Cell Phone Angst… and Challenge

How old are your children?  When did they get — or do you plan to get them — cell phones?  Why?  Smartphone, Woman, Girl, Iphone, Apple Inc, Touch

I ask because I fail to see cell phones improving the quality of life in tweens and teens.  Rather, I only see anxiety and a giant paradox regarding cell phone communication: the more kids use their phones, the less connected they feel to the people with whom they are supposed to be communicating.

I’m going to put my Teacher Hat on for this post and speak from the perspective of the educator.  Here is what I am seeing during the school day:

  1. Texting each other the first and last few minutes of class.  About what, I can only guess, as I cannot legally go into their devices… (But YOU can… if you dare.)
  2. Taking “selfies” and/or “Snapchatting/Vining,” then obsessively checking to see how many “likes” they are getting.
  3. Increased requests to leave the class to “go to the bathroom” or “get a drink.”  Presumably to use their phones so they don’t get in trouble during class.  I can’t tell them no, but they are losing instruction time, as their trips are longer than necessary to sneak in a few more texts.
  4. More requests to text parents because they “forgot” something.  This irony is that the more they rely on texting parents, the less they need to communicate with their families BEFORE  and AFTER the school day is in session.
  5. Notifying me that they need to go to the office to pick up something… presumably because they just got a text saying their item from #4 was just dropped off.

(On my own time, I even saw a post on a Moms’ FB group asking what other mothers would do if they saw test answers on their kid’s phone!)

You may ask why I don’t just have a policy… I. DO.  So does the district.  But if/when I go to enforce it, I have been subject to major tantrums.  And this is not just from the students.  I have been accused of “stealing” property when I confiscate the cell phone, enforcing the policy, and then returning the phone at the end of the day.  I have been called a “train wreck” and was told that I “need mental help.”  There have been threats on my job and my life.  I have been the victim of theft to retaliate against me.  All because I have asked that phones are out of my classroom.  I have a thick skin, and administration supports me, so I just handle it like the strong human I am.  But what concerns me more are how the STUDENTS are actually suffering.

Some students are so dependent upon their phones that asking them to part with them for the 40 minutes I have them for class is almost impossible for them.  So I implore all parents…  Please do not contribute to the angst.  I am only asking for two things:

  1. Tell your kids that you do not want them using them during classes and if you get a report from their teacher that they were seen out, you will suspend them from their phone for a day… then week… then moth… then cancelled.
  2. Tell them that you will no longer be available to them DURING the school day. (Or if that’s not doable, at least only during their or your lunch for a one-time contact point to send or receive a communication.)  That means you’ll have to do a better job of planning rides, and they will not be able to have you run them forgotten items.
Portrait, Face, Pale, Expressive, Eyes, Nose, MouthBlame the teachers.  Blame your boss/job.  Or even tell them you are making the 153Promise to them that you want them to spend the school day concentrating on… school and not on social drama.  Explain to them that the more you rely on the cell phones, the more anxiety it actually causes because it’s no longer a communication device- it’s an enabling device that’s preventing them from developing good habits of planning, self-reliance, and security/trust among family members.
So I’m throwing out another challenge: enact the two rules above.  Just like the Bus Challenge, I am going to suggest that the more either you or your child balks at the “Phone Challenge,” the more you may need to add it to your lives.  I’d love to know who does it and how it goes!
Kisses!  XxXx

6 thoughts on “Cell Phone Angst… and Challenge

  1. Shasta Heidelburg

    I won’t be taking this challenge either!

    Firm believer in.. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and… “The cream rises to the top”

    I see no reason why children shouldn’t have exactly what they want. As long as they keep up their end of the “bargain”. I use the word “balance” I use if for them and I use it for myself.
    I’m not into deprivation as long as a person can refrain from “getting out of balance”
    We pamper ourselves and stay on track at the same time.

    When things are “out of balance” there is a reason for it and THEN and only then would I place restrictions…. Grades dropping? something is getting out of balance. Getting fat? something is getting out of balance. etc…

    We have cellphones and the latest technology that my son tells me “we need”… knock yourself out kid… as long as you remain the “cream rising to the top” you deserve it.

