Kids and cell phones at what age should they go together? Or should they at all?

Look, I know there are hundreds of arguments to be made on whether or not children should have their own phones. I ?m not here to make an argument for either side. I just know that right now, our children want phones, and I have noticed that my life has become easier since they have had them.

At our house, we arbitrarily established the age of 13 as our Cell Phone Age. Mind you, when we set that age, it was very liberal and we were hip and fun. Cell phones were relatively new, and most were only owned by adults.

Now, approximately five years later, we are old and boring for having the exact same rule.

So we are considering the possibility of doing away with the arbitrary age rule, and coming up with a list of standards that must be met. After several years of having teens and cell phone issues to work out, we have found some recurring issues that should be tackled before the phone is awarded to the lucky recipient. So here are the beginnings of my new Are You Ready for a Cell Phone? Criteria (along with each problem I am trying to preempt).

You may be ready to have a phone if you can do the following:

  1. Prove that you can keep track of a single pair of shoes (that you occasionally use) for at least six months. Any pair at all. Church shoes, flip flops, tennis shoes, whatever. (If you can hold on to them for six months I might be convinced that you could hang on to a cell phone.)
  2. Demonstrate self-control by resisting the urge to answer the house phone or even look at the caller ID during dinner or Family Home Evening. Or while showering. Or sleeping. (This will give us the illusion that you could refrain from texting and/or making/receiving calls at inappropriate times such as YM/YW, school, dance lessons, etc.)
  3. Have the ability to earn money to pay your portion of the bill and any overcharges. (When you have an income that rivals the size of a small emerging nation which could, in theory, come from a large babysitting customer base I ?ll believe that you can pay for your text messaging.)
  4. Carry a package of M&M ?s around for a month in full view of all your friends. Do not allow anyone to eat them, crush them, or drop them in any water. Including, well, any water. (This will prove that you can just say no when your BFF wants to borrow your phone to call Australia.)
  5. Fully agree that your phone will contain a GPS locater and that your parents will be tracking you 24/7. (I'm not sure many phones really come with this feature, and I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't know how to use it, but does everyone need that information? I think not!)

Hmmm, surely there are more hoops to jump through more problems to anticipate. I ?m certainly open to suggestions!

And can I just say, it ?s a good thing I don ?t have to qualify for a cell phone at my own house! That caller ID during dinner thing could be a deal breaker. And don ?t even get me started on the chocolate.