I know our kids having phones strikes up a ton of hard issues, hot controversy, and dangerous statistics, but I need to point out that despite all that, I love that my kids have phones. I do. This modern technology has been a huge help in parenting these teens of mine. My kids’ phones have served as bridges of communication in ways that have kept them safe, kept us connected, and kept our relationships strong.
10 Reasons Why I’m Happy My Kids Have Smartphones
1. When I’m too sick to attend an all-day out of town wrestling tournament, my son can send me a video of his match within seconds of it transpiring. I can still be a part of his big day and cheer him on and support him even when I’m physically not there. It means everything to me to be present for him in this virtual way and I think it means a lot to him too.
2. I can text my kids to find out how they are feeling when they’ve been sick and head back to school. I can check in to make sure they are doing okay on those marathon days that last from early morning to late at night.
3. I’m so thankful that when the school has lockdowns, my kids can text me with news of what’s going on and we can virtually hold each other through the terrifying situation.
4. When my 16-year-old drives downtown to serve the homeless, she can check in and let me know she arrived there safely. I’m so grateful that when she gets lost and takes wrong turns on random streets she has no business driving down, she can use her phone to google rerouting directions. (Gah!)
5. When practice ends early, my son can text me about it, instead of waiting outside in the cold for another half hour. Once when my daughter did not have a phone, I had already left by the time she figured out that practice was canceled and the doors to the pool were locked.
She had no way of contacting me and the parking lot area is not safe for a young teenage girl to be standing around for two and a half hours in the cold. If it weren’t for another unknowing parent dropping another kid off, that is exactly what would have happened. (This in fact spurred the decision for her to get a phone.)
6. I love that when my girl is upset about something that happened and she’s not home, she can call me and let me know what’s going on and I can help her sort through those hurtful feelings or help her problem solve a way to manage the situation, or simply listen when she just needs to be heard.
7. I love that when I’m gone all weekend at my son’s out-of-town soccer tournament leaving my daughter home alone, I can check in with her and she with me throughout the day. I love that she can let me know when she’s changing her plans or not feeling well or if she has any questions about how to cook that chicken, or wash that red shirt, or ask what chores she needs to get done.
8. I love that when my daughter leaves on her mission trip to El Salvador, I can rest assured that we are one text or phone call away from one another when I have no other way of knowing how she’s doing.
She can send me pictures so I can see for myself that my baby is okay. It’s terrifying letting your kid travel to a far-off country that is not safe and her phone is going to be what tethers us together. Her phone will keep me from falling apart with worry and fear, because I’ll have proof, she’s okay.
9. I especially love that if either of my kids feel uncomfortable or unsafe in any situation they find themselves in, they can call or text to let me know. I can come get them or give them an ‘escape excuse’ they can use to leave. This is a critical lifeline I’m most grateful to have.
10. I love the connection my kids’ phones have brought us that would otherwise not be there. I think back on all the times we’ve texted or called one another and I realize that much of my support and encouragement, instruction and guidance, has been through their phones.
It certainly doesn’t take the place of our real life interactions and experiences, but as my kids get older and they slowly let go of me and I let go of them, I’m just so grateful that their phones continue to be the bridge that stretches to where they are as they venture out into the big expanding world on their own.
Although there is much to worry about with our kids having phones and it’s critical to understand the risks and do our part in keeping our kids safe and healthy, there are so many positive ways their phones can help us raise our kids well.
It’s during this season when our kids need a beacon on the horizon, a source of comfort and counsel, direction and affirmation while they are sailing out to sea as the new captain of their ship. I’d like to think that although I can’t see or know exactly what they are doing, I do have the option to check the radar and radio in any time to make sure they are safe and well and if they need any help with their navigation. I think they rather like having the security of knowing there is and always will be help back on shore at any time for any reason.
Parenting teens takes a relentless route that keeps pushing them forward into the unknown on their own…
That’s why I’m so grateful I can still guide them and encourage them, help them and support them, through the one thing that keeps us together when I can’t be with them, their phones.
You’ll Also Love Reading:
Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults – best-selling guide for parents of teens!