Fourteen good reasons why little kids don't need cell phones
This from Hillary Russ in the Cape Cod Times: "A local schoolgirl took prank calling to a new low yesterday when she dialed 911 with disturbing fake calls more than a dozen times." While riding home on the school bus, she repeatedly told the state police that "someone was going to die."
It must have been a rough day in school.
It turns out that more than 30% of 911 calls in Massachusetts are non-emergencies and about 5% are "threatening, aggravating, abusive or harassing to the police." Laws on "aggravated 911 nonemergency calls" vary from state to state. Fortunately, the parents were upset and apologetic and this happened in the Bay State. The police chief had the sense to conclude that it was "probably more important to re-educate the kids on the importance of not crying wolf" than it was to press charges.
Why has this story made it to a personal finance blog?
As all of us can see these days, it isn't entirely possible to separate personal finance from the state of the economy -- regionally, nationally, globally. The state of the economy affects the state of our personal finances. The combined choices that each of us makes affects the economy. Every spiritual tradition teaches us that we are much less separate than many of us feel ourselves to be.
The 7-year-old's calls went from the state police, to local police and the phone number was traced. The police reacted with appropriate concern and utilized their resources appropriately.
Should a 7-year-old have a cell phone? More often than not, the answer is probably, "no." If she does have a phone, is she mature enough to have one and does she have it for the right reasons? If your child is carrying a phone, be sure it isn't because cell phones are the latest status toy. Be sure (s)he understands how, when and why it's okay to use the phone.
If she doesn't absolutely require the phone, invest the money.