Thoughts on Phones

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by susiestar, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I know a lot of us pay for our adult kids to have cell phones. I think that maybe it is good, maybe not. I think one thing at the base of our paying for the phone for our kids is our worry that they cannot get help if they don't have a cell phone. I want to challenge that idea.

    Right now the majority of people over about 12 have cell phones, at least in my area. There are almost no pay phones anywhere because they don't get used. Some of us see this as a problem because our kids cannot use a pay phone to make a call if they don't have a cell phone. I don't. Our kids have far more access to phones if they don't have them than they did when pay phones exist.

    I dont' have a cell phone. largely because I kill them. I kill watches if I have them, even expensive ones guaranteed to work no matter what. Something in the electric system in my body zaps them dead and it has since I was a teen. I have a couple of relaives who do htis also. I kill cell phones if I carry them, even in a purse. After ten of them, well, I give up.

    I took a month and tried to make a call every time I went anywhere outside of my home. I was able to use someone's cell phone for free (even for a long distance call six times when I was out of my home city) or use a business phone every time I asked. I was told no only 3 times, and each of those times there was someone standing near me who OFFERED their cell for me to use. Only one little old lady accepted the dollar I offered to pay for my call. NO ONE else would accept my money for using their phone. All told, I made over fifty calls on other people's phones with almost zero hassle.

    Your kids do NOT need you to provide a cell phone. They will get in touch if they want something from you, and they WILL be able to contact people for services. THey can even get free govt cell phones if they are not working.

    It is one thing I have seen in so many posts about adult kids who are getting help, that we pay for their phones because otherwise they cannot call for help. It is a manipulation on their parts, because if all of their friends have phones, they they have that many phones that they can use if they want to talk to us or anyone.

    I know it may not change your ideas on paying for their phones. If you WANT to pay for their phones, that is fine. As long as you know that it is a choice, and you realize that not having a phone is an inconvenience, NOT a problem that could be life threatening. Heck, they can call 911 from any phone iwth a charge, regardless of if it has regular service or not.

    Mostly I think what you choose to do with your money is your choice, as long as you have the facts. In my opinion, it is a FACT that phone access is far easier now than it was when payphones were everywhere.
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Great post, Susie! Exactly right!
  3. accmama

    accmama Guest

    Great point. My only concern is when they are reaching out for services and have to leave a voicemail, as has been the case with my daughter recently. She has been calling a particular woman at a program we hope she can attend and each time she is told to leave a voicemail so the woman can call her several hours later. If she's using a strangers phone in a public place, I do think getting services would be difficult.

    Not only that, but I will go absolutely insane if I can't send text messages every night to make sure my daughter is still alive. Even when we are on bad terms, which is most of the time, I send a text to ask her if she's ok. She will usually say no, but at least she answers so I know she's not dead.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    OK, so I'm in a different country, which may be part of the difference, but...
    Where I live? You could be stranded for absolutely hours if not days, with not a soul in sight... absolutely nowhere to even walk to that would guarantee contact with a person. Cell phone is not simply an option... it's survival. Even in the city, it could be a couple hours' walk to a populated area where there are even businesses open after 5 p.m.

    Used to be, there was a payphone every half mile in the city, and every 5 miles on the highway, even on less-used secondary roads. They kept the phones going even when the small towns and the little service stations died... until cell phones became popular.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    IC, that depends on where you live in the US. In most places you can easily find somebody with a cell phone. Even in my small town, it wouldn't be hard. Now if they live out in the country, sometimes there are no people/houses for miles. But it sounds as if she is near some sort of civilization :) I have forgotten my cell phone A LOT (being extra spacy like I am) and when I needed to call somebody, I would just go to a gas station and ask to use the phone and nobody has ever denied me. Or Walmart. Or any store. Once I blew out a tire and had forgotten my cell phone and instantly people stopped to help me out, and I got many cell phone offers. Lucky for spacy me!
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Accessibility of phone of course depends greatly from area you are and your lifestyle. For example me and mine are more than capable of getting trouble without access to other people and their phones because of where we live and some lifestyle choices. Of course, when my idget boy last time decided to get into big trouble in place without easy access to phones, he had left his own phone behind and so there was well over 50 people dragged out of their beds to drive around and look for him and search and rescue and boarder patrol with helicopters and thermal cameras were almost ready to start looking for him, when he was found.

    Though our difficult child pays his own phone and it wouldn't be much a problem anyway, because while we do pay much more for food and even more for gas, it seems that phone service and internet are something we get cheaper and easier than most of you in the NA. Pre paid plans are readily available for anyone and are affordable (when our kids were younger and had pre paids to teach them to use phone, we put about ten bucks a month to their accounts and that went a long way) and if you don't have black marks in your credit, also normal plans are available and not that expensive. For example my plan is about 15 dollars a month, 2M unlimited data and couple hours talk and 50 SMS and if I need more talk time or texts, they don't cost that much. And with couple bucks more, I would get a lot more talk time and texts to my packet. Whole system is different around here. We tend to buy our phones and our plans separately so actual plans are affordable and there is a great differences in prices of the phones. Anything from 20 bucks to the grand.

    When considering the accessibility of phone to our difficult children, one also have to remember that when asking to use someone else's or some business's phone, it can be a very different situation for middle aged, respectably looking lady and the 20 something street kid (especially young men.) Could of course be different in NA, but around here people tend to be much more wary of loaning their phones to shabby looking people who appear intoxicated and wear dirty clothes and smell especially at the night time than they would be to clean and sober looking person during lunch hours.
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Belle once tried to tell husband and I that her disappearing was OUR fault because we had taken her cell phone away. When we pointed out that 1) she wasn't supposed to be gone and 2) all her friends had phones, she got really upset... LOL!

