Your Middle Schooler Doesn’t Need A Cell Phone

This morning I received an email from the middle school principal where Number 3 and 4 go to school.

In the email, the principal was asking for parents’ help in a number of areas. One was with fidget spinners.  They’ve become quite a distraction at school.

I’ll admit I contributed to this problem. Number 3 and 4  both have (fucking) fidget spinners. I sincerely regret getting them for the kids, especially since they don’t use them for the purpose they were originally intended. They don’t need them. At all.

And if I hate them, I can only imagine how teachers are feeling right now.

So the fidget spinners have been relegated to home. And we have already completely lost one. Thank God.

The next thing the principal was looking for help with was cell phones:

Our goal is to minimize distractions during the day. To do this, we ask students not to be actively on or looking at cell phones during the day unless they are in the cafeteria or a classroom where teachers allow it. We also ask that you refrain from texting your child during the school day.

These have also become a distraction at school.

Okay. I’m just gonna come right out and say two things.

First, middle schoolers should not be allowed to have cell phones in school. There is absolutely no reason for them. None.

They still have those “old fashioned” phones there. You know, the ones with cords attached to them? I can attest that they work. My kids use them to communicate successfully with me all the time.

Second, your middle schooler doesn’t need a phone not just in school.

Your middle schooler doesn’t need a phone at all. Period.


I said it.

Your ten/eleven/twelve/thirteen/ and YES, EVEN fourteen-year-old kid doesn’t need a cell phone.

But I’m divorced and my ex is an asshole and I need to be able to get in touch with my kid.

Perhaps in some cases, this is true. There may be some situations where you must be able to get in touch with your child on a cell phone because your ex prevents any and all communication otherwise.

If that’s the case, then sure. Get your kid a cell phone.

But not a smart phone.


In fact, nobody NEEDS a smartphone.


I don’t know about you, but I can’t stay on top of my kids as it is. Once I put a smartphone in their hands, I’ve got a multitude of new responsibilities.

I’ve now got all sorts of shit I need to monitor in addition to the non-smartphoney stuff.

There’s You Tube. Google. Those are bad enough.

Then there are a billion apps.

There are the ones I know about. Like, say, Snapchat.

Your kids are supposed to be 13 to open up a Snapchat account. But your kids aren’t stupid. They can lie, make up an age, and open an account very easily. They know this.

I know because my kids have done it. On an iPod.

But then there are the apps I’ve never even heard of.

Did you know there’s an app called Private Photos (also called Calculator%)? I just learned about this one today. Here’s the description:

Private Photo (Calculator%) app is private photos and videos hidden behind calculator. Anyone who starts this application looks at a calculator but if you put in passcode it will open up private area. All files are securely stored in the App and remain completely private and confidential.

That’s fucking scary.

I also learned about a new challenge circulating around social media now called the Blue Whale Challenge. This challenge is basically a list of fifty dares encouraging kids to do participate in risky behaviors (like sitting on the edge of a roof) with  the final item on the list asking participants to kill themselves.

This is a real thing.

A real fucking scary thing.

If you are putting a smartphone in the hands of your children, then you are opening up Pandora’s Box. And if you aren’t prepared to deal with the shit that’s gonna come flying out of that box, then don’t put your kids in a position to be exposed to it. Because once your kids finds out about it, she’s gonna tell my kid about it.

And I don’t want my kid finding out about stuff he or she has no business knowing about because you don’t want to say no to your kids.

I know it sucks to say no. I know kids are relentless.

Trust me, I know it’s no fun to hear But I’m the ONLY ONE in the WHOLE SCHOOL who doesn’t have a cell phone/Instagram-Facebook-Twitter-Musicly account.

I guarantee you are not the only whose middle schoolers don’t have cell phones.

I guarantee that because my kids don’t have them. And they won’t have them until they are mature enough and responsible enough to own them.

When will they be mature enough and responsible enough to own them?

