Texting

Are we giving our children too much freedom?

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How do we know when enough is enough, or too much when it comes to our children?Texting

Being a single Dad of two children one 11 and one 14 it is hard for me to find the balance of giving them their freedom but also keeping tabs on them as well.

Both of my children now have cell phones. This is a necessity because of various activities they have along with my crazy schedule, I need to be able to get in touch with them. Also since they live with me, they need a way to stay in touch with their Mom.

That’s all well and good, but the problem now is these phones are attached to them every waking moment. They are constantly connected to the outside world. They text their friends before they even eat their breakfast in the morning.

Is this normal? According to many articles I have read, it is quite normal.

They text about anything just to keep that outside line open. They even text when they are in the same room with each other at times. Not to mention reaching out on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, AIM, Skype or the like.

Is all this chatter ok? Is it causing any long term issues that we don’t know about? Does it make our children grow up faster than they should? Being in touch with the outside world every waking moment could add bad influences as well as good.

The question I have is does your children or child have a cell phone and if so do you limit the use? If so what limits do you set? If we don’t set any limits does this open the door for more problems in the future?

So what are your thoughts? Should there be limits and if so what limits should be set or what limits do you set?

Please feel free to share your opinions and advice in the comments below…


( If you are reading this anywhere but my blog, you can find the original post here. )

3 thoughts on “Are we giving our children too much freedom?

  1. Yes we absolutely give them too much freedom. Mine are 11 and 15 also and once you’ve let the horses out of the gate it is near impossible to reign them in. Actually, my 11 yr old isn’t attached to his phone. His circle of friends is still small. But the PS3 is anoter issue.

    What we do for damage control is keep the conversation open. Remind them that freedom comes with responsibility and as parents we must give the constant reminders just like “wear your helmet” we have to say silly things now like “put your phone down while you are doing your homework” or “isnt 3 hrs of gaming enough for a Tuesday night”. They must be trained to balance the time spent with phones and other media just like eveything else.

    I threatened to take away texting because I really want to reduce the bill and you would have thought the world would end, but after she thought about it for about a week ( and I had noticed her actually talking on the phne more) she came and said “Mom, I’m cool with it, you know, if you have to take texting off to save the money”. The problem is I would rather TEXT than talk ona phone!!

    I guess the trick to allowing the freedoms is NOT letting up on our expectations of them.
    They need to now that their phones and computers are open to inspection at anytime, and once and awhile we need to be brave enough to check them. Keep the conversation open. Ask who are you textign now? Or who is that you are chatting with? If you get uncomfotable responses probe some more. Or, pull on those reigns. We talk abou tpracticing good habits like not texting after a cetain time of night or not textign at bed time, etc. The restrictions are as individual as our individual kids!

    The freedoms I allow my children do not limit my authority as the parent. The trick is that the more “adult” things we allow them to do the more adult they seem to us and then it makes it difficult to place restrcitions on them.

    But yes, because I am a single mom, my kids have a lot of freedoms and have grown up way too fast. Overall I don’t think it will create a huge ripple effect. Sounds like your house and my house have pretty open relationships. The kids retty much are part of the household not just tenants in YOUR home.

    Some of my daughters friends don’t even know what their parents do for work. I think I would rather have kids that are aware rather than ignorant. Technology is just another beast to burden. We must keep them focused on themselves and on good habits and keep our expectations high!

    Good post Phil!
    Stacy

    • Thank you Stacy for the very insightful comment…

      I agree that once you open the gate the horses are running, however I close the gate when I find they are not doing what they are supposed to do. If their grades are slipping things get taken away. I actually have a chart that shows what they get when their overall average is at a certain level. No phone under an 85 average is one level…

      I have been luck with both kids, neither of them is into gaming too much… My daughter is a FB and computer-aholic :) My son would rather be outside in the yard or riding his bike… He really wants an ATV…

      I also have certain rules for texting/computer use and have time limits set on their machine which automatically log them off after they use their alloted time… If it is the weekend I might add some extra time…

      As far as texting, I would rather them text as I put the unlimited family plan on my phone so texting is free, minutes on the other hand… Also, like you said they would rather text then talk anyway…

      I also think my children have grown up way too fast because of myself being a single parent and trying to juggle everything. A lot of responsibility falls on them, plus they have been through so much non-sense… I do try to keep open communication with my children and hope that they keep it with me… But as the saying goes, give them a little rope and see what they do with it…

      Isn’t it amazing how some parents have no clue what their kids are up to or don’t even care… I don’t think technology is bad, but it is changing the way the new generation communicates…

      “Can you hear me now” will be “Didn’t you get my text”…

      ~Phil

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