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Here's the pitch deck my tween made me to get an iPhone

Chaunie Brusie   

Here's the pitch deck my tween made me to get an iPhone
  • When my daughter was in 7th grade she made a presentation to get an iPhone or iPod.
  • It didn't change my mind, and she didn't get one.

"You know, my life is so much better this year, and do you know why that is?" my 16-year-old daughter asked my husband and me as we sat around the dinner table recently.

I raised my eyebrows at her, knowing what was coming next.

"It's my phone!" she exclaimed. "My life got so much better with my phone; I don't know why you made me wait so long!"

Here's the thing: I was — and am — firmly in the "mean mom" camp of a parent who delayed giving my teenage daughters smartphones. I didn't have any arbitrary, set-in-stone rules about when they would get smartphones, but for various reasons, my oldest daughter did not get a full smartphone until she entered high school.

There were many reasons she didn't get one earlier

I could list some of the reasons. My kids attended a very small, private school during their elementary years before transferring to a public school, so phones weren't the norm. She became a teenager during the pandemic and did virtual school for two years, so she was home with me and there was no real need for a phone. Her father works at the same school she now attends, so again, there wasn't a huge, pressing need for me to have a way to contact her — but overall, I didn't see a need to rush into changing all of our lives by opening Pandora's box of a smartphone.

My daughter is the oldest of five children, and I knew that once I introduced smartphones to my kids, it would set a precedent for the rest. Plus, there was no going back, so I wasn't in a hurry.

She made a presentation to try to convince me

That didn't stop my daughter from constantly pleading and begging for a phone. In 7th grade, she even designed a downright impressive infographic to convince me to get her a phone or at least an iPod (which some of her friends from her old school had at the time).

"Knowing my mom, I thought if I seemed professional about it and could write a whole presentation about it, they would cave," my daughter said of her decision to make the infographic. And I have to admit, she was professional with her presentation, hitting some major aspects of phone ownership, including:

  • A valid reason for communicating with friends that the phone would provide
  • Her role as a phone owner
  • An offer to help fund the phone with her own money
  • Having ownership of something as the oldest with more responsibilities on her shoulders

Although I was deeply impressed with her infographic, it didn't make me change my mind. I didn't feel that her need to fit in was greater than my wish to preserve the advantages of a phone-free childhood for as long as possible.

When I talk to my daughter now, I do feel some regret that she felt left out from her peers without a phone, especially because she went through the very difficult process of transferring from a small private school to a much larger public school, where she knew only a few other students.

She got a phone when she was in high school

Eventually, I decided that it was time for my daughter to get a phone, largely because she was in high school and had joined a varsity sport, and I felt that she and I were both ready to navigate this new step together.

To make things horribly unfair for her, I also got her sister — who is two years younger — a phone at the same time. Again, I had my reasons for that, in wanting them to be able to talk to each other, sports, school resuming, and, of course, the family plan appeal.

I will fully admit that my oldest daughter got the full "eldest daughter" treatment by waiting longer than her sister.

I can't say with 100% confidence that I made the right decision about delaying phones for our family — if such a thing as a "right" decision exists at all in parenting — but I followed my gut as best I could, and I still feel firmly that a phone-free existence can be a gift in many ways.

Today, my daughter is thrilled to be connected with a phone, but she also admits that there are some drawbacks to life with a phone. "With social media, sometimes I feel like I have to answer on Snapchat or compare myself with other girls," she told me.

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