Last year, when I was teaching at Olinder, one of the students, M, desperately desired a cell phone. His parents, surprisingly, were a lot like me. Why do you need a phone when I know where you are and if you’re not there I’m going to make your life miserable when I find you kind of people. Mad props!
However, they were not unreasonable or stupid. They knew that simply stating a cold, hard fact would simply breed resentment. They went to the good parent’s next greatest tool in the box. They gave a conditional yes. Yes, you may have a phone as soon as you…
Well, he had to carry a dummy cell phone for a month. Whenever one of his parents asked, he had to produce it quickly. Needless to say, this very bright child still did not have a cell phone by the end of the year. He tended to lose them within a week or two.
I have always felt that this was a great solution. I really still DO NOT understand why parents arm children with cell phones so early. The usual response is, “What if something happens?” OK, what if? Truly, what is really going to happen to your 8-year old at school that you can solve on the other end of the phone? Seriously? Usually I hear stuff like, “I need to know where to pick him up after school.” HELLO — walk. It’s good for the student, it’s good for the environment, it makes them responsible for themselves. Better yet, walk with them. Or, I don’t know, talk to him before you drop him off and agree. Hold him accountable for his actions. Trust me both his teacher and society will thank you for it.
I know that I’m both harsh and judgemental. However, I have to say that when a cell phone goes off in class, it’s always the parents. Yes, the parents are calling the kids, at school, to see how they are, to check in, because they miss them. Parents, I say this in kindness, GET A LIFE.