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Cell Phone


by Caryl Harvey



Well, that isn't quite what I mean. of course, I mean cell phones used by teen agers.

I'm ag'in it


The 16 year old foster daughter came with one. The minutes ran out, and the phone was her mother's anyway. She wanted one of her own.

She said she'd pay for it.

DSS said "no contracts."

She said that was fine, she'd do a pre-pay plan.

The saleslady at the phone company said I needed to sign a form allowing her to put minutes on a phone. She said if the girl went over her pre-paid minutes they would shut the phone off. 

"It's not a contract," she said. I think I heard those lines in a play called "The Devil and Daniel Webster." Not a contract, you understand. YOU won't be liable for anything, Mr. Webster. All you risk is your immortal soul. nya  ha ha ha ha ha ha

Last week I got a bill for her phone. $198. I fought it and won. Unlike another famous quote that comes to mind. "I fought the law and the law won..."

THEN THE KID ADMITS she knew all along that she was over and decided to go on using the phone.

She stole minutes from the phone company. I helped her. I am a criminal. I deserve to die.

How did I grow up without a cell phone? I guess I'm lucky. I mean, if something occured to me that I just had to tell my best friend, I had to wait until the end of class. No Text Messages! What if I had forgotten?

And what if I wanted to go to somebody's house after school and I  couldn't just call my mom while she was in the dentist chair and ask her? I might not have been able to go! ( Hey mom, I know you're in the dentist chair and everything but Molly wants me to spend the night at her house and I know my room isn't clean or anything and I have a ton of homework and everything and I'm still grounded for breaking my curfew last weekend, but can I go?    mmftgrp  splikter xseh$&net grp    Okay. Thanks, Mom. See you tomorrow! )

Teens are just not compatible with cell phones. It's in their genes. (Unless they have one of those cute carriers.) Teens are creatures of impulse and poor judgement. That's what gives us parents job security.

My local cell company tells me most kids are on family plans with their parents. You know...they get 995 minutes per month and their folks split the remaining five minutes. ( After all, what would adults have to talk about on their cells?)

My granddaughter was given a cell phone. In one day, she sent out almost 100 text messages. Would an adult have done that? Okay, I admit that it IS kind of fun. And I would probably text more if I could get the phone to stop putting the letters in reverse. But I wouldn't send out 100 messages a day. And then, there were the calls that my granddaughter made, When did she find the time to dial?

Our local high school policy says that if a child is caught texting in class, his phone will be confiscated. So they text between classes, and at lunch, and after school and at bathroom breaks. I understand the last one. I mean, have you ever had a phone call from someone and suddenly you hear the sound of a toilet flushing and you know you've been sitting in the john with them all the time? Yuck. But I've seen kids sitting across from one another at the lunch room texting each other.

And it isn't just teens that have the phones. I went to a highschool b-ball game the other night. A bunch of first-graders were sitting together giggling over pictures one of them had taken on her camera phone. But three of the five kids there had cell phones. FIRST GRADERS. What happened to Barbie Dolls?  

Well, say my opponents in the debate, what about Disney? Disney thinks it's a good idea, otherwise why would they come up with those cute phones which only dial home and one or two friends and 911? I'll tell you why in two words. MONEY. Oh, wait. That's only one word. Okay then. MONEY MONEY. They sell phones for six-year-olds because we parents buy them. And in some instances, parents probably have good motives for giving kids call phones. At the ball game, parents were ringing up their kids to tell them when they were leaving to let the kids know to meet them at the door.  I'm from an older generation, I guess, but i believe a six-year-old isn't old enough to be sitting far enough away from his parents that they have to call him to tell him they're leaving. I believe you should just be able to tap him on the shoulder and tell him to get his coat.

And what about the phone with the smart chips in them to let parents track where their progeny have been? The key word here is "smart." I don't know a kid anywhere who wouldn't have THAT ONE figured out in three minutes.

"Well, I just use it to keep track of my child," one woman told me. "I call her to make sure she's where she said she would be."

Maybe she's right. And--by the way--I'd like you to know I'm writing this from a stateroom at the top of the Trump hotel in Vegas. If you don't believe me, just call my cell.



  • According to a study by Jan Van den Bulck, PhD, of the Leuven School for Mass Communication Research at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, only 38% 0f teens with cell phones DID NOT use them after going to bed. Teens need an average of 9 hours of sleep every night. And researchers have linked lack of sleep in teens to depression.


  • According to the blog GEEK PRESS, teens as early as 2006 were putting a high frequency ring tone on their phone…a tone most adults can’t hear. So adults don’t necessarily know when kids are on the phone, even in class.


  • An article in The New York Times from  1999 stated that  Sprint hired one hundred teens that summer to push its cell phones to kids.


  • AUTOBLOG, an authoritative blog about trends and news in the automotive industry had this to say about teen phone use while they drive.


Using a driving simulator, Ford compared the response of adult and teenage drivers to traffic events happening in front of them. Both types of drivers missed about 3 percent of potentially dangerous events without the distraction of a phone, but when placing a phone call the rate jumps to 13.6 percent for adults and almost 54 percent for teens. And this is using a hands-free headset!

Here in Colorado, it's against the law for teenage drivers to use cell phones while driving, as it is in ten other states. Even so, a few weeks ago a Colorado teenager, driving alone in his car on a clear road, struck and killed a cyclist (in a bike lane) while he was text-messaging with his phone.”



And another thought from my keyboard,  phones are becoming more sophisticated. Kids now can take pictures and send them anywhere in the world, email and browse the web from their cell phones. In short, they can do many things they could only do from their PC before. Many parents wouldn’t consider giving their children access to the computer UNSUPERVISED, but they think nothing of giving them a phone with this kind of capability.

To me, it would seem that the same dangers kids face from predators on the Internet at home would apply to their cell phones. Only now, it becomes easier for a predator to lure a kid to a meeting…they’re already mobile and Mom and Dad are nowhere to be seen.