How Do You Teach Phone Etiquette in Our "One-Phone-Per-Person" Society?

Last night at the dinner table, Daniel and I were talking about how much things have changed since our childhood. As dinner was drawing to a close, Patrick was playing with Daniel's old cell-phone... one of his current favorite toys (as long as the battery is charged!). Patrick was absolutely adorable as he lifted the silver phone to his ear and said, "Bye!".

I've been working with him off and on about how to hold the phone properly and with the kind help of our families, we've been able to show how people talk to us through the phone - and I repeated this last night by calling my mom right after Patrick proclaimed "Bye!" to the silence on the end of his disconnected phone and trying to get Patrick to at least say, "Hi!" or "Bye!" to her. Of course, he loved hearing his gramma's voice on the other end, but wouldn't do anything but smile.

Anyway, this moment of "training" last evening caused Daniel and me to realize that teaching phone etiquette in today's high-tech society is sure to look vastly different than it did 20 years ago. We do not have a land-line and we are not likely to get one any time soon, if ever. So, no more, "Hello. You've reached the ________ residence. This is Rebekah. How may I help you?" With the prevalence of cell phones, it seems the "proper" way to teach phone etiquette will be something like this... "Hello. You've reached my mommy's phone. This is Patrick. Let me go get her." OR... "Hello. This is Patrick's phone..." At what age is it appropriate to give your child their own cell phone? Seriously! I mean, we live in a world that is filled with technology and some of that technology is great, especially when used for safety/emergency contact.

I don't like leaving home without my phone - just so I can be contacted if there is an emergency, or so I can contact someone else in the event of an emergency. So, wouldn't I also want that option to be readily available to my children? But, is it appropriate for your 5 year old to have a phone on their first day of kindergarten? I'm not so sure...

I am not advocating giving phones to small children, but I'm also not saying they should be 18 before they get one either. Think about it and leave feedback if you will. :)


Janey said...

maybe when the child/teen/young adult can pay the cell phone bill he/she could get one with a minimum age of 15 or 16? just a thought!

The Sinks said...

I like the idea of them having one when they can drive, in case they are alone in the car and have an emergency. Of course, I wouldn't want him/her talking on the phone while driving (one of those "Do as I say, not as I do" things... :)

Becca said...

I think some cell phone companies have come out with kid phones that you can program with certain numbers and those are the only they can call. Also, I think pre-paid phones are a good idea for younger kids. But I keep thinking, I survived till college with out my own cell phone. I would just share my mom's in high school.