I was pranked for the second time today by a nine year old. The first incident took place yesterday while I was attempting to seal the deal on a new car
that wasn't and today, while escorting my daughter to the bathroom at Lord & Taylor because she decided to pull her molar out of her mouth while we were waiting on line to pay for an overpriced shirt that she needed for a music concert, my cell phone began ringing incessantly in my purse.
"Hello?" I asked while listening to the voice of a child who was clearly fumbling for something to say.
"Hello," I blurted again, sounding more annoyed as my daughter dabbed her bloody gums with a paper towel.
"Is this the Dairy Mart," replied the voice on the other line.
"Listen kid, if you call my phone again, I will call the cops on you."
Now I know, maybe I shouldn't have been so harsh, but it was the second time this child decided to give my cell a jingle and I was mad. Who gives a little girl a cell phone and then expects her to be responsible with it? Nowadays, I've heard about plenty of parents giving their kids cell phones at middle school but in the last week alone, my daughter has informed me that at least four of her friends have cell phones. But here's my beef. At nine years old, shouldn't you be supervised by an adult who already has a cell phone? Unless you're a latch key kid whose parents are obviously breaking the rules by allowing you to stay at home unsupervised, there is no reason whatsoever why a tween should own a mobile phone.
Let's just discuss why it is completely irresponsible to give a kid a phone. Case in point number one. Phony phone calls. Back in the day, I remember when I was nine years old hanging out with friends and we decided to prank some unsuspecting adults from the phone book. We'd whip out the white pages and start dialing and lucky for us, back in the 70's no one had caller ID.
Fast forward to 2008. If you prank someone today, not only can we call you right back, we can even do a search online and find out exactly who you are. We can then drive to your house, ring your doorbell and then tell your parents exactly what you did. The only problem is, the parent who buys his kid a cell phone will usually defend him or her to the hilt. In my situation, when my husband called back to see if we knew the child in question, her father answered the phone and proceeded to tell my hubby that I was totally rude to his daughter. I'm sorry, but last I checked, why would a child be calling an adult asking if she was the Dairy Mart?
I'd really love to know when parents will start taking responsibility for their kids' bad behavior. Sure prank phone calls are harmless, but that's how it starts. First they prank strangers, then they start texting like little demons and the next thing you know, you get hit with a $500 phone bill.
And let me just admit for the record that when my friends and I inevitably got caught for pranking a cantankerous old woman, we paid the consequences. Our parents punished us and insisted we apologize to the old lady, promising we'd never call her home again. Is it so bad to admit your child has crossed the line or are we raising a generation of spoiled brats who will never experience the true consequences of a bad deed because they have the ultimate defenders...their parents.
While my own child has asked me time and again for a phone, I look at her point blank and tell her she cannot own one until she is responsible enough to do the right thing with it. If only other parents felt the same way that I do. Then maybe a few more unsuspecting adults would avoid being pranked.