How my 11 year old’s first cell phone ended with a witch hunt

I have been extremely against kids having cell phones. Like, I mean HARD NOPE, not happening in my house! against it. For one, I survived – along with billions of other kids – without a cell phone. Parents don’t need to know where their kids are at all times (this still rings true with me). They need the freedom to just go ride bikes with friends, maybe narrowly avoid death a few times trying to jump that creek mom told them to stay away from seventeen times.

And then there are the more obvious reasons I don’t like cell phones: apps, social media, and the permanency of life’s happenings (in form of pictures, text messages etc) When I was a kid you couldn’t jokingly take a picture of your friend’s butt and then “accidentally” have it sent to 500 other kids. You also couldn’t send spiteful and threatening words in the form of a text message to another child, and hide in the comfort of your own room two towns away.

Phones are more common among kids in 2019 – and let’s face it: we can’t avoid it. It’s only becoming more popular to have one. As parents we need to educate our kids on what comes with the privilege of owning one.

I knew I couldn’t fight it. My daughter had been asking for one for weeks… So I drafted up a contract with a set foundation of rules, such as “no phones in the bedroom after 8pm” and “it’s a privilege to have one, and it can be revoked at any time” blah blah blah… you know, the usual stuff. But yes, the hard-against-cell-phones mom caved – well, sort of…

My daughter had a phone for two days. Twooooo daayyys. It wasn’t even a phone really – it was my old iPhone that was able to connect to the wifi and utilize the iMessage function and apps. She put it in her backpack and within 20 minutes it was stolen. She called me from the office crying and apologizing – I told her I wasn’t mad and that it wasn’t her fault.

Now people will tell me that she was too young for a phone, and that 11 is an irresponsible age to have such a valuable device. Anyone who knows her will say that she is mature and responsible beyond her years. I explained to her that it was my responsibility to ensure that she protected her phone by keeping it in her pocket, and not “flailing” it around and advertising where it was.

Full stop.

SHE was not in the wrong. It’s the jackass that felt the need to take something that wasn’t theirs. What if she was 18 and at a party and someone made a move on her?

The secretaries didn’t believe her.

“Oh kids, they think it was stolen and then they just find it somewhere else and it turns out they just lost it…”

The teacher didn’t believe her.

“Oh nobody would steal a phone in this school! Are you sure you put it in your bag?”

For sure, I get it. She’s 11 and there are a bunch of forgetful and impulsive kids who maybe just put their phone down somewhere and “forgot”…

But when you have a child who is choosing to go to an adult for help, and those adults flat out refuse to help her, nor do they believe her – where does that leave my daughter? She second guessed herself. She wondered if it really was in her bag. “Maybe I did leave it somewhere, mom…?”

My heart hurts for her.

But this was just one of those things that had to happen in order to teach us a lesson.

Not everyone can be trusted. You must learn to fight for what you want and believe in. If someone is a misguided douchebag and treats you badly/does something bad to you (such as steals from you or you are a victim of rape): YOU ARE NOT AT FAULT. If you bully someone and they punch you, um… then yes, you are at fault.

That day after school, the entire class rallied together to look for the phone. They never found it, but boy did she ever feel good knowing all those kids had her back. Maybe that was the lesson that needed to be learned. Sometimes you feel like you aren’t heard, but you find strength from numbers of good humans who just want to do right.

Kids I tell ya… I’m still on the fence about getting her another one. Until then, I’ll just let her stay little for a bit longer.

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