Teaching Kids to Use Common Sense

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Teaching Kids Common Sense

I am still sitting here having trouble believing this is even an issue. For the last several weeks, my 10 year old son kept asking, "Mom can I take my iPod ($200) to school for reward day?" (Yes, he earned the money he used to buy it himself.)

I kept thinking that he must have misunderstood the teacher and I said "We will wait until we hear from your teacher".

We got a permission slip from school Friday saying that the kids can bring any portable electronic device to school as a reward for getting high scores on the state assessment tests, including laptops!

I am just shaking my head thinking "you’ve got to be kidding me!" What kind of people let kids bring $200 + electronics to school?

I went and talked to the teacher to ask if there were alternative "rewards" for the kids if the parent won’t allow expensive electronics to be brought to school. She said that the kids can bring a board game or something like that.



I asked, "Am I the only parent who has a problem with kids bringing a $200 iPod to school?"

She said, "Well, I do have a large stack of signed permission slips."

I said, "You’ve got to be kidding me!"

She said, "The kids got to vote on their choice of rewards and they voted on the electronic devices."

Why was it even an option?!!!!

Then she said "This does prepare to start being responsible for things in middle school, since they will be taking things like ipods and cell phones."

Ok, I am sorry but is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard!

Now we have to teach our kids that not all "rewards" that teachers choose are responsible choices and to help them choose proper rewards.

We talked to our son and told him that just because the teacher thinks this is ok doesn’t mean it’s a smart thing to do. We asked him if it was worth losing $200 for the opportunity of playing with it 45 minutes at school? He said "no." I hope that helps him put it into perspective.

My whole point in this, other than venting, is to tell you if you have young kids start teaching them now. When these things come up, teach your children how to deal with these things and how to make the right choices. In two years when he is in middle school he will know that a cell phone will not be appropriate even if everyone else has one.

BTW, we did say we would try and think of another reward for him. He asked, "Can I have a donut from Dillons (our local Kroger store)?" We said sure! A .40 donut is much better than a broken or stolen $200 ipod!

So… Would you let your kid take a $200 ipod to school?


PS. This was written a couple of years ago. BJ is now in middle school and doesn’t even care that he is almost the only one who doesn’t bring a cell phone or other electronic devices to school. He is appalled that the kids are willing to chance losing them and can’t even figure out why they think they need one.


Mike’s Two Cents: I just had to weigh in on this one. I think we do our kids a disservice when we give them phones and other expensive objects that "everybody" just has to have. When we do that, what we’re teaching them is that since everybody else is doing it, they should do it, too. This is contrary to what we tell them about peer pressure and inconsistency confuses kids. Also, spending a lot of time with portable electronics, especially smart phones and Internet connected iPods teaches kids how to be good consumers/buyers but doesn’t teach them how to do anything constructive.

Part of teaching financial responsibility is teaching your kids that they don’t have to have every cool item that comes along. It’s good for them to hear "no" sometimes. Our rule is that if the kids want something like the iPod, they have to make the money themselves and buy it from their money. They are much more careful deciding how to spend the money when they have to generate it themselves. This doesn’t mean that we allow them to buy anything if they have the money, either. Some electronics, like phones, are items we have told them we will not allow as long as they live with us. Our view is that as parents we should do everything we can to protect them while we’re responsible for them and to teach them how to make responsible decisions when they’re on their own.

Smart phones just allow too much access to harmful things that parents can’t protect against. I heard a dad at the YMCA the other day telling another dad that he pays for his 14 year old daughter’s iPhone but she won’t let him see what she’s doing with it, who she’s in communication with or what she’s looking at on the Internet. Who is the parent here? I can’t think of a clearer indication that something is amiss then when dad isn’t allowed to see her phone (that he’s paying for, no less). I’d bet that later, if she gets into serious trouble, he’ll be surprised that it could happen…


photo by: mukluk


  1. Jennifer says

    I won’t let my kid have an ipod, so I guess they won’t be taking it too school. I just think mine are too young, my oldest is almost 10, but still. I think that is too young.

  2. Anonymous says

    Personally, I don’t think a 10 year old should own an expensive electronic device – you were generous to let him buy it with his own money. I don’t understand why or how a 10 year old owns a lap top and a Blackberry pager. You’re right in not allowing him to bring it to school; it can only end in tears when the ipod is broken, stolen or lost. I graduated from college (and paid my own way through) in 1991 and I didn’t even own a computer!!! I typed my papers on a typewriter, and I can’t wait to tell my children that.

  3. Alicia says

    I agree that is ridiculous. Wait until the school has to deal w/the calls from the parents complaining about stolen and/or broken equipment.

    At Christmas I was looking through a classmade book at my daughter’s preschool. Every child had to end the sentence about what they wanted for Christmas. Two 4-yr. olds said they wanted ipods!