When they can pay for them.

If my kids are not responsible enough to earn the money to buy their own phone and pay the monthly bill, then they are not responsible enough to deal with the contents of Pandora’s Box.

We so easily confuse wants and needs with our children.

Your child may want a cell phone.

But your child does not need access to Google twenty-four hours a day.

Your child does not need to be able to text her friends constantly.

Your child does not need  Snapchat or Musicly or Instagram.

In fact, your child does not need any apps at all.

What does your child need?

Your child needs human interaction.

Your child needs to learn how to hold a conversation.

Your child needs to learn how to make eye contact.

Your child needs to learn how to communicate with their friends and people in general the old fashioned way.

In person.

Crazy 8 Sale On Now!




I got a new phone. Please don’t call me on it. Ever.

Yesterday I spent all afternoon cleaning my room.

It had been a while.



It was a disaster.

And Mo can vouch for that.

It was so bad I even washed the curtains.

And the dustruffle.

So today was a little crazy.

I had some catching up to do.

I had to workout.

I had a post planned, but I just couldn’t get to it.

Everything was taking longer than I thought it would.

And yesterday I dropped my phone for like the 97th time.

My screen has been shattered for a while now, but yesterday’s drop put it over the edge.

So adding getting a new phone into the mix kind of threw a wrench into things.

A little bit after 4 p.m., as I was finally about to sit down at the computer, the phone rang.

My phone has been ringing for the past 36 hours, but since I completely broke the screen, I haven’t been able to answer it.

I figured now that I had a new phone, I’d better take the call.

I thought the call was from one person.

But it was totally a different person.

Had I known who it was, I probably wouldn’t have answered the call.

Now I couldn’t hang up.

It turned into quite a conversation.

Thirty nine minutes long.

I need to tell you about it.

But that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Because as I got off the phone, I heard giggling.




Water running?

Water. Running.

And then,

I smelled something.

Baby powder.






I followed the smell of the powder.

When I got to my room, there were plumes of powder clouds shooting out from underneath my door.

I thought about just turning around and making a run for it.

But I opened the door.

And found this:


If you need to reach me, just send a text.

I won’t be answering the phone (but I will be cleaning my room), for the next 3 or 4 years.


I’ll keep writing, you keep voting!


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Seeds of Yesterday

Technology sure is making it evident how quickly things are changing.

Yesterday I walked into the kitchen and heard part of a conversation between my husband and Number 2.

Number 2 was trying to explain a picture he saw on facebook or someplace on the internet.

It was one of those “then” and “now” pictures.

“On one side, there was a picture of an iphone,

and on the other side –”

I waited for him to explain a phone along the lines of this:


and then he said,

“and on the other side,



But it’s not just the technology.

It’s food too.

The other day I bought a watermelon.

It was super cheap.

I thought I had scored such a bargain.

Then I cut it open,

and it was full of seeds.

No wonder it was so cheap.

I didn’t really care.

But the kids had never seen a watermelon with seeds in it before.

When I was a kid we had fun spitting those suckers out.

Having contests.

Watermelon eating and seed spitting went hand in hand.

Well Number 3 saw the inside of that watermelon and yelled,

“What is wrong with that watermelon?


He wanted me to pick every seed out.

Which I refused to do.

And he, in turn, refused to eat it.

But the real kicker for me was the carrots.

I always buy the 5 pound bag of baby carrots from Costco.

They are a staple in this house.

Not too long ago, I decided to buy regular, old school carrots.

You know, these:


The bag of them was on the counter.

Number 4 came into the kitchen, took one look at them, and yelled,



The flip phone doesn’t bother me so much.

But the fact that my kids don’t know what a fucking regular carrot looks like kind of disturbs me.

It’s time to get back to the basics.

Time to plant some lettuce.

Because now that I think of it,

I’m sure my kids think that stuff grows pre-cut,

in its own plastic bag.