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July 19, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

I Took Away My Son’s Cell Phone and He Thanked Me for It

I love cell phones, but I'm tired of the tether to my soul. I want to breathe, see the world around me, relish in the moment. I am the master of my phone, not the other way around!

As soon as you put a cell phone into your kid’s hand … he begins slipping away from you.


    Truth and full disclosure. I kid you not, if your boy is actually relieved when you take away his precious lifeline to social life, you know something’s up. We blindly gave our boy a cell phone in seventh grade following the beat of other parents who rationalized it this way: If he’s on a road trip with sports, he’ll be able to get ahold of us. If he’s out of our sights, he’ll be able to get a hold of us. If he can’t breathe, he’ll be able to get ahold of us.

    Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. It’s easy to borrow a cell phone from a coach or anybody else for that matter in this day and age.

    We all now know the earlier you give your kid a cell phone the sooner the battle for all other endeavors begins. Reading. Conversation. Old-fashioned play. Homework. Practices. Attention. Meanwhile, we can’t be hypocrites about our tech use. If you tell your kids to stop using their devices so much, you’d better be modeling some self-control, too.
     My boy’s phone was Snapchat pinging at 12 a.m. on a weeknight. That must’ve been what he was doing at night until I insisted all phones get kitchen docked at bed time. That must’ve been why he was waking up exhausted.
     I’ve come to my senses. And I think a lot of us are waking up. It’s trending. We want richer, more meaningful lives for ourselves and our kids — sans technology. Enough already!
     There’s a certain freedom in cutting back from our tech use — once you get over the hurdle of boredom that means addiction. Almost as soon as we took away our boy’s phone, we felt like we had him back. In a weird sort of way he actually thanked me for it.
But I’m caught up in my tech use, too. My boy often calls my name over and over again until I look up. You know what I mean, right?
Imagine what it will be like for our kids to get our undivided attention because we’ve mindfully put our phones away for family time. Amazing.

About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this award-winning publication and all-things Nashville Parent digital creative. She's also an Equity actress, screenwriter and a mom of four amazing kids.