Do 12 yr. Olds Need Smart Phones?

My son has had a cell phone since he was in elementary school.  He uses it to talk to family members since we have the same cell phone providers and the calls come free with our plan.  He also keeps it turned on so I can always find him or he can find me at any time should he miss the bus at school or have a problem.  He has never cared for texting and he doesn’t use his phone for any personal calls to his friends unless they have the same cell phone carrier so he doesn’t use up his allowed minutes for the month.  Now that he is in 7th grade, I have noticed that many of his friends are carrying iPhones.  My son has a regular flip style phone and has never complained.  I really didn’t see the need for him to have an iPhone and thought that his phone was great for a 12 year old.  If he is going to lose a phone at school, I’d much rather it be a $50 phone compared to a new iPhone.  He is very money conscious and agrees that we do not need to spend the extra money on an iPhone or the extra monthly charge that comes with it.

With this being said, my family and I attended my son’s 7th grade Meet The Teacher Night and I was shocked at what I saw and heard from the teachers.  There were QR codes on the walls outside the classrooms for the students to scan with their phones.  The codes led to the teacher’s websites and directly to the homework page on their sites.  One of the teachers even gave the parents a QR code to read with our phones while we were in her classroom hearing about her expectations and rules for the year.  QR codes in the classroom?  How is my son going to read those with his flip phone?  I have a Droid and I don’t even have a QR reader set up on my phone!  Now my husband, he is all for QR codes and immediately pulled out his phone and scanned the teacher’s QR code and filled out the needed information.  I know the teacher loves her QR codes but that was extra work for the parents who didn’t already have that set up on their phones.  If you didn’t have a QR reader or smartphone, you had to go searching her site for the same info she could have given us on the form where she printed the QR code.  After learning about how smartphones would be encouraged and used in the classroom, we went to the next class to hear that students could download their reading material on the Nook and keep it in airplane mode while at school.

I thought that I’d leave Meet The Teacher Night needing a few notebooks and special pens, never needing a smartphone and a Nook!  I do not have a Nook and prefer to touch my books while reading them.  A Nook is just another thing to hold on to and again if my son is going to misplace or have anything stolen at school, I’d rather it be a paperback book than a Nook.  While we were leaving the school, you could hear many parents talking about smartphone / Nook issues.  My husband and I discussed this and I have a new iPhone on order for my 12 year old, but the Nook is staying in the store.  My son’s current phone is on it’s second battery and half the case is missing, so it is time for a replacement.  He will be thrilled when he finds out, but  I do not believe that he would have ever asked for one himself.  He is a great kid and doesn’t want us to spend any unnecessary money if we can help it.  Last year I begged him to buy himself a drink with his lunch at school, but he said that’s what they make water fountains for.  He said his table was near the water fountain so why should he spend a dollar each day on bottled water when it was so close.  Can you believe that?  I would never have done that as a kid, I always bought chocolate milk without skipping a beat.

What do think is the appropriate age for a smart phone?

Do you believe the school should push technology and find ways for students to use their smartphones in school or is this causing too much peer pressure?

2 thoughts on “Do 12 yr. Olds Need Smart Phones?”

  1. I don’t think a smartphone is necessary for children. Period. Maybe some sort of phone for communicating with family and friends once they hit their teen years, but a smartphone? Purchasing one and paying for minutes + data packages each month adds up. In my opinion, most teens would use their phone for texting, social media and games in their spare time. Why not do this sparingly on your home computer?

    1. Thanks for your commment Deanna, that’s what I had thought too. I thought my son just needed a regular cell phone so he could call home if he needed and so I could always find him if he were away from the house.

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