    Right now we just replaced Pat's cell phone. After 3 trips through the washer and drier, his died. But - we made him pay for the replacement phone! Partially this is a safety thing for him - being that he is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), things happen. We do not have a land line, so if we need to get hold of him at home... It must be a cell. Our neighbors are... Not always neighborly. And even if we explained to him, it would not occur to him to walk to a business though there are quite a few of them close. In addition, he does walk home from school about once or twice a week, which is 5 miles and a couple of busy roads.

    But mostly, it is a treat for him and a convenience for us... When he gets a job, he will have to pay for his own phone. Same as we did with Belle. He went 3 weeks with no phone between killing the old one and this weekend and did fine... It's not a necessity by any means.
  8. Tiredof33

    Tiredof33 Active Member

    I have a degree in technology and retired from a career working with technology. I HATE CELL PHONES!!! I try to only use mine for emergencies and now when I volunteer some people have gotten a little irate when I say I don't give out my cell number, so now when asked I just say I don't have one. I refuse to be accessible 24x7!

    BUT, I have relatives that, in my opinion, sleep with the dang things in their hands lol!!! My sis will call me and the conversation has gaps, some times I'll just call her back when she gets home and can use the landline.

    My pet peeve is to be in a restaurant, or any place out in public and have to listen to other's loud conversations on a cell. I grew up in a rural area where we did not have a landline until I was in 7th or 8th grade so I'm sure that affects my opinion of cell phones.

    I do not see them as a necessity, but, hubby does and he is the one that pays the monthly bill. in my opinion, they are a waste of money, for me anyway, I have never been in a position where I would have been stranded if I did not have a cell phone. There is no way I would ever pay for my children to have a cell phone. We never use all the minutes, I wish I could give them to someone lol!!!!

    Thanks for posting this! It's nice to hear the honest opinions of others. I am in no way criticizing anyone that pays for their children's phones. in my opinion, anything that gives us peace of mind about our loved ones safety is worth the money.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Next year, when both of my last kids move out, husband and I are downgrading our cell plans and I'm going to go from a smart phone to just a regular phone with texting. Will save us probably $150-$200. Our cell bill is huge. Once our kids move out, it is up to them to pay for cell phones. It isn't that much for one person and they don't need unlimited access plans. Jumper will work while she is at college and Sonic already has a job and gets social security.

    I'm always amused by Jumper, who is very much a text phone kid. My older kids did not grow up when everyone had a cell phone. Jumper almost never talks on the phone. She texts. Same with Sonic, but Jumper is far more of an active texter. I am convinced that the day is coming when phones will be obsolete and everyone will text with larger text lettering for older by the way, I hate texting. I forget to check my text messages. As stated earlier, half the time I forget my cell phone so I am NOT always available. My husband always has his cell phone on him, although he still has an old fashion flip But if the kids need one of us, and my phone has been left at home or in the car, they can always reach their father.

    I don't mind change or progress. But I'm too old to change my habits where I carry a phone around all the time and check it diligently. We don't have landlines, but if we did, people would have to wait until I was home to get hold of me and all of us oldsters managed to stay alive with only land phones available. I do like that I can text Jumper "Where r u" and she will get right back to me as she is anywhere and everywhere and sometimes forgets to tell us where she is going. Rather than having to worry about her, she will just text me back and I know. That's about the only time I text and all I text.
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    MWM, when we replaced Pat's phone - at Wal-Mart - we went with their Family Mobile thing. It is monthly, no contract, through T-Mobile which I have and LOVE. Paid $50 for the phone, $25 for the activation kit. There are 2 plans - $29/month for unlimited talk and text, no web; and $39/month for unlimited talk, text, and web. We got him no web...
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Annie, my husband is so dazzled by Jumper that what she wants she gets and she wants I indulge this because they have such a warm, loving relationship and I love it. I did not have that with my father and Julie did not have that with my ex. But once she is eighteen, she can get her own Walmart plan :) Bad enough hubby will probably let her take one of our two vehicles to college so that we have to share one!!!! It's kind of hard to explain other than to say, Jumper knows how to "play" her daddy and he adores her; they are very close and he would do anything for her. Husband loves Sonic too, but has always been partial to girls, even when we had foster kids.
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    LOL! A lot of colleges won't allow freshmen to have vehicles on campus... Just a thought.
  13. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Susie, I couldn't agree more. We haven't paid for our difficult child's cell phone since she was 18 and she has always managed to have a cell phone. It is the first bill she pays.

    I think it is very much a personal decision about whether or not to pay for our adult difficult child's phones. It almost seems like emotional blackmail to me, though. I believe a difficult child will always manage to get a cell phone when they really need one. So if the only way that a parent can keep in contact is to pay for a cell phone then aren't they being held hostage? It seems like the difficult child is saying "pay for my phone or I will cut off contact" which to me is definitely blackmail.

    Trust me, I am not judging here. I was (and still am at times) an enabler and my difficult child has never cut off contact or disappeared for any period of time. In fact, sometimes I turn off the phone because I hear from her too much. LOL

    I guess I would just feel used if the only way I would hear from my difficult child would be if I paid for her to have a cell phone.

  14. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    You make a really good point, they can always find someone with a phone to use. I think what keeps me paying for a phone for my son was the experience of my difficult child being homeless when he lost his phone and so didn't have one. It about did me in not knowing where he was or if he was dead or alive. If he has a phone we can check online to see if he is using it and that at least let me know he was alive. For that reason I will continue to give him a phone... It is more for me than for him.

    However I don't need to give him a phone now just so he has it if he decides to walk out of his current program.

  15. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Well-Known Member

    Each of my children's lines are ten bucks a month. No biggie to me and I like to have access to them at my fingertips. :)