    • kimber says

      our school states they can take them and they follow it up with a disclaimer that states that they “the school” is not responsible if is broken, stolen, etc. nice hum!!! they want me to teach my kid to be responsible but they don’t want to be responsible, but they dont want to be responsible for their putting my kid in a bad position because he is the one of the kids that doesn’t have one and won’t get one. then is bullied about it! nice hum!

  4. Anonymous says

    Whatever happened to popcorn and a movie for a reward? Or extra recess? You are to be commended for taking a stand!

  5. Ohiomom9977 says

    The electronics seem to be for the younger and younger now. I’ve seen several 11-12 yr olds with cell phones. I have a 12 year old (much younger) brother who does not have one and is about the only one of his friends. My mom says she’s just too old to buy into all that nonsense – and the fact that she can’t afford it. No way would I let a kid take a $200 anything to school!!

  6. Katrina says

    Not in a million years!!!!!!! What a damn stupid thing, I bet they needed persmission slips signed, did it also have a bit saying it is not the schools fault if they get stolen? I can see there being a problem if a teacher gave permission to take them to school then something happens to it.
    Not in a pink fit would my kid take something of that value to school (not that mine own anything worth that much but you get the idea)

  7. Mama of 2 says

    I completely agree with you. I can’t tell you how many times my son has asked to bring his gameboy to school with him. The answer has always been no. It’s not even that I just don’t want it to get lost, stolen or broken but I don’t believe it’s appropriate. Kids should be playing, stretching their minds by using their imaginations not getting stimulation from some electronic device.
    If I could get rid of all of my son’s video games and systems I would.

    • Birdie says

      I think that it is so hard to return to “before yes”. We have a land line, no cell, no hand held games. Very limited internet with limited game treats. I know that we are soo old fashion and our kids will hold it against us :-) Only if you can let others manipulate you into guilt.

  8. Tawra Jean says

    Ok, I just realized that I didn’t explain why my 10 year old has an ipod.

    Well, he earned it. We are not a anti-technology family. My kids don’t own any video games but they play games on the computer. We do have Direct TV but are about 90% we are going to disconnect it this summer when our contract is up.

    BJ worked an entire year saving his money. After “thinking” on it for an additional 4 months he still really wanted it.

    We figured that if he worked that hard, waited that long that it would be fine.

    We figure we would rather he learn money lessons on a $200 ipod instead of a $200,000 dumb house buy in 10 years.

    What’s funny is we asked Elly “Do you want to save up for one?” She said “no, I’ll just use yours” LOL She’s learned the art of leveraging other people’s money already. hehehe
    That’s my girl! :-)


  9. Anonymous says

    TOTALLY AGREE! My son is 14 and he STILL is not responsible enough to take one to school. He got a used iPod for Christmas. He was told explicitly and repeatedly: DO NOT TAKE IT TO SCHOOL. One day we were sitting in the bleachers at his football game and his friend brought my son’s iPod to me, saying my son had left it at school. (!!) I’d already taken it away once, when he disobeyed the order to not touch the iPod until we could erase the previous music on it (music we did not agree with in the least). I caught him listening to the iPod that he’d snuck out of it’s hiding place, and he ‘lost’ it for several months. So what does he do when he gets it back but sneak it to school? So we sold the thing. I’d rather he learn that lesson than it’s ok to do whatever you want. No way do I condone that item going to school. Regardless of your own kid’s responsibility, the sad fact remains that OTHER kids do not have respect for anything that does not belong to them. It isn’t even your kid you have to worry about sometimes. You did the right thing, Tawra. Sometimes we parents have to overcome our children’s inherit idiocy for their own good LOL

  10. basketmaster says

    I do understand your frustration with the school. With that said, I have let my 15 year old freshman take her iPOD to school. It clips onto her belt loop and then goes in her pocket. It is on her body at all times. She is only allowed to use it on the bus and at lunch time. She takes a cell phone as well and keeps it in her pocket at all times with the rules of using it on the bus only. I know it is a gamble with her taking these things to school, but we do know how responsible our daughter is.

  11. Anonymous says

    I think that is obsurd. I have an eight year old and I would not let him take it to school. Even though he might have bought it with his own allowance, A lot of other kids do not know how to take care of their stuff. I would be afraid he would lose it.

  12. Anonymous says


    You don’t need to explain why your son has an IPOD. My goodness, if he earned it, then thank you for teaching him the value of his investment. Did not you and your husband save for a long time to get something valuable to you, like a car? This is perspective…I congratulate you. My daughter is going on a school trip this year that she earned on HER OWN with babysitting money because it meant so much to her. She raised funds babysitting to do this. What value can a parent add to the dollar more than that? it was a goal and she met that goal.

    Now, would I let my kids take the IPOD to school for a special “reward day?” Much goes into the thought considering the school district, the teacher’s organization, and the children who are involved in the celebration. And by the way, is this a day where Moms are there to help make the day special therefore lending extra “eyes?”

