I promised my soul once she reached 7th grade.
Not an iPhone, mind you.
Not even a smart phone.
But a phone, nonetheless.
When I was her age, there were pay phones. I remember having a quarter that I would use over and over again to call my mom. At the mall. After getting ice cream. Following the movie.
Call. "Pick me up." Hangup. Get quarter back.
Not unlike my contemporary Aldi quarter . . . Get cart. Shop. Return cart. Get quarter back.
Anyway, that is not the case any longer. She's a bike rider. Her closest friend lives about 6-7 blocks away. Sure, if something were to occur on her ride she could knock on someone's door, or hit up a business on main street. Many homes don't even HAVE land lines any longer, so I prefer she be well stocked.
So, we phoned up.
Calling. Texting. I think we can load some music. That's it. No web capabilities. Shoot, the girl can't even text a photo.
She's happy nonetheless. I feel a bit of a relief. However how false. For we all know a phone offers no real protection.
Do we have rules? Yes. Not as detailed as this iPhone "contract" that one can use as our kids get older and are handed that electronic responsibility. Phones aren't just about making calls any longer: text, texting photos, videos, sharing videos, instagram, facebook, google, youtube . . . the WORLD is now at their fingertips.
I chose not to hand my child THAT world.
But, if she wants to take a book, and go sit 2 blocks up at our local coffee shop, where she is a regular - of vanilla shakes with full whip? So be it.
That trip the library? Go for it.
If she wants to ride to a friends house? Call me when you get there. Not text. Call.
She enjoys walking her dog - now she takes her phone and texts me as to where she is on that walk.
I also think it's cute that she's been texting her Dad while he's a way in Colorado, her cousin, and a few other friends. (She is not allowed to give her number to everyone. I get to be the warden on that rule.) While I bristle a bit at the "texting generation", I am also finding it cool that she is making plans with friends, and then coming to me to see if the plans can happen. This is new for her. We did that also. Remember? Via a phone attached to the wall . . . we also tied up that line for hours. I recall begging for one in my room . . .
Some say, in our day, "we had actual conversations" and "weren't attached to an electronic device at all times." Yeah, well, I recall being completely non-communicative while I sulked about listening to a self-made mix tape, Madonna or The Cure (yeah, I had range) on my Sony Walkman with the volume up high. Those earphones were attached to my head every chance I could get as I tuned out the world. And lest we think we were better, we also wore parachute pants and elf boots.
I have a 7th grader.
She tunes out just like I did.
This is a serious right of passage moment.
Joline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel and the newly debuted SlimSavers.com. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 12 and 8, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.