    I leave you with this question…. As a teacher, Have you noticed the children the most “out of balance” I’m talking bad attitudes, bad grades, bad BMI.. are from parents who “coddle too much” or just the opposite?

    The world is cruel. I believe it’s crucial to have our parents in “our corner” Wanting for us what we want for ourselves. Kids aren’t stupid. Giving all you possibly can, as long as your child remains “in balance” is not going to make your kid “entitled” Unless he or she is a moron they will know.. “mommy loves me and has a soft spot in her heart for me”… “Boss man, teacher, and the rest of the world.. not so much” in other words.. my parents are as Dr. Phil says.. “The soft place to fall” When kids know they have that soft spot to fall, it allows them to put in full effort in the outside world. They have what it takes to face the cruelty of the world, because they have kindness at home.

    Saying no for “no’s sake” to “build character” is akin to breaking a glass, Gluing it back together and saying.. “Now it will be stronger”… when in reality… the glass we shine up, hold carefully and keep safe and whole is the strongest glass of all.


    1. Great comment!

      I suppose my idea of “balance” is not to give to excess. So in that aspect, we are fundamentally different. I feel that putting boundaries in place is necessary, and that means that my children do NOT get “exactly as they want.”

      I do not want to raise a pampered prince or princess. I certainly don’t think that teaching my children denied gratification is breaking them and putting them back together again.

      Yes, I am a Dr. Phil junkie… and while he does say we should be a kid’s soft place to fall, he also warns against parenting with misplaced motives. I’m not saying you are, but many parents give in to children out of guilt or selfish reasons.

      As for the students who have the worst attitudes, it usually comes from lack of boundaries or instilling a sense of entitlement at home.

      How old are your children? I’m presuming they do get good grades and do not get into any trouble? If so, do you have a certain credo/mantra that is your Lone Star when you need direction in how to parent?

      Thanks again for sharing your perspective!


    2. Thanks for sharing. I’m happy to read your children are thriving. So, yes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

      But some parents may grow to learn that some strategies they are using are not getting the results they desire. As they say: The definition of in sanity is doing the same thing, but expecting different results.

      Rather than respond to you specifically, you’ve inspired another post… I’ve had laptop issues the past two days, so I’m overdue…

      Thanks for helping me generate new content!

      Keep the dialogue rolling along!

      Kisses! XxXx


  2. Shasta Heidelburg

    My children are a girl 20, she is a sophomore at CU Boulder. A boy 16 in high school.
    Yes, my daughter achieved straight A’s fall semester and my son 4 A’s an 2 B’s in Advanced placement classes. They have achieved this while being driven to school, having cellphones AND Fast food!!

    Like I said in my previous post, my mantra is.. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. meaning if everything is going well, I feel no need to say “No” just for NO’s sake. a parent shouldn’t feel the need to “build character” if character is already being displayed.

    When character ISN’T being displayed, I handle it with compassion and try to make sure I have the attitude that I want them to succeed for themselves, not for my “bragging rights”. I try to make sure that I’m helping them achieve what they want. Not what I think they should achieve.

    I guess the difference is.. I DO want to pamper my children. Like I said in my earlier response. The world is cruel. If I pamper MY children, they are not stupid. They know the world, bosses, teachers, stranger on the street… are NOT going to pamper them. Knowing that they have many family members who WILL pamper them, makes it oh so much easier to be tough and work hard when dealing with the people who won’t pamper you!
    the kids who have mean , strict, harsh parents have nothing to lose.. they may as well be as surly as they wish, because their just isn’t a great place to be…

    I first noticed this when the elementary school had a piñata … The kids who had the “character building” restrictive parents, elbowed, clawed, smashed and jumped over everyone to get to that candy! They were greedy little maniacs! my children stood back, candy was no big deal to them, they had a mom who let them throw in bag after bag at the grocery ( both my kids are skinny like me, and my parents never restricted anything.. I had a fat friend who’s mom tried to forbid Mcdonald’s … it didn’t work)anyway… I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on this one. I feel kids are little carbon copies of their parents.. the entitled parents will produce entitled kids. The compassionate kind parents will produce kind compassionate kids… Kids don’t view a parent’s mistakes and avoid making them themselves, they are destined to mimic the behavior they grew up with… I’ve observed it so many times. it boggles the mind, but it’s true.


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