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3 Reasons I don’t let my kids play with my phone

July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. I’m not sure why cell phones need a month of their very own, but they have one. The subject of kids and cell phones can be touchy: Should kids have cell phones and, if so, when? And then there’s the mom who is busy tap-tap-tapping away on her screen while her kids are swinging from the monkey bars… it seems everyone has something to say about her.

So, in honor of National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, here are three reasons I don’t let my kids play with my cell phone. I see this happening all over the place — a mother hands her iPhone to her toddler to keep her quiet during a shopping trip or while waiting at the doctor’s office. You won’t catch me doing that and here’s why.

1. Kids don’t need electronic entertainment 24/7

I am all for using the iPad as a babysitter on occasion. We bought a loaded-up minivan with a DVD player specifically to keep sanity and peace during any car trip lasting more than 45 minutes. Better living through electronics has kept the meltdowns at bay more than once in my life. More than 20 times. Maybe more. And when I talk about meltdowns, I mean me. That said, we need to teach our kids that electronics aren’t the automatic Band-Aid for boredom. There are plenty of portable toys and games that can occupy your darlings through a trip to the supermarket. And besides, whatever happened to “I Spy”?

2. My phone is more than just my phone

I actually don’t remember the last time I made a call on my cell phone. I’ve texted, tweeted, taken pictures and made purchases, but actual phone calls where I speak to another human? That has been a while. If you’re like most parents, your address book has been replaced by the contacts section in your phone. And remember those little photo albums our mothers used to carry around with our pictures tucked inside plastic protectors? We have that too, only it’s called “Gallery.”

My phone contains all sorts of valuable information that might or might not be easily replaceable if a certain 4-year-old got overzealous with the button-pushing when he was trying to get to the next level of Angry Birds. Losing data that’s important to me wins over keeping my child entertained.

3. It’s my phone

Since my phone serves so many purposes (camera, photo storage, address book, list repository, etc.), I splurged and got the expensive model. As a mom, I am resigned to sharing a lot of my stuff with my kids, but my phone is not one of those things. I’d rather wheel a screaming child through the aisles of Target than risk lost data, sticky Nutella fingerprints and kiddie drool on my smartphone. Some of my personal possessions are off-limits to my kids and I’m absolutely fine with them learning that lesson early.

Besides, I’m a mom. I can handle a little screaming.

More on parenting

Things you say that make you sound like your mom
Parenting controls for cell phone safety
How long could you survive without your cell phone?

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