    I respond from a mother’s perspective, who would say, “THis is so important to you, and you have worked so hard to achieve ownership of this. I can’t see you taking a risk to put this in danger of being stolen or damaged.”

    From a teacher’s perspective, I see myself saying, “I am your protector when you are in my classroom, and I will make sure that all is protected and cared for when you are here with me. If the class thinks this is a fun reward, then let us do it.” With this said, can you trust the teacher? There lies your question.

    Two points of view to consider. Can you be there on that day as a volunteer to let him have the reward and still be there to keep a watchful eye?

    Consider that if it means much to your son.

    Robin in CA

  13. Anonymous says

    Everything gets stolen in middle school so definitely make it a “no” to anything expensive then. My 14-year-old son has had 2 pair of black shorts stolen within 3 months. They are required to have black shorts for PE. He swears that people steal them from his PE locker and that he will get a bad grade if he doesn’t have any more black shorts to change into. I told him that if the teachers have a problem with me not buying yet another pair of black shorts, let them buy them. I’m tired of supplying the middle school with clothes, let alone expensive electronic devices!

    Stephanie in GA

  14. Anonymous says

    I do understand where you are coming from, but if it is his, why not trust him to take care of it? My son was 13 when he bought a 300 dollar ipod after saving money form his paper route. He had it just four days and was riding his bike on his route with the ipod. It fell out of his pocket and when he turned around to get it where it landed along side the road, a car ran over it. He came home in tears, but saved again for one. Hmm…now it was his 600 dollar ipod! He is now 16 and very responsible and a hard worker. I think the decision should be his.

  15. Jennifer says

    I totally agree with you. My son is 8 and their class treat is to bring a board game and NOT any electronic devise. I would not let him take anything of that much value to school. It is too much of a temption for someone else to steal it.
    And the cell phone thing drives me nots. I see children no younger than my child with cell phones. My view is you should always know where your child is and the phone number of the place they are at. It is a rule in our house that when they start driving by themselves they are allowed to get a cell phone but NOT any earlier.
    Parents today are just giving kids stuff to “buy” there love. I was not given things on a silver platter and niether will my children. They will have to earn their things in life. It did not kill me and I’m sure that my kids will survive too.
    Jennifer, South Carolina

  16. Anonymous says


    Don’t try to defend yourself about letting your child have an Ipod. Give me a break, he earned the money himself, and even if he didn’t, it’s a parenting decision you made. You shouldn’t be berated because you let your son have the Ipod. What’s the big deal, anyway??

    Sorry to vent but I get so sick of people passing judgement!!

  17. Anonymous says

    No, expensive item would go to school, as described, with my child. Having just had freshman orientation, and having been told that cell phones are NOT to be at school at all (but they will let them keep the phone in the car or locked locker for after school activities) or any i pods etc, per our state ed depart I wonder about the mixed message we all get. BTW, we took the text capacity off our phones. The text feature seems to be the main problem with the schools also. As soon as the contract is up (Fall 08) we are looking for one phone to use for er or school trip type events. I will be reviewing all infor you have in five months on this.
    For rewards, throwing out 3-5 reasonable ideas, that any income bracket can meet to choose from sounds like a good plan for this age. Boy, you live in a high income area, my child would not be able to come to school that day.

  18. Husker Kim says

    We don’t allow our middle schooler to take i-pods or game boys to school.
    However, he DOES have a cell phone that we pay for. It is a security/safety issue. We have a car pool with another family–the Mom is not always 100% reliable, his school isn’t in a great area, and I need to know that he can get in touch with my husband or I if he needs us. His minutes are monitored and he is not allowed to use the phone during the school day. When he was younger, I didn’t think that a cell phone would be necessary–but as he got older and I have seen the reality of middle school–it is what it is. My husband was a military brat and I came from a small town–we didn’t deal with the realities of a large “inner city” school.

    He is a great kid–takes all of the AP classes and gets A’s and B+ for grades.

    Please don’t assume that just because we allow the cell phone we are indulgent. You haven’t walked a mile in our shoes.

    thanks for letting me share!

  19. Tawra Jean says

    I did not assume that all cell phones are a waste. In your case that is reasonable. But that is not the case in 80-90% of the kids who have them.

  20. Anonymous says

    oh absolutely not!… you are soo right!… my son (who is now 18) when he was in middle school lots of the kids were taking their game boys and cell phones and etc to school… the classes were so large and only 1 teacher that alot of the time the teacher didnt realize the students were playing on their gameboys and not doing the work…
    my son knew i used to check his book bag b4 he left the house …
    i used to let him play his game boy when i drove him to school but when he got out of the car, the game boy was left with me… and as far as a cell phone goes, nope nope nope… who would he talk to? all of his friends were at school and in the same classes as him…
    i thought it was odd too when i saw parents letting their kids take those things to school or maybe the parents didnt really know…
    i know that i kept a close eye on my son bc he used to ask me if it was ok for this or that and if i said no, i still checked his pockets and book bag… not that i didnt trust him bc we did raise him right but that peer pressure and temptation was too great bc yes, he was one of the “uncool” kids bc he didnt have a cell phone or whatever the electronic device was that other kids had (be it game boy or something else at the time)…
    tawra, you and mike are doing the right thing but telling your son he needs to keep his $200 electronic device at home where it cant be stolen or broke…

  21. marci357 says

    NO! As a previous mid-school secretary, I would have to say NO to sending any type of electronic equipment to school. These things get stolen so often! (At school, from their locker, during lunch, on the bus, etc…) And depending on the value of it, the police often have to be called in to deal with it. Of course, if one is ok with having it stolen or lost, then I’d say go ahead and take it.

