Originally Published: February 28, 2012 10 p.m.
For all that Arizona lawmakers have to do, it makes little sense that they insist upon meddling in ways that will have no effect on our wobbly economy, healthcare issues, and our problems along the Mexico border, not to mention finding enough money for our schools.
Not only do lawmakers believe there should be a law that penalizes teachers for using inappropriate language in classrooms, now they are pushing a measure that would give parents the right to see what text messages their children are receiving and sending.
Since when have responsible parents abdicated their right and responsibility to know just how their children are using their cellphones? Why can we not assume that a large percentage of parents are rearing their children with a healthy sense of responsibility and moral values that would preclude them from inappropriate texting? It's safe to say that most parents do their best to be conscientious role models and want to instill in their offspring honorable rules of the road, so to speak, as they guide them toward adulthood.
That being said, we have to accept the fact that parents can't be everywhere watching every move their children make. So, let us ponder some questions.
Today's technology opens kids to a creepy world and temptations far greater than what their parents were exposed to as young people. And, let's face it - kids will be kids.
Parents can stand over their kids and watch what they do on their computers. But cellphones are different. They can hide them in a multitude of places.
In light of this, here are some points to ponder. Cellphones are a good thing, because youngsters can call Mom and Dad to check in from time to time or if they need help in an emergency. But vital necessity stops there. After that, cellphones are a privilege for teens and not a toy. Sure, it's okay for them to talk with friends - and maybe even text - with the typical teenage chatter. But if a teen's use of a cellphone goes beyond what is acceptable, parents, who are probably paying for the phone in the first place, can simply take it away or impose some other limiting consequences. Or, better yet, they can have the cellphone company install parental controls.
As adults, we have to acknowledge that youngsters' cognitive abilities to use good judgment and understand consequences have not matured sufficiently, making it necessary for their parents to ensure their safety and well-being.
But that's the parents' job, not legislators, no matter how well-meaning their intentions are.
Leave this one alone, lawmakers. Let the parents handle it.