Pre-tweens and Cellphones: My 11 year-old and his cell phone minutes

Thursday, December 13, 2012

For few years my 11 year old relentlessly hocked me to get him a cell phone. Like every other kid, the phrase "but every body else has one" was his selling argument.

And mine was, "Your brothers and sisters didn't get their cell phones until they were in High School."

We have the Verizon Wireless - Family and Friends plan. And we already maxed out the $9.99 per month additional plan. My youngest happens to be the 6th member of the family. And I'm not about to spend another $30 a month and re-do the data package so I can add my youngest child.

I even joked that the only way I can add him to our plan is when his sister gets married.

Last month, he managed to rally his grandparents and aunt to make me understand that he needs a cell phone. Since I have been doing a lot of volunteer work in New York, they convinced me that I need to be able to track my 11 year-old whenever I'm not home.

So a compromise was made.

We bought him a TrackFone. We purchased the first $10 which allowed him 150 minutes (about 300-400 text messages).

My 11 year-old vacuums every week to earn $10 a week. He earns special bonus whenever he does the furniture, too . With careful consideration, and him realizing that we are not backing down from our decision, my son agreed to pay the additional minutes he needs.

So what do you think happened?

He barely uses his phone. He does not bring the cell phone to school or to gymnastics - something that aggravates me at times.

 "How can I get a hold of you if you don't have a cell phone?" I asked.

 "I just go to school and you know the exact time gymnastics end." he answered.

"But why get a phone then when you don't use it at all?" I asked.

 "I use it only when I need to. Plus, I don't want to use up my minutes." he answered.

My husband and I smiled.

Lesson learned.

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