Column: When is it time to give children a cell phone?

'Raising Prescott'

In many ways, cell phones have made our lives easier, but they’ve also made them more difficult. So when is it a good time to break the bank and give our children one?

I had a conversation with my wife last weekend about when the best time would be to give our own kids a phone. We shared our thoughts on what the appropriate age is, or should it be based on maturity levels and responsibility skills?

Of course, no one has the right answer. It seems to be more of a case-by-case sort of thing.

On a daily basis, we make phone calls, we text, we look up directions on a map, browse the internet, check Facebook for a friend’s latest posts and check email, among countless other things.

My wife runs her business’s day-to-day operations from one, without issue.

I’ve even been told a person can order their favorite pizza with just a few clicks from an app on their phone. I’ve never done this, although it’s apparently exhilarating for those who have.

Sadly, much of this is designed to be accomplished without actually interacting with a real human being. Many smart phone owners don’t even use the actual “phone” part of the phone. That’s wild to think about.

In my opinion, cell phones have seriously disrupted our interpersonal communication skills to the point where more and more people lack them all together.

Why talk to a person when you can just text them? Seriously, my sister’s phone will ring several times before it heads to voicemail, and before the voicemail is finished saying, “Leave a message at the beep,” she’s texting me saying, “Hey, what’s up brother?”

Seriously!

For myself, I didn’t have a cell phone until I was a sophomore in college. Growing up, we actually had to communicate one-on-one with a person.

Imagine that.

It took only one time of not getting picked up from basketball practice and having to walk home for me to figure out that I needed to tell Dad what time to get me from school.

I quickly discovered how to organize my life and not need a phone to do it — as most did before cell phones burst onto the scene in the early 2000s.

But today, everyone has a cell phone. Most high school kids have cell phones, and even middle school students walk around with some sort of phone.

I’ve stashed a few old flip phones for when the time comes, because the ability to dial a number and maybe send a few short words over text is really all that’s needed for someone that’s not even a teenager, right?

Then there’s that whole peer pressure thing. Would I really send my son to high school with a flip phone when the cool kids all have watches that can do all that smart phones can do now?

By the way kids, “Knight Rider” invented that in the 1980s.

Luckily, my children haven’t entered kindergarten yet, but if by third grade some teacher puts a “cell phone” on a list of school supplies, I might go crazy.

Take our cell phone age poll on dCourier.com to chime in!

Brian M. Bergner Jr. is associate sports editor and columnist for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud at @SportsWriter52, or on Facebook at @SportsAboveTheFold. Reach him at bbergner@prescottaz.com or 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.