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?
Getting Help: Know the Numbers
The best time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens. Make sure your family knows emergency phone numbers - and make sure your kids know how to place a call for help.
Teaching Your Child How to Use 911
Teaching your child how to use 911 in an emergency could be one of the simplest - and most important - lessons you will ever share.
Dealing With Peer Pressure
Did you ever feel like another kid was trying to get you to do something you did not want to do? If so, you have felt peer pressure. Find out more in this article for kids.
Parenting Resources for the Jewish Community
Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
KidsWireless.com is a parent's resource for learning about children and wireless phones.
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