Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Different Time

A lot of people entertain their children by allowing them to play with their cellphones.  I realize that smartphones are much, much more than just instruments to talk on--I have one myself, after all--but this is something I don't understand.  To begin with, smartphones are HELLA expensive and not what I would want a one-year-old to play with.  I am almost OCD when it comes to my electronic gadgets and the thought of letting ANYONE, much less a child, mess with them makes me break out in a cold sweat!  (As an aside, after two years of usage--when I go in to replace my phone and extend my contract--the sales reps are astonished that it isn't a right-out-of-the-package, brand new phone.  I take extra-special care of my gadgets.  ;))  I pay insurance on my phone monthly--something I felt was prudent on my part--and still I would need to cough up $100 for a replacement phone, if need be.  And how often would you need to replace a phone that a child played with regularly?  I also cannot imagine trying to pry the phone away from a kid who is engrossed in his/her game if a call came.  Talking on a cellphone is difficult as it is, if you are around a lot of noise, and it would be TRIPLE difficult if your child was having a tantrum because the phone wasn't in his/her hands anymore.  Because I don't have any children messing with my phone, I don't know how many parental controls can be utilized.  So, can the child make calls to China without your knowing?  What about buying apps that you don't want to pay for?  And, of course, there always is surfing the interwebs on the phone.  While I have an unlimited data package for my phone--something most carriers aren't giving as options anymore--most people don't.  How much would someone be paying in overage fees, etc, if a kid got his/her hands on the phone?  And do people even think about this stuff, or care?

When I was a kid--yes, I went there ;D--the telephone was something that was not played with.  I barely knew how to use the thing, but it didn't matter because it WASN'T a child's toy.  Of course, those were the days when you paid for every long distance phone call and even your local calls, after a certain amount.  And the calls were charged at different rates according to what time it was.  This all was confusing enough for adults to remember, much less kids, so the phone just was off-limits to the young-uns.  And the biggest reason why kids didn't use the phone as much as they do today:  NO call waiting!  In the parent's house, the phone was a lifeline and for any kid to tie up the line for hours at a time was a big no-no.  When we WERE allowed to use it, we would make our call, say what was needed, and hang up.  The amount of shit I got into as a teenager when I had marathon phone sessions with boyfriends, was unbelievable.  Do kids even HAVE limits these days?  And if we needed to say something to the person in the next room, next door, or even a couple of houses down from ours, we would just go TO them and talk face-to-face--a concept I don't think kids even understand.

In so many ways, I just don't recognize the world today.  I'm not saying that things were 'better' when I was young, just much, much different.  The kids who had their own cars, extension phones in their own bedrooms (I would have KILLED for a princess phone), and access to the 'pricier' stores to buy clothes were considered 'spoiled.'  (And the rest of us kids were jealous as hell.  ;))  In the world today, our local high school had to expand the parking lots because so many kids felt 'entitled' to drive their own cars to school and kids as young as 10 have cellphones plastered to their ears, constantly.  Far too many kids would give you a 'if looks could kill' glare if you even suggested they went to Walmart to look for clothing.  Every kid has at least one computer--sometimes two or more--at his/her disposal at all times and they wouldn't have it any other way.  In our fast-paced world, there is no such thing as the word 'wait' for kids.  They believe in instant gratification and won't accept less.  But then, how many adults are the exact same way?


Anonymous said...

I've often wondered about this-that people their babies gnaw on or punch buttons on their cell phones. Maybe the cell phone is the current version of the bunch of keys people used to give babies to shut them up when they were talking in the grocery store?

I think parents today are either trying to be their kids' best friend by letting them have whatever they want, or they just don't want to argue. I think kids would appreciate what they have more if they had to work for them-like doing so many chores to get a cell phone, etc. I guess a lot of people didn't appreciate the lessons of delayed gratification when they were kids and they don't want their kids to have to wait for anything. Who knows what goes on in peoples' heads?

cmk said...

Yes, the cellphones are entertainment for the kids--after all, there are TONS of apps specifically FOR kids that you can download. I just would never let my kids play with my phone, but I never gave my keys to the kids, either. (All I could ever think about when kids put keys in their mouths is how much germs they're ingesting. ;)) A different time, for sure.

It doesn't seem as if enough years have passed for parenting to change so much from when we were kids. I keep telling my girls--and they are SICK of hearing it, I'm sure--that I am SO happy not to be raising kids these days.

meleah rebeccah said...

"In our fast-paced world, there is no such thing as the word 'wait' for kids"

That's a REALLY good question.

cmk said...

I really can't point a finger too much, because I, myself, have bought into the instant gratification thing, but I'M an adult and we really CAN get what we want, when we want it. We also are empty-nesters, so THIS is our reward for having the kids move out. ;) When the kids lived at home was an altogether different story, however. It doesn't seem as if kids have to save/wait for anything anymore--they ask and, like magic, whatever they want just appears.