    Just because the other kids’ parents allow it doesn’t mean it is right, and doesn’t mean you should have to. You always have that right to do what you feel is best for your child.

    The exception (in my book) would be a cell phone for emergency parent contact. Most schools have a no-cell-phone use rule, except before and after school. With only one office phone for over 350 kids to use for emergencies, (schedule changes for practices, etc) after school cell phone use made sense.

  22. Anonymous says

    There’s no way I’d let a child that young take something so expensive to school.

    When my son was in Kindergarten and 1st grade, pogs were a big thing. Someone got in his backpack and stole the really nice metal pog he had. Then they stole his wallet. We knew the boy who stole the wallet. His dad called to say his son had found it. Everything was there but the two dollars he had in it. I didn’t say anything to the dad, because I know the boy would have gotten beat.

    Those are just small things. Now think about a $200 ipod or a laptop. Good grief!!!

  23. Maggie says

    The way I see it is that if a kid saved $200 and was allowed to spend it on a piece of electronics instead of putting it into savings, he should be allowed to do whatever he wants with it. It is his.

    My daughter wants an MP3 player, and she’s getting one for her birthday. It is made by SanDisk and cost me $35. I asked her for three reasons that an iPod is better than other brands of MP3 players and she couldn’t give me a single one. The lesson she is learning is that it is silly to waste $200 just to get a trendy, temperamental, easily damaged piece of electronics when she could get something that works better for a fraction of the cost. If she wants to take it to school and lose it, so be it. She’ll wait until the next birthday before she gets another one.

    Teaching financial responsibility to children doesn’t stop at making them save up for things.

  24. Holly says

    I agree with your decision, Tawra.
    I will say, my dd is only 7 and her father got her a cell phone. It’s on him when he gets an expensive bill! I would not have gotten her one yet. We are divorced and she lives in a different city so we were eventually going to make sure that she had one, but I was going to get one of those prepaid ones that you can program in the phone numbers so she could only call her father, myself, or grandparents in an emergency. She does not have an ipod but did get a $29 Sansa mp3 player for Christmas, which she loves!
    Way to stick to your guns.

  25. Eva says

    My question to the teacher would have been, how many of those signatures did you check for authenticity? I hope those kids are to young to forge their parents’ names, or to ask an older friend/sibling to do it, but if they aren’t too young for the ipod, maybe not???

    No teacher can be responsible for the belongings of children who are not with them the entire day. There is the bus, the lunch room, the bathroom, etc, where the teacher isn’t there.

    As a former teacher, I know I could not guarantee the safety of those items unless the child were brought to the school by a parent and the device was locked in a drawer to which I alone had the key. And if the device was only removed in my presence and no one left or entered the room during the time when the items were out. At the end of the day the children would have to be picked up again by parents to whom I hand the device. Any other scenario would make it probable that something would be stolen!

    BTW, someone told me the other day that you can get ipods for $15-25 at Wal-Mart. Maybe the parents who signed agreed because they were very inexpensive?

    I also agree that there are other rewards better suited for a school atmosphere! My 5th graders always wanted and were happy with extra recess!

    If it was a cheap ipod I might let my child take it so that they could practice taking care of valuables away from me. However, I also see the value in learning not to do something just because an authority figure and my peers are condoning/doing it. I agree that you made the best choice and I am glad to hear your son saw the wisdom in not taking it!
    Blessings! Eva

  26. Husker Kim says


    You can get cheap MP3 players at Walmart. Ipods are sold at approved retailers for prices that are agreed upon by the Apple Corp. All new Ipods are sold for the same price everywhere–there is not a “cheap” way to buy a new one. Their rules–they make them up!

  27. Anonymous says

    This is an interesting discussion. Considering all the junk/filth/non-sense most children entertain themselve with on electronics, I think that unless the child is heavily supervised these devices should not be in their hands at all. I also question why they are playing around at school anyway. Kids use these devices all the time-not really such a treat to do what they do constantly. As a former school teacher I could think of thousands of better things to do that would be fun and might just teach them something at the same time!!! I see these devices as a distraction and am not sure why they are allowed in schools.In many way, I see these devices as dumbing down our children. So many have become mindless drone who seem like zombies attached to some electronic item. Children today have poor speaking, writing and communicating skills in general. Most cannot do math without an electronic device. And just do not expect a cashier to be able to give correct change without the machine telling them what to do-if something goes wrong they are without any resources as to how to function.

