Cell Phone Debate

'Jimmy! Will you stop texting on your mobile phone. We are trying to discuss how technology has changed society!'

I’ve been back-to-school shopping as a mom for many years but this year presented a first. Among the new shoes, socks and school supplies was a cell phone. Not a request from the school but a request from my son and his father. I lost the battle to not buy a cell phone a while ago.

Does a boy who takes a school bus to and from school and gets driven pretty much everywhere really need a phone?  Logic outweighed desire this time. I thought a flip phone might be a compromise. After all, I still used one and it served my needs to talk and text. Unfortunately, that debate was also lost two to three when hubby declared that, “no one uses a flip phone anymore except you.” Since he works for a telecom provider, I knew then that both our son and I would be shopping for cells phones. I would not be out-teched by a 12 year-old.

It turns out that after a short while, all cell phones look alike and can pretty much do the same things. It’s all about the plans. Data plans. The plans can cause you to lose sleep and prompt you to create a spread sheet to compare all the plans and rates available. Do you want unlimited talk and text or just after 5 pm? How about weekends? How many megabytes do you need? Does a 12 year-old need any? Will he rely on Wi-Fi networks or use his own data plan?

Many hours later, with two new smart phones in hand; one iPhone with a data plan and one Android without, we headed home to program these things and draw up a shopping list of real school supplies – old fashioned pens, pencils and erasers. These are a few of my favourite things.

The first day of school crept upon us like we weren’t expecting it. It went like this: Really, I have to set my alarm for 5:50 a.m.? My first-time high schooler is keen, dressed early and ready to leave on time. I drive him to the bus stop and watch him board the bus from a distance so no one will know we’re together. I notice he’s wearing the school front-zip sweater and remark to myself that it’s going to be a warm day and he’s going to ditch the sweater at some point. Do I text him on the bus to remind him to keep his stuff together? No! I will not become that mother! I will not text my son on his first day of high school. How silly is that?

At recess time I text, “how’s it going?” He never replies. I can’t believe I did that. I text my husband to tell him of my irrational behaviour and he texts back that I beat him to it! What’s become of me? Of us? What did my mother do on my first day of high school? I phone and ask her. She says she can’t remember and frankly, neither can I. My son does text me from the bus in the afternoon to give me blow-by-blow details of the bus’s progress through traffic.

The first day of high school has come and gone. My son got off the bus at the end of the day without his school sweater, which I assumed was in his backpack. I was wrong. He couldn’t remember where he left it. The first day of school and already an item misplaced. Some things don’t change.

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