A Boy and His Cellphone

For the past five years or more, Tomas has wanted a cellphone. Denisa and I have fought against this constant desire, shoulder to shoulder, like a couple of Gandalfs standing off against the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm. (And if you think I’m a huge geek to use that reference, consider this: I didn’t even have to look up how to spell it the right way. Mic. Drop.)

There have been many reasons to avoid getting our son a phone. The expense. The constant distraction. The potential for cyber-bullying. The inability for young people to make good choices when they have a video camera everywhere they go. And we’d trot those reasons out year after year whenever the request would come up again.

Until his fifteenth birthday.

What made us change our mind? What flaming whip snaked up from out of the darkness to coil around our ankles and send us tumbling into the unknown abyss below? (Too much?)

A school trip.

When Tomas headed off on his Fiddlers trip to Boston for almost a week, we decided we wanted to have a way to contact him easily. So we sent him with Denisa’s phone. And that worked for the most part (even though, perhaps, he wasn’t quite as communicative as we’d imagined he might be), but it had the surprising consequence of Denisa not being able to have her phone for almost a week. And despite occasional claims to the contrary, it turns out Denisa actually uses her phone quite regularly throughout the day.

So that really wasn’t an option going forward.

At the same time Tomas proved on that trip that he was capable of looking after the phone. And we looked at our finances and decided perhaps we did have the money to afford getting him a line of his own. (Family plans that reduce the per month rate certainly help. And so he’s now the proud owner of an iPhone 6S. (Which you can get for $5/month with a 24 month commitment.) We naturally cautioned him about all the myriad ways he might lose his phone privileges, all of which he readily agreed to.

And just like that, the battle was over.

Until DC looked at us and asked when she could get a phone. Thankfully, now we have the Power of Precent on our side. Nothing says “justice” like kids recognizing that “if I had to wait for it, you do too.” Tomas was 15 before he got a phone. When DC is 15, he’ll be off on his mission, and we can divert those phone payments to the next kid.

But I’ll worry about that somewhere down the road . . .


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