“Mom can I have a phone for grade 6?” Asked my then 10 year old in the beginning of September. My response was simple, well thought out and with no relucantcy plain and simple. “No sweetie not yet, and I’ll explain to you why.” Now please keep in mind, I have absolutely NO judgment on anyone nor would I ever on a child having one. I completely UNDERSTAND peoples reasoning. We live extremely close to my daughters school, and I work within minutes of it. We also have a landline for her use if needed. However that is NOT my only reasoning.
With social media now, the way girls can be to other girls, online bullying, wondering if your being typed about, getting involved with texting drama, inappropriate messages, questions that I can answer, not something she needs to seek on her own with the touch of an app or keyboard, and for the teachers that don’t need to be telling another kid “Put your phone away.”
For having a conversation with a friend at recess, filling the halls with laughter, or simply playing, is now replaced with checking your phone on your break. I’m not ready, she’s not ready, and frankly it’s unnecessary at this point In time.
I want my girl to know life, and problems and situations without a phone before I introduce one. I want her to see the world in general and what it’s like not to have one before she has one. I want her to grow. Period.
I know I can’t stop time, I know this is inevitable, but until I’m done instilling the knowledge I need to, I will hold off.
Playing has become a part of the past and I don’t want that to happen. Being silly and running around, brushing her barbies hair, playing tag is something she enjoys and may she hold onto that as long as she wants. “I’m going to be the only one in grade 6 Mom without one.” I understood that comment, I knew her anxiety around that piece, I didn’t make her feel that was a rediculous thought. Instead, I reached out to a couple of her friends mom’s and showed her the messages that in fact solidified that their children did not have a phone, and her mind was at rest, in fact relieved to some degree.
I’m not sure when I will allow a phone, I’m not sure when I will allow a profile on Facebook or Instagram. However I do know it WON’T be anytime soon. I am well aware having a phone does not mean social media, and I greatly understand it means safety for many.
However for me, in a world where I feel it is not quite necessary at this time, to put that into her hands is not an option I need to take. Nor do I stress about it.
I acknowledge as a parent this is a broken record saying. “I didn’t have a phone when I was your age.” But I didn’t, and I still struggled with certain things through my middle school years. Why add to the mix?
As an adult I discovered Facebook and other social media outlets and texting. As an adult I knew how to maneuver them and not internalize anything. As a child I could not. There is no way my brain could determine that I didn’t need everything my friends had. It would have never been logical to me as that child. I was just trying to fit in. There was never a way of telling myself it was ok to just be me.
I would have been that kid that defined myself and my self worth through how many friends I had, or who liked my posts. Who was texting me, or if I was part of a group chat.
I was that kid. I struggled. I suppose in a small way the things that I endured I try to lessen for my girl and make more of a non issue. I have come to realize everything my childhood and teenage years placed upon me was a lesson for when I became a mother that I could teach my daughter.
“Mom when do you think it will be time for a phone?” She will ask. “When your ready, when your older, and when I have taught you what I need to.” “In the meantime my love, just be happy to be without and grateful for what you have. You will NEVER be that “one” that isn’t cool without a phone.” This I promise.