I’m writing in response to Rabbi Avishur’s cell phone article “Yeshiva High Schools Join Together to Limit Student Cell Phone Use: Parents Can Help” (August 25, 2022). I agree with everything he said but what I think people need to realize is that it’s not just a cell phone issue. It is anything that can have apps on it.
What is the difference between a 12 year old having a cell phone and a 2 year old having a tablet? There is only a difference based on what apps you have on it and how often the child has access to it. Otherwise, they are the exact same thing (except the kid with the tablet can’t call you in an emergency). All of these conversations need to be broadened to include tablets or anything that can have apps on it. At the very end of the article Rabbi Avishur mentions that all of the detrimental apps can be accessed from an iPad and need not live on the child’s phone. So then don’t blame the phone.
There is absolutely no issue with giving a child a cell phone if that cell phone is being used properly. What defines properly? That’s up for discussion and a whole separate article. I agree there is no place for a cell phone in school when your child is going to and from home each day (but, as always, there are obviously exceptions to this). When a friend of mine heard that I got my 6th grader a cell phone, she was shocked. She told me how she won’t get her son a cell phone for as long as she can and then proceeded to tell me how she barely sees him after he gets home from school because he’s playing on his Nintendo the whole evening. Do you know what my daughter does on her cell phone? She has video chats with her friends. She is part of a grade-wide chat. She listens to books on tape. She sometimes actually uses it as a regular phone to contact me when she’s out with friends. She’s using her cell phone for the same things that I used AOL and instant messenger for when I was her age. She doesn’t have Instagram or TikTok or whatever else there is to follow now. Let’s broaden the conversation. Cell phones aren’t the enemy here. It’s how we use our “internet connected devices.”Ahuva Lamm