Friday, March 13, 2009

Cell Phones - The Next Great Debate

They say the average age for children to get their first cell phone in the UK (where rates are cheaper than the US) is 8 years old.*  Hmmm...Hong Kong also has cheap cell phone rates, and Guinness is 8 years old.  So, OH MY GOD!, even if we get him a cell phone now, he can only be average, and it is certainly too late for him to be ahead of the curve!  What kind of parents are we?

I really am considering getting Guinness and Cayman their own cell phones.  Michael, of course, thinks this is absolutely ridiculous.  But sometimes I think he's too out of touch with the kids' needs (read: my needs).  My internal arguments thus far:

PRO - The kids now have conflicting schedules and I can't be in more than one place at once.  So, they would be able to reach me anytime to be picked up from an after-activity or a play date.

CON - The kids would be able to reach me anytime, including times that I would have preferred to be incommunicado, like when I am at the spa or at lunch with my friends, or when I am hiding behind a locked bedroom door.

PRO - Cell phones have GPS tracking capabilities, so if they ever got lost or separated from us, we'd be able to find them.

CON - OK, I read that in an online article.  I actually have no idea how that type of technology is used, and wouldn't truly be able to find them if they were hiding in a closet in our house.  My knowledge of GPS is limited to Hertz's Neverlost lady telling me to take a left turn in 50 yards, and then passive-aggressively scolding me for missing the turn by telling me that now she has to "recalculate the route."

PRO - By giving them their own handsets and pay-per-use SIM cards, we would be teaching them responsibility.

CON - Guinness is guaranteed to drop his phone at least twice on concrete flooring within the first hour of owning his phone and will use up all his minutes in one phone call. 

PRO - They'll have their own games to play while we are waiting around in random places so they won't ruin my game statistics, and it will leave me more time to check my email and update by Facebook status.  

A winning argument if I've ever heard one!  Now that I think about it, I think Ellington needs his own phone too....

*Survey completed by the Personal Finance Educational Group