    But that all aside, speaking from a finacial point, why would kids this age be spending so much money anyway. I understand your son earned his own money and you have overseen the whole process and use-good for you. I am sure in many ways, because of your example he is more mature in this area so from a financial point he is more ready for such expenditures. But speaking in general terms I think it is ludicrious for children to even have access to such large amounts of money. Kids today are clueless to the value of anything and are so spoiled-they get whatever they desire and have no clue the work/cost ratio.

    I am probably much older than than most of your readers but I come from a philosophy of waiting years for most things. I was almost 40 before having a computer-I have had a total of four computers-now I have a laptop. I was a few years older when I got a cell phone. I think it helps us understand value if we have to wait to get things, especially luxuries such as computers, cell phones and other such electronic devices. Believe it or not, we can function today without all these devices hanging off our bodies. I have even made it a point of waiting for better products to come on the market. Instead of rushing out and getting the latest greatest device at the unbelievable prices they start out at, I wait and eventually they combine product and make much more effecient items that cost much less. I just got new cell phones for my husband and myself: almost $400 retail for free. I don’t get a cell phone unless it is free. My daughter on the other hand-an adult-had to have the Razor phone in pink when it first came out so she spent close to $500 and later found out that they are very fragile and hers broke and was not able to be fixed so she had to purchase a replacement!!!!!! When she wanted to purchase a laptop last year for $3000-I about croaked. Just because she was an adult and making her own money-still living at home-was no reason to let her squander it-I told her to let me take care of it and I found her a really great laptop for $600-she was grateful!!!:):)She was blinded by the glitz,a sales pitch and the mentality of wanting what “everyone” else had. I got her better for much less. I do think she is finally learning!!!!!:):)

    I have found that if everyone in the home has all their own devices that the family falls apart. One TV, one computer, etc., used by the whole family keeps us from always being separate from one another, saves much money and helps us parents supervise our children and each other.

    I think our society ought to wake up and see the danger in these devices-sqandered funds, dumbing down our society, being lured into wrong thoughts and activities, isolating ourselves from others, etc. I in no way think the devices are evil and know they can be used properly and effectively. I just think in our society of people with little self-control, really messed up value systems and low character there need to be some boundaries/restrictions. Other than for academic use, these devices should not be in our schools.

    Case in point: recently in my area a very large worldwide company fired 132 employees on a single day for gambling online at work-they were warned but still didn’t stop. There have as well been many fired for watching porn at work in the same company. People are putting their lives and the lives of their families on the line for these electronic devices.

    What are they thinking or are they thinking???? Propetuating this idea that we cannot exist aside from our electronic devices is very dangerous.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents.

  28. Anonymous says

    I just wanted to say that reading all of the posts here has given me hope for the future. I see so many mothers dragging their kids through the grocery store. The kids whining they want something and nagging mom. What does mom do? Either shoo them away or roller her eyes in frustration and put it in the cart. Most of the time she’s too busy on her bluetooth phone to bother with her kid! I get so scared seeing how parents and children interact…I’m glad there are at least some parents out there who are raising their kids with some sense and responsibility. Harrah for you all!

    • Birdie says

      I love not being tied to a cell phone. I go to the store and keep my head up. I would miss the smiles I get from sweet grandmas that appreciate the one you return. I’m not a creap or a thief. I want to let you know that you are appreciated!

      • says

        I’m right there with you Birdie. I think it is awful to be on a cell phone and treat a clerk or cashier as if they are a non person and completely ignore them. What is even worse is I know people who come to our homes to visit and they spend 30 of the 45 minutes they are visiting with you on their phone texting or chatting on non important calls.

  29. Chris Johnson says

    I agree with you wholeheartedly!!!!! I am a former, but now retired school teacher, and I and most of my colleagues agree with you!!!!! But the world has changed!!!! What used to be common sense has been replaced with whatever makes you feel good, do it!!!!!! When I started teaching 40 some years ago, common sense was rampant!! And expected!!! But somewhere along the way, things began changing!! I suspect it had something to do with the 60’s rebellion, but I’m not sure. Anyway, so many parents now think that anything their child wants, should be allowed! NO RESPONSIBILITY is being used any more!!! I wish I knew what could be done about it. I’m glad there are still some “old fashioned” parents who still use common sense like you!!!

  30. Anonymous says

    My twelve year old has a nano and cell phone. She takes them both to school everyday. I am so proud of the responsibility she has shown in keeping track of her belongings. I think it is a case by case issue. There are kids that just aren’t ready and lose things too much. I was one of those children. I lost my shoes once! She knows that when they are gone they are gone.

