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January 20, 2017

I’M NOT ALLOWED TO GET A PHONE UNTIL COLLEGE!!!

Ask Nikki Blog Art For Jan 19th

Hi Nikki!  I have a big problem. I’m not allowed to have my own phone until I am in COLLEGE! I’ve tried everything—from begging my mom to doing extra chores—but it won’t work! She just won’t get me a phone! What should I do?

Phoneless And Frustrated

Hi Phoneless And Frustrated,

Okay, I can TOTALLY relate to this problem! I mean, you’ve read my books, right???

But until college….wow. That IS a long time to wait!

I think the main thing is to figure out WHY your parents are being so strict about this. Knowing why might give you some ways to try to convince them otherwise.

So, here are some reasons they might have, and some ideas to go with them:

Your parents might be concerned about the costs of a cell phone and the monthly plan. ESPECIALLY if you have siblings. Because a whole bunch of cell phone plans would add up really quickly. This is a fair concern. But it’s also probably the easiest one to work with!

I mean, it’s obvious, right? You need to offer to help pay for it! Or maybe even pay for it entirely. (And before you freak out, as long as you’re not attached to having the latest, fanciest phone, there are some options that are still smart phones but don’t cost your entire college savings.)

So, unless you’re already sitting on loads of money, you need to make a plan. Do research to figure out what monthly plans cost for your needs. Figure out what you can do to earn extra money—babysitting, lawn-mowing, tutoring? Then present your parents with a well-organized proposal of how you would manage to pay for a cell phone, or how much of it you could pay for and how much you’d need from them.

Of course, cost might not be their issue. It might be more about your safety. This is fair. I mean, cyberbullying is real. Kids harass each other online. At the most extreme of safety concerns, there are creeps out there who pose as people they’re not and you do NOT want to get mixed up with them!

So if this is their deal, it’s all about making sure your parents have access to what you’re doing on your phone. There are parental controls they can put on your phone to be able to read your texts and social media accounts, and monitor what websites you’re visiting. If this seems like a HUGE invasion of your privacy…well, that’s understandable. I guess it depends on how badly you want the phone. And, if you want it for stuff you don’t want your parents to know about…they might actually have a point. (Sorry!) So again, do some research. Show them the different controls they could have on your phone to be sure you’re safe. If they see you’re willing to be open about your phone usage, that might help change their minds.

Also, the argument can be made that a cell phone makes you SAFER because if you get in a sticky situation, you’re able to call for help. As long as there are some smart limits and controls on the phone, you could carefully make this point to your parents. (Though definitely DON’T make it sound like they’re putting you in danger by NOT letting you have a phone!!)

The other thing your parents might be concerned about is too much screen time. Older generations seem really freaked out by how much time our generation spends on screens, whether they’re phones, tablets, or computers. They want us to talk to each other or something. ☺

They don’t fully understand that we ARE talking to each other when we’re using our devices. And I don’t know, maybe they have a point here, but I sympathize with this point less than the other two. Because hey! I’m fourteen and I love my phone!!! ☺

But if that’s their deal, maybe you could come up with some sort of agreement—and sign a contract with your parents—about how and when you’ll use your phone. Like no phones at the dinner table. Or no phone until you’re done with your homework, or after a certain hour at night, etc., etc. If they see you’re willing to limit your time on the phone, they might relax.

It’s probably not just one of these things, but some combination of them. And maybe other things I’m not even thinking of. If you’re thoughtful about your parents’ concerns and come to them willing to compromise, you might be able to convince them you’re responsible and ready for a phone.

And, you might not. Be ready for that. They’re your parents and it’s their call. It might not matter how prepared you are with research, responsibility and promises.

But, all you can do is try! I’m rooting for you! We all are!!

If YOUR parents are reluctant to give you a new phone, how do you deal with it? Or, how did you convince them to give you one?