Teens and cellphones
Is it required that teens must have cellphones?
By what age should a teen have their own phone? Is it required that a teen know how to use a smartphone to successfully become an adult?
SD turned 16 last month, but doesn’t have a phone and never has. SD has been offered the opportunity to earn the privilege of having a cellphone for over 4 years now and never has bothered to even try accomplish any of the requirements and has said over and over she doesn’t care about having one. She doesn’t have any friends and has issues with fine motor skills so the buttons on the phone would be difficult for her.
What spurred this question is there was an incident yesterday where there was some confusion over who was picking up SD from an after school program and it ended up that no one was there to pick her up. She is in Special Education classes, so there’s a higher level of concern over her not having a ride home.
Technically, there’s no reason she can’t walk since it’s only a little over 2 miles away, but that’s a different complaint.
Someone from the after-school program tried to call her dad’s cellphone number, but he was driving and didn’t answer. The only phone number SD has memorized is the home phone number – and no one was home. So they didn’t have my cellphone number. So this turned into a clusterf* which seems more appropriate if SD was 6 rather than 16 and she’s isn’t severely disabled. She feigns helplessness to avoid having to do anything and to get attention. I hate looking like the evil stepmom who didn't pick up my stepdaughter and instead took my daughter to her tumbling class.
The after-school program staff member have made a point that SD is going to turn 18 in 2 years and have never used a cellphone or tablets when other kids grew up with them. But does that really matter? Is using a cellphone or smartphone really a necessary life skill?
If we got her a smartphone, then maybe she would want to play games or watch YouTube videos on it and then it can be used as a reward/consequence and taken away from her. But I think the reason she's never wanted a phone is because she knows 99% of the time it will be taken away. If she needs to have it for emergencies, then she will need to have it at school and only will loose the phone in the evenings. But she still gets the smartphone without earning it during the day.
DH wants to just glue a list of phone numbers to her backpack so if someone needs to call us, they can but doesn’t want to give her a phone – that she could lose, break, forget to charge, or get calls from boys or her birthmom (who has no contact and currently is in jail).
The only benefit of the cellphone would be to have a list of numbers programmed in – and that could be solved by giving SD and the after-school program a list of contact numbers including mine and my mom’s (my mom was suppose to pick her up but was confused about the schedule).
I don’t want to add another problem that we have to fight with SD over or have to waste money on something she never uses (a simple cellphone).
Is it required to get a 16 year old a cellphone? I am worried that SD functions more like a 10 year old than a 16 year old and DH is fine with that. But SD refuses to accept any responsibility and doesn't care about anything. I'm not sure if a cellphone changes that but it seems like the type of milestone most kids achieve by age 16.