daughter to learn resourcefulness? Or am I foolishly missing the boat by not taking advantage of the conveniences of a cell phone?

I definitely see tween behavior with cell phones that makes me want to shy away from the whole mobile scene for tweens. Last weekend while sitting at a dance recital, I overheard a girl who couldn’t have been older than 4th or 5th grade tell the rest of the group, “I have all these tunes on my phone!” I got that uncomfortable ripple I feel  when I think someone might be a bit overprivileged. I also know of a pre-teen who had a stranger sexting her on her cell phone (which has since been taken out of her possession).

Are you allowing your tween to have a cell phone, and under what conditions?

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a parent and stepparent who enjoys writing about family dynamics, issues, and relationships.

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