  31. Anonymous says

    My 13 year old son has a cellphone. He doesn’t make friends easily and this way he can easily keep in touch with teammates of his who don’t go to his school. He also has an MP3 player and is very responsible. He takes both to school. Why not? They stay in the pockets of his pants. My 11 year old daughter also has an MP3 player. I had a Walkman when I was their age.

    As for the lady ranting and raving about “junk/filth/non-sense most children entertain themselve with on electronics”–gimme a break. These things are just tools. My son with the cellphone and MP3 player also reads Voltaire and Ovid for pleasure. My daughter programs robots for fun. Stop making silly assumptions about what children are doing. MP3 players are harmless devices for listening to music, nothing more.

  32. story girl says

    I don’t have my own children, but I do teach at a high school. Our kids are “not allowed” to have portable electronic devices, but the way the rule is worded they are just not allowed to have them out in class. This frustates me to no end. I had a ninth grader lose her entire purse containing her ipod, phone, and credit card (!!!!), and all I could think was “well why did you have it in school?”

    I hate it. I hate the concept of being responsible for their decisions because, although the school claims no liability, if a child loses a $200 item while in my care, I will feel responsible.

    Not to mention, we as teachers become completely unable to monitor what they see or listen to. I’ll play music for them all out loud on a reward day, but I’m not letting them sit there with headphones on. Not knowing what I know about what’s out there.

    • Birdie says

      I feel sorry for you. I wish every one would listen carefully to the “end results” of complacent, over indulgent parents. Keep speaking up because eventually it will all come to no good.

  33. Michelle says

    My daughter is in 7th grade and she is not allowed to take her IPod to school either. I get the “but everyone else does” , but she knows I won’t budge on this one! Hers was a gift from her grandpa and I sure hope she values it.

    I am going to comment on the cell phone issue as I know that is a “hot topic.” My daughter’s is a “pay as you go” no contract phone. In this day and age, I just feel much safer knowing she has a phone with her when she is not with us…just in case. I know many feel differently about this, but it is more for our peace of mind and her safety. She only gets a very small amount of minutes a month, so she knows the phone is NOT for socializing! I know so many parents are against them, but if a child learns the proper use for them, then I really do not see a problem with it. That’s my soapbox! :)

  34. Anonymous says

    Well, I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. Every morning, I have to collect electronic devices from students and lock them away until the end of the day. These days, so many kids do have phones and ipods. They listen to them on their 1 hour bus ride home. Some of them have a phone to arrange for rides home and such. I feel for the teacher. I might not have done an electronics reward at age 10, but I have done it for middle school. It is hard to find rewards they actually want as they get older. We lock them up all day, so that helps with the lost/stolen issue. I don’t think it’s such a big deal. Don’t be so hard on the teacher. Our jobs are really complicated!

  35. MarcellaFL says

    My 10 year old has an iPod shuffle I found for $50. It is all she needs. I have allowed her to take it on a field trip ONCE and luckily it came home. It was a risk I was willing to take since she is pretty responsible and it was relatively inexpensive. I would not allow a $200 one go to school though. Too risky. There have been children mugged for less …

  36. Alicia Webster says

    Bravo to the both of you !!! I agree wholeheartedly, and there is no stinkin’ way that I would let my kids take expensive electronics to school. I am 42, and I have a 5 yr old, a 4 yr old, and a 3 yr old and we have no cable TV and one cell phone–that’s it. I hate to date myself here, but I have no idea what a smartphone, an ipad (pod?), a wii, or a blackberry is…none of that stuff interests me or my husband, so we don’t even pay attention when we see other people playing with their toys. The first time I touched a computer was 2004, and that was to correspond with my boyfriend (now husband) because I was too cheap to call from California to Virginia. I also write about 2-3 letters each week on real paper with a real pen. My kids have never played a computer game in their lives. I am not close minded though…If any of my kids can provide a valid reason why they need a particular gadget, and it makes sense to both my husband and me, then we’ll allow him or her to earn the money to buy it. I already get odd looks at the bus stop, because I am the only mom who won’t allow her 5 yr old daughter to wear shorty shorts. Dresses and skirts yes, but Daisy Duke-style shorts to school? No way. Anyway, my point is that we are not afraid to say “No” either. Great post by the both of you.

  37. Jolene says

    I agree that the kids taking electronics to school is not a good idea. However we have a different situation in Schuylkill Haven. The school got some kind of grant for macbooks for the kids which required us to pay a 60.00 dollar insurance premium and then 100.00 if anything happens to them. It broke and so far I’ve paid 75.00 of the 100.00/will be paid end of the week. But the point is this is required for my student. They actually thru out all the text books. My husband and I were flabbergasted by this but it was either you do this or your child can’t do his school work.

    • says

      That is just wrong! If they are going to be demanding things like that for the kids then they need to pay for it, insurance and all!

