My guys recently learned that phone booths are not just for intergalactic time travel and for Superman to change in.
Street proofing your kids in order to educate and prepare them for unexpected situations is a critical part of parenting. The single denominator amongst most parents is that we worry about our children.
We worry about everything - clean underwear, manners, where they are, who they are hanging out with and the lists goes on and on.
The list of worries in this technical era of on-line and cellular phones has grown.
Lets face it, the majority of our kids communication is done on computers, cell phones and social media sites. Maintaining contact with our children has never been easier, particularly with cellphones. Through GPS and tracking apps allow me to monitor remotely where my children are at any given time - in real time.
This software allows you to always know where they are, where they have been and for how long. One can also take advantage of other options that tell you who they are texting, their contact lists, video and photo libraries.
It all sounds a little Orwellian to me but it does provide piece of mind in keeping your children safe. I prefer the straight-up approach. If you want a phone, and I am paying for it, let me install the app or loose the phone. It might sound a little harsh but it is better than violating their privacy by secretly installing the app and breaking their trust.
Long gone are the days when you had to rely on pay phones to know where children are. 80% of kids from 12 to 18 have cell phones. They are not necessities - but they do make life easier for all of us. I like the added layer of security and the convenience they offer.
It is also a good idea to sit down with your little angel and discuss the appropriate and inappropriate uses of cellphones, texting and picture taking. Cellular etiquette begins with the golden rule - do unto others as you would have them do to you. Parents offers an excellent article on teaching kids cell phone etiquette that establishes the ground rules. Of course, they learn from the real world, so you might want to ensure you are following these rules as well!
Another lesson learned - teach them to charge their phones on a regular basis. Nothing is more frustrating than a dead phone, which was the genesis of this post. On Saturday night my youngest boy and his friend went to an AHL game at Mile One. The well exercised routine is a call when the game was over telling us where to pick them up.
A dead cellphone caused a little confusion. They found a payphone but had never used one before! Fortunately, a custodian loaned them a quarter and took the time to teach them how to use this throwback to the pre-cellular age worked!
It just goes to show how difficult it is to cover every base. It is great to know there is still a back-up life-line when your kids are out and about.
Our reliance on cellphones has led to the near extinction of pay phones but their remains an important public need for these once ubiquitous devices, even if many of our younger generation has never used one.