- Predators - I have spent my entire parenting career telling my children not to let anyone touch them without permission. By handing my son a cell phone, I'm basically giving any pervert within the Internet's reach access to my babies. They are too young to understand the dangers this presents, so, until they are old enough to get it, and until there is a true necessity for this device, we will be keeping up with each other the old-fashioned way - one-on-one and face-to-face.
- Finances - Personally, I don't think any adolescent should be given access to an accessory unless they can help foot the bill. When my kid can contribute financially to the cell phone bill, we might talk about it.
- Peer bullying - I've seen this first-hand with one of my own dear sweet relatives. Cell phones can be used for cyber bullying quicker than you can say "spit." And for some reason application designers continue to churn out apps that make it a cakewalk to victimize people and leave no trace evidence, (which, in my opinion, should be illegal but that's another topic for a different post).
Monday, August 18, 2014
I'm Not a Cool Mom. And I'm Totally Cool with That.
I'm not a "cool" mom. I don't know whose tops on the Pop charts. I don't have cable (by choice), so I don't really get the whole zombie phenomenon sweeping the nation. I'm not a fashion plate, and not really interested in my kids being one either. I see no reason for my pre-teen to have a cell phone, so he's not facetiming, texting or tweeting anyone or anything.
Nope. Not a cool mom. And I'm totally fine with that. Here's why:
First, I'm more and more aware of the evils (and I use that word intentionally) of too much too soon. Our kids are being bombarded like never before with half-naked models peddling everything from perfume to pajamas. People are churning out smartphone apps that make it easy to commit crimes and get away with it (yes, I mean you, Snapchat). And, apparently, TV shows have gone the way of soft porn in many cases.
I simply don't want my young sons growing up thinking that this is the moral standard, low though it may be, that they should set for themselves. So, instead of cable, we have streaming TV. Yes, we watch shows like Andy Griffith and Little House on the Prairie instead of The Walking Dead and Normal Show. And know what? My kids like it that way.
They, too, are tired of the assault on their senses they get every time they turn a corner. The simpler, gentler shows are much more their speed. It's a relief to them not to have to be "on alert" for a curse word or a nip slip. Because, guess what? They're kids. And childhood is too fleeting for them to have to be concerned about such things right now.
Next, there's the ever-present argument over cell phones. My 10-year-old's relentless pursuit of a smartphone is exhausting for me to fend off, but, for his own good, I stand firm. I once asked him what in the world he could possibly need a phone for, anyway, since we are together all the time. He had no ready answer. The simple truth is, he wants one because he sees most of his friends having one. And that's not a good enough reason.
If I were to give in to this request, we'd have a few problems on our hands that none of us is ready to tackle:
So, no. My son will not be receiving a cell phone any time soon. Which I know puts me in the minority among my parenting peers. And that's okay.
Finally, I'm a huge advocate for censorship. I censor everything, from my kids' movie choices to the kinds of video games they play to what sites they can access on the Internet. We have one community computer in our house, and it's an old-fashioned, bolted-to-the desk model, placed where I can easily see what's on the screen. No laptops or TVs are allowed in their rooms, and while this can sometimes be a challenge, since we also only have one main TV in the house, it's a necessity.
Know why? Because pornography is merely a click away. And studies show that pornographers are targeting boys as young as 6. It's the silent infection that is spreading through our young men's lives, and if we don't stand in the gap for them, who will? The same goes for movies, TV shows and video games, which, if you study them, continue to eek the door open inch-by-inch for immoral and lewd behavior.
I know I sound a little like the Church Lady from Saturday Night Live here. And, don't get me wrong, I don't expect my children to listen to sermons and read nothing but their Bibles, for Heaven's sake. But I do expect them to sharpen their moral swords before entering into the Lion's den.
One day, my children will be old enough to see PG-13 movies. They'll most likely have cell phones at some point in their teenage years. Heck, we might even get cable one day, if we are so moved. But, for now, while they're spiritual bones are still hardening, I want them to be guarded, wary, even, of what the world has to offer. Because one day they will have to decide for themselves what's right and what's wrong, and that's a decision I don't want them making through blurred lenses.
If that makes me uncool, then, I'm cool with that.