  38. Laurie says

    Bravo for you standing up to “the system”!! It’s always nice to hear other parents are using common sense, because where we live some days I really wonder. At least half of my son’s 5th grade class have cellphones of their own and also bring expensive electronics to play with on the bus, which is about the worst place to take one. When Tim asked about taking his DS on the bus, we asked if it was worth not having it if something happened to it on the bus, and he logically said no!Had he said yes he still would not have been allowed to take it but I was hoping to see his common sense prevail. Thank goodness we’re getting there with our training and influence. Our older 2 boys also have a good common sense head on their shoulders. Not saying they’re perfect by any means but we still often have discussions about “can you believe what this person or that did that was risking safety or was ridiculously costly”. All parents need to take these teaching responsibilities seriously!!

  39. Bea says

    These kinds of situations AND OTHERS, are the exact reasons many of the parents I personally know home-school. The parents are sick and tired of all the garbage the schools try to force on kids and their parents. I’m proud of you Tawra. It’s not easy being a Christian or a person with common sense these days. And the number of “MOTHERS” that let their young daughters go to school half naked is shameful. They are pregnancies just waiting to happen. What is wrong with these “MOTHERS?”

  40. says

    Nothing surprises me in school anymore. When I taught pre-Kindergarten I had parents sending their daughters to school wearing diamond stud earrings (yes, they were real) and gold necklaces. I had to be firm with the parents that I did not allow jewelry of any kind in my class. No way was I going to waste my precious energy worrying about whether they would lose them in the sandbox! Where is the common sense people??

  41. Paula says

    Glad to see common sense still prevails (by the majority of comments)…Our 16yr old daughter took her ipod to school and it was stolen during gym, when her bag was left on the bleachers. We replaced it as her Christmas gift… She has bugged us for a phone for years. Not happening. You leave the house and get on a school bus (whose driver has a cell phone for emergencies), you go to school that has phones, and come home on the same bus. What do you NEED a phone for?Who are you calling/texting? The kid in the back of the bus?!! We have told her she can use our house phone when she’s home. I find it amazing that our phone barely rings, as kids find it beneath them to use a regular phone. We also have a rule of modest dressing. We have been referred to as “The Duggars”, Amish, and my daughter has been asked if she is Jewish, because she wears skirts below the knee. She used to have jeans, but would only wear 2 pair (which were getting snug). After a series of sexual comments from a really creepy boy who was in ‘overdrive’, the jeans bit the dust. When I complained about his behavior, the VP told me “He has rights too.” NOT in my world!!! He has harassed so many girls in the school. He has FINALLY been expelled (I guess his ‘rights’ ran out)… We hear so much about missing teens, pedophiles, etc yet people let their daughters out looking like they’re attending a hooker convention!! But we’ll hang the guy who looks crooked at her! Wake up People!!!

  42. Grandma says

    ok, I am 56 and have just yesterday gotten a cell phone. Well we bought 2 and only for the reason of my disability and being stranded one day last week at the drs. office.
    Don says he doesn’t want that to happen again.
    So 2 phones $200. and pay as you go cards.
    I am so scared that I will lose it since it is so small. Went out today with it no pockets so I stuck it in my bra.
    If they want us to have cell phones why don’t clothing designers design some pockets in womens clothes to carry the flippin things.
    Just a rant. But if I am afraid of losing it how can a 10 year old keep it safe with all the things they carry and all the things they do during the day?

  43. rose says

    i was just looking at this again .. and it reminded me of what my sister’s granddaughter has at her middle school now .. the school has decided to do away with school books and is giving everyone a “notebook” (i think thats what its called) . all the work and info will be on this electronic device and the students do not use books anymore nor do they turn in any paperwork to show they did the work themselves .. all the work is turned in on this type of computer thingy like thing (sorry not sure what the correct words to use) ..
    and .. here is the “best” part (being sarcastic) .. all students are required to pay a loan fee of $100 to be able to use this .. if its lost/stolen/broken then they will be responsible to pay something like $300 (my sister didnt know the exact price but it was close to that) ..
    what happened to the books? well she didnt know but now they are also taking all the lockers out of the school and all the books are gone .. and if they take a backpack to school they are recommending all students get backpacks on wheels .. (which that could be a good thing) ..
    as far as letting ur child take an expensive electronic anything to school, when my son was in school (many yrs ago b4 we homeschooled him) the biggest thing was if he could have a cell phone (i asked him, who are u going to call while ur in class? his response: all the kids have one) and the gameboy’s (my ?? to him: why are wanting to take that to play when u should be paying attention to the teacher? his response: all my friends take theirs and well, the teacher just sits there and says nothing) .. hahhaha .. wellllllll.. i did go to the school and speak to his teacher and she told me on monday she gave out all the work for the week, they were required to turn in all the work on friday, then take tests and then when they were done, they could play the board games she had, use the computers to play on or play with their game boys… i must have looked like i couldnt breath bc she asked me if i needed a drink of water and then i asked her “where did u go to school to get ur degree in teaching???” .. that was when we decided to homeschool .. and no he didnt and wasnt allowed to take his gameboy to school with him either (we waited until he finished out the yr b4 he was homeschooled) .. and yes, i did check his backpack every day too .. i trusted my son not to disobey us but the temptation was there bc of his peers ..
    when he did go online for the special learning areas my hubby did set up for him on our computer .. yep my hubby did look at all he was doing and looking at .. its to ensure his safety and to be quite honest, he was part of a chat room for kids that did talk about school work, scouting and etc (hubby found it and did research) .. and it seemed ok .. but! .. omg! .. but, there was a female pedophile (odd i know) that pretended to be a kid and befriended my son and several others and did try to plan a “play date” .. he gave her my daughters cell # (he didnt have one at the time) and lo and behold we had to get the FBI involved .. what a mess that was .. she was a 45 yr old woman pretending to be a 12 yr old .. how it came out i dont clearly remember but it was my daughter who brought it to our attention ..
    so, after that, nope he wasnt allowed on those chat rooms or anything like that .. and if he wanted to play any educational games, we went to the store and got him these cd’s u can download and they do schoolwork too .. best buy had some really cool ones .. and not expensive either .. they are interactive games but in order to go to the next level u had to do math, or science or something like that .. they had for all differnent interests .. i normally got the ones for (grade level and ages) ..
    so, yes, my advice, look at where and whom ur kids are talking to on the internet .. lots of creeps out there (look at some of those “cop” shows .. they have those episodes and movies about the danger of them ..

