Friday, 9 January 2015

An Open Letter all Parents of Grade 7' me if you need to

 Dear parents of Grade Seven students all across the land, 

If your child has recently declared that they are the only one in their class (or possibly the world) without a cellular phone, I am offering up my name to use in your defense. I swear by the ghost of Steve Jobs that my boy does not currently, nor will he in the near future, own a cell phone - at least until he can come home from basketball practice without leaving at least one shoe at the gym. So there you go…you can tell your child they are not the only one.

Maybe I’ll start a list one day of other parents who won’t let their 12 year olds have a phone, so that we can stick together and share the heat because believe me, I know the battle you’re fighting. You are up against the almighty peer pressure, and the stakes are way high. In my day, I only needed a $29 pair of Cougar boots and a plaid lumber jacket from Zellers so I could fit in with the rest of the cool kids. Now, according to my son’s somewhat suspicious intel, all his classmates are now in possession of a mobile device. From his account, you’d think Apple had been standing on the street corners this past Christmas, just giving away the iPhone 6 to any old tween, like candy canes at the Santa Claus parade.

I am indeed a mean one, Mr. Grinch, because upon hearing his plea I really didn’t feel the slightest twinge of pity for this kid.  Yes, it’s a pretty cool technology that allows you to call up the sum total knowledge of the universe in a nano-second, but the boy only has a few hours a day when he’s not plugged in. At his school, they still play ball hockey at recess – much thanks to the principal for allowing it.  If I ever drove by at lunch hour and saw him standing around with a clump of kids texting each other, I would likely snap. There would be a whole bunch of yelling and broken phones and charges pending.

As for the boy, I am not even remotely worried that this signals the social downfall of a smart, athletic and once popular child who will now be treated no better than a leper. What would worry me is paying an extra $50 a month so that my kid can text me from class – which they are forbidden to do – to tell me he needs a new binder. And don’t get me started on responsibility. A certain 12 year old whose iPod and  Tablet screen both look like the windshield of a Fiat that’s been in a head on with a gravel truck, is not ready to look after an expensive phone. The school still has a phone and a very capable secretary who will call me if he gets sick. If I need to contact the boy, we just reverse the procedure and I call the school. I can even email his teacher directly! Imagine that.

And so again I say to you, when your child claims they are the only one without a cell, you call them out. Tell them there is at least one poor kid in the land of Ontario Canada, whose dad is very mean and won’t allow him to have a phone either. Mean with love I say.