The Last Girl on Earth Without a Cell Phone

My preteen daughter, 10 years old, going into 6th grade this September, frequently claims to be the last girl on earth without a cell phone.  This comment is generally met by a slightly sarcastic remark from me, such as  “You poor deprived child” or “That’s because it’s my goal in life to make you miserable” or “I’m sure you’re not the ONLY girl without a cell phone”.  Sometimes I even roll my eyes (and then I wonder where she gets that annoying little habit!)  She’s been bugging me for a couple of years to get her a phone, but lately this has intensified.  She claims I am overprotective.  Sometimes she declares I am the meanest mom ever.   But I do have my reasons.

She rarely uses the house phone- if she’s not calling people from home, who’s she going to call from her cell phone?  We have a rule- she can get a cell phone when she enters junior high in a year, or if we feel she needs one before then (if I’m dropping her off for long stretches at one of her activities- not the case right now) and in that case the phone would be for MY convenience and peace of mind- so that I can reach her when she’s away from me.  Which right now is hardly ever.  And texting is out.

My daughter’s two closest friends have phones, but I thought that was more the exception rather than the rule, and one of those girls has already had a “situation” with texting, where she was the victim of some bullying.  I feel my daughter is too young and immature to handle something like that.

So wasn’t I surprised, then, to find that in our Girl Scout troop, she is one of only 2 girls who do not have cell phones!  And of the 8 who do, 7 have unlimited texting (and the other one hates her phone for not having it and doesn’t understand why her mother won’t allow it!)  One girl is actually on her second phone already.  All this talk just gave my kid more fuel for the fire.

Am I really that far behind the times?  Do I cave to “peer pressure” from the girl scout group of parents and get my kid a phone?  Does a not-quite-11 year old girl really need a phone, and if so, WHY?

I’d love to hear from other moms.  Am I overprotective?  Mean?  Are you a mean mom, too?

Looking for Suggestions

I’m looking for some help.  I’ve got an idea for a family bonding experience.  Our get togethers aren’t as lively as I’d like, and usually I’m placed at a dinner table next to my dear step-grandma, an intelligent, kind woman, who loves to tell me all the latest antics of people I’ve never met.  She gets offended if I interrupt to say, “Now, who is Randy again?” and she’ll say, “Don’t you remember?  He’s Kenny’s 2nd cousin’s husband, the one from Fresno?  With the son who is a blackjack dealer in Reno?  I mentioned him at Christmas!” and then she resumes the story as my eyes glaze over, not daring to ask who Kenny might be.

So, back to my idea.  There are 8 of us- 4 couples- ranging in age from 29 to 87.  Three of us, including the oldest two, are Japanese Americans.  The oldest couple are first generation Japanese Americans who actually remember being in the internment camps in Central California during World War II as children.  The youngest of us is my brother’s longtime girlfriend.  She is a first generation Chinese American.  4 of us grew up in California, the rest of us are transplanted midwesterners with WASP-y heritages. The women and one of the men love to read, the rest are reluctant readers.

My idea is that I’d choose a book for all of us to read and discuss.  I’d give the books out as gifts on Mother’s Day (the next time we’ll all be in the same room at the same time) and we’d discuss the book on Father’s Day.  The reluctant readers might receive an audio book.

My dilemma– what book would appeal to a group with such wide differences in age and backgrounds? Does a book like that exist?  I’m looking for suggestions.  Please let me know what you think.