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My 12-Year-Old Wants A Phone, But I’m Not Ready

My daughter is 12. In the fall, she will be in 7th grade, and 13 years old.

I choke even saying that outloud. I was AWFUL in 7th grade. That’s the year I started being rebellious toward my teachers, and hateful to my parents.

But, Natalie is still innocent as can be. She would rather read books than watch TV. When her TV is on, she is watching Disney movies. Boys aren’t even on her radar yet. Sometimes I can’t believe what a rule follower she is.

She does NOT get that from me; that is ALL her dad. Ha!

That being said, I am struggling with a decision. Should I get her a phone?

I know, some of you are rolling your eyes, because your kids have had phones now forever, and I’m THAT mom who holds out as long as possible.

I had originally said no cell phones until you are at least 14, but we had an incident last year that FREAKED me out.

Natalie was the manager for her middle school volleyball team. At the end of every game, she would always borrow somebody’s phone to call me to pick her up. It was no big deal.

Until it WAS a big deal.

Their second to last game was an “away” game. She took the bus to get there, with all the other players and coaches. I had NO idea where they were going — Yes, I KNOW that is bad parenting.

About the time she usually called to be picked up, the phone stayed silent. The minutes ticked on and on, but there was still no call.

I had NO way to get ahold of her. I didn’t know the coach’s phone numbers. I didn’t know her friends’ phone numbers. I was just STUCK waiting for her to call.

I got frantic when it got to the hour mark of when she was supposed to call, but there was still no word.

FINALLY, I got a call from a girl that sounded like she had been through the ringer.

Everyone had left before she thought about asking someone to borrow their phone. She gets super focused on the task she is doing, and she was putting up all the team jerseys, and lost track of time.

When she finally finished what she was doing, everyone was gone. She finally tracked down SOMEONE that HAPPENED to be in the building, and was able to use their phone.

I swore that would NEVER happen again. We were both a WRECK.

But, now that it’s come down to the time when I should go get her a phone, I hesitate.

Getting a phone opens up a whole new world. Games, Texts, Internet Browsers, Social Media upon Social Media — it’s all there for her taking.

NOT that she would ever do anything purposely WRONG with a phone, there is just TOO much that could go wrong.

I want her to stay perfect and innocent. I don’t want her face to be buried in a phone 24/7. I want to make sure that evil predators don’t find her, and screw her up. I’m also terrified of cyberbullying.

Someone talk me down! I probably need to just bite the bullet, and get her a phone. It comes down to a safety thing.

BUT, getting a phone changes life forever, does it not? What do I do??