Anti-Social Networking: Delores, Steven

Too Much Technology Too Soon?

Delores bought her son, Steven, his first cell phone when he was 11, and an iPhone when he was 13. She tells Dr. Phil, "He got so obsessed, he would not give the cell phone up. He held it in his hands at all times, even at night. He would not put it down."

Steven explains that he was on MySpace and texting at all hours of the night. "I got addicted," he says. He explains that he was communicating with friends in different countries and time zones, because his local friends were asleep.

Delores says she called the sheriff because Steven refused to give up his phone and was disrespectful. When she took his phone away, he became enraged.

Now, Steven has a regular cell phone. "It's a nice phone, but not too much of a phone for me," he says.

"Are you handling it OK?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I think so," he says.

Delores agrees.

How young is too young to have a cell phone? Dr. Phil gives his thoughts.

 

[AD]"There is so much technology now. The technology in a laptop today is more computer power than they had when they did the moon shot," Dr. Phil says. "And those kids can go anywhere. It's just the wild, wild web, and they can get to pornography, they can expose themselves to predators, they can do every manner of things." Dr. Phil explains to parents that their concern should not only be for the computer or cell phone, they need to be aware that today's video game controllers allow for access to the Internet, and some predators use that as a means of getting to your child. "You have to know what the technology is that you're putting in your kids' hands."

Dr. Phil asks his audience what an appropriate age is for a child to have a cell phone.

Penny thinks it's when a child no longer needs adult supervision, such as high school age. If your child is always going to have an adult around, then they don't need one.

Dr. Phil says she raises a good point. "If your child's never going to be unsupervised by an adult that would have a cell phone to call emergency or call you, then that's different. And I also think that if you're in an unusual situation, you can also give your kid your cell phone for the two-hour time that they're going to be in need of contacting you but not equip them with the technology to add it to their life too soon."

Kristen says she's on the fence. She says her son is 9 years old, and she doesn't think he's ready yet. She says the other day when she had to use a public restroom and leave him alone outside, she handed him her phone to use if an emergency arose.

[AD]Another audience member says, "My son wants more freedom now. He's 12 years old, he wants to skate through town, go to a friend's house seven blocks away on his own. I force him to have a cell phone for that reason. It's for me to give him all the freedom he wants, but it's allowing me to separate from him for a little bit, because I always have a connection with him still."