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Contemporary Parenting Questions


Last updated on 11/07/08

Does my child need a cell phone?

In recent years, cell phones have become extremely popular with young people. More than half of American teenagers now own a cell phone- a number that is growing rapidly. In addition, the age at which kids are getting cell phones is dropping, and many elementary school-aged children now carry cell phones. The Center on Media and Child Health Web site states that 54 percent of 8- to 12-year-olds will have a cell phone in the next three years. For some parents, the temptation to buy a cell phone for every child is overwhelming. Kids with cell phones can access their parents in an emergency, tell them if they are running late, and feel safer when taking public transportation. Cell phones equipped with tracking devices can also tell parents exactly where their children are at any given time. Cell phones, however, do not come without risks. Cell phones allow easy and constant access to the internet, and kids can view web pages without their parents ever knowing. Additionally, kids without special “kiddie-phones” can call and receive calls from anyone at any time. Parents who allow their children to own cell phones must be aware that they are taking a tremendous responsibility upon themselves. If parents feel unable to monitor their child’s cell phone use, they are endangering their children and should not allow them to own cell phones.

In the Jewish Community

Cell phones have been a heavily debated topic in the Jewish Community since they were developed. Some communities have banned them completely, while others only allow the use of a “kosher phone” equipped only with basic phone capabilities. Most, however, agree that the cell phones are a useful, but potentially dangerous device. Kids and teenagers with cell phones can easily speak to people and view internet sites that their parents do not approve of. Kids can text message people they would never speak to and are drawn into relationships they never meant to start. Although schools have started to set down rules for cell phone usage, it is the parent’s job to enforce these rules and set their own when necessary. Many children have no use for cell phones other than for making fashion statements and should not own one until it becomes necessary.

Use the following links to learn more about cell phone usage in children. Read about the dangers of cell phones and decide whether your child is ready to own one.

Frequently Asked Links

Does my child really need a cell phone?

What should I be aware of before I buy my child a cell phone?

What are some of the pros and cons of cell phones for kids?

Can cell phones pose a danger for kids?

Are cell phones a health hazard?

How can I protect my child from the dangers of cell phones?

What is the right age for kids to get a cell phone? more

Are there phones designed specifically for kids?

What are some guidelines for parents who wish to give their children cell phones?

What is cell phone etiquette and why is it important?

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Dealing With Peer Pressure
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Parenting Resources for the Jewish Community

Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is a parent's resource for learning about children and wireless phones.

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