The long anticipated engagement announcement between Apple and Verizon Wireless was made earlier today, and tech savvy gadget lovers and neophytes alike are buzzing with excitement over next month’s wedding date, which is set for Feb. 10th.
Although the iPhone and Verizon will only have been betrothed for a short time before tying the knot, the relationship has been in the works for two years. In fact, so much has happened in the world of smartphones in a relatively short time, namely the prices have dropped considerably and the technology has virtually exploded. If you have a kid who can talk (and even if you have one that only babbles), then chances are they are clamoring for your phone, but would like one of their own. And chances are what they really want is an iPhone.
IPhones have sex appeal that span the ages. With every conceivable kind of app — from games to organizational helpers to coupons, reservations, books, and more games — they can not only make your life easier, but a bit more fun as well.
But what age is appropriate for a kid to get a cell phone, and does it have to be something as extravagant as an iPhone (the price range for the new Verizon versions is $199-$299)?
Like sitting in the front seat of the car unbuckled, not wearing helmets on bicycles and eating raw cookie dough, we all survived as kids without cell phones. We carried around dimes (and eventually quarters) for pay phones, and used them when we could find them to alert our folks of our whereabouts. When we couldn’t find them, we occasionally got scolded upon arriving home for not trying harder to find one. Either way, life went on.
Of course now we know better. We’d never stick a little kid in the front seat (air bag danger!), let them ride a bike without a helmet (brain trauma!) or eat raw cookie dough (salmonella! trans fats!). And if a cell phone can give us some reassurance that they’re safe, and they can get in touch with us if they’re not — or let us know they missed the bus, want a playdate, or would like something other than fish for dinner again — is that such an extravagance?
If I had the option of implanting a chip in my toddler (the kind they put in dogs) so I could always keep tabs on her — forever — I’d seriously consider it. Of course at age two she has no need for a phone, but she likes looking at videos and photos of herself on my husband’s smartphone, and it has actually appeased her on more car trips than I can count.
Sure, a basic phone without all the bells and whistles of an iPhone will also work for kids and some of them even come with tracking devices (no skin-implanted chips necessary). And with an iPhone, it means your kid has access to the Internet, which seems even more dangerous if they have the phone when you’re not around to keep tabs on what, exactly, they’re doing.
But isn’t it also just the way the world is going? That kids are going to have access to technology whether we sanction it or not? If you don’t get one for your kids, can’t they just play with their friends’? Is it better to give them permission and keep track of who they’re calling and texting, and then set limits and controls on how much they can talk and text, the types of websites they can access and which apps they can buy, instead of worrying they might seek it out on the sly?
Will you allow you children to attend the Verizon iPhone wedding, or are they too young?
Image: Creative Commons