I was a freshman in college when I got my own phone. Actually, no, that wasn’t really my own phone because I shared it with my room-mate. So, I was a first-year grad student who lived by myself in another state 5 hours away from my parents when I got my own phone. Ten years older than my children who have phones that they carry around in their pockets and backpacks. Just thought I’d mention that to put this whole “kids need a phone for their safety” nonsense into perspective.
When we got their phones, it was because I never had a pair of Jordache jeans (it makes more sense in this previous post). It was not in any way because I felt my kids, who are always around an adult, needed a phone, or even, deserved a phone. It was regular old peer pressure and wanting to provide stuff for our kids. But, I did expect that possibly, maybe, I would get some related benefit from my kids having a communication advice attached to their hip 24-hours. Wasn’t I wrong.
I realized how wrong I was as I sat waiting for my daughter to call me to tell me when her sports activity was over. Basically, the text exchange went something like this:
Me (at 3 p.m.): When will you be done, I can pick you up at 5:30 or 6:30. Context: Because I have to drop-off/pick-up your younger brother at 5pm and 6 pm and you are ½ an hour away.
Her (at 5:30): I’m done and ready now. Context: She apparently forgot that I do not fly a time machine and can instantly get from one end of the county to the other and back during rush hour within 30 minutes.
Me (at 5:30): You’ll have to wait until 6:30.
If you have a teenager, you can imagine the pouty face – in emoticon and real-life - that followed because she was being so inconvenienced.
Instead of being useful and saving me time and effort, like I was kinda hoping for, I have found that we are paying the telecomm companies for the privilege of being ignored by our chlildren, even when they aren't near us. These little iDevices are making my kids lazy, impatient, and terrible planners as evidenced by these text messages (text, because apparently the voice feature does not work for anyone under the age of 18):
- I forgot my _____ can you bring it to school? The “blank” varies each day: lunch, shoes (don’t ask), homework. Note, this should actually read: “my very important homework that I worked on all last night and you told me to put away in my binder and I said “okay” but actually didn’t, instead leaving it on the kitchen table.” This one often goes to Daddy who is nicer than Mommy.
- I’m ready for you to pick me up. Of course, they mean now, although I am on the other side of town/in a meeting/at the other kid's school and told them to give me 30 minutes lead time.
- Where are you? This, when I am 2 minutes late picking them up.
- I’m coming. This, when I have been waiting for them for ten minutes.
But, every now and then, there’s this one.
- Thanx. Love you. When I'm really lucky, after I've dropped off the lunch/shoes/homework, or sent Daddy to do it.
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