  44. rose says

    and his gameboy? well he worked and earned the money to buy it .. we certainly were not going to pay for it .. too expensive ..
    he did lose it one time (i cant remember how or where) but it was a lesson learned .. and for 3 days, he was crying and pining (u know how kids are) .. finally we told him oh well .. suck it up and this is a lesson learned so be quiet about it ..
    it was a week later that a friend of ours said she found 2 gameboys in the back of her van and one was her son’s and the other one was our sons (his name was on it) .. and the 2 boys were careless enuff to not worry about this .. i took our sons and gave it to hubby and he put it up .. finally when our son had enuff money saved (again) to buy another one (which was about 5 months later) .. hubby said he found a really good deal on one and it was half price as for a new one .. well of course our son was like “yes! and to save money too” .. the gleam in his eyes were too funny (like he found a pot of gold) ..
    hubby told him it was a set price and “sold” our son his old gameboy back to him (not to be mean but to teach him somehting) .. of course our son was a bit upset .. and hubby said to him firmly and calmly “son, u were careless with this the first time and it was brought back to you and u were ok with buying a used one so whats the problem?” and our son was like he didnt think he should have to pay for something that was already his .. and hubby told him he is taking the money and putting it in a piggy bank so if our son would like to buy something else he could ..
    well i guess it was a good lesson learned bc now our son takes very good care of his stuff and doesnt just leave things around .. he’s more responsible ..
    and yes, if he did earn any money he was to put 50% of his money for savings ..
    just sharing

  45. rose says

    and for that teacher to suggest to bring their electronic gizmos to school? .. i think more parents should have ???’d this like u did (which u should be commended!) $200 of anything to take to school is a big no-no! .. i would have thought a movie and pizza party would have been alot better .. just my opinion .. and maybe just a “fun” day . go out and run and do races and like a big recess party too .. like what we used to have when we were kids .. and the kids would have the whole day off from doing any kind of schoolwork ..
    just my opinion ..

  46. Tracy says

    Our son had the same choice of bring in his Xbox for his year end party. He paid for his own xbox. We didn’t think that is a good thing. He own two of them one an older model and the the new one. We came to an agreement he bring in his old one and only one game,two remotes and his friends bring another xbox with two remotes and his game . so four could play for a few hours . That way if it broke or got damage comming home it would not be a lost .
    We also allow a cell phone for him prepaid. He is older and now pays for his minutes and we gave him a car but he will need to cover the gas expense and maintain it.
    I think school should not allow electronic items to school.
    His school allows cell phones and i think that is a big
    distraction to learning.

  47. Dineen says

    No, I wouldn’t let my child take an expensive electronic device to school.
    We don’t own a brand name mp3 player, but a rather simple inexpensive one (about $20 I think) that at a time I consider my daughter having sufficient responsibility, I might consider her being able to take to a school “special day” sort of thing, but not on a routine basis.

  48. Lorene says

    I am 67 and have a great deal of knowledge with the typewriter/computer keyboard. I also have carpel tunnel in which an operation was not successful. However this is not about my problems other than my carpal tunnel was caused from typing on the phone, using computer keyboards. Everywhere I look folks are what I call keyboarding and many are younger so they will end up with carpal tunnel which is serious and often an operation will not eradicate the pain. You are doing your child a favor not allowing them to self-destruck.

  49. Doris says

    My granddaughter got a cell phone when she had to go home to an empty house. Her mother figured it was worth her safety going to and from the school bus. Sad world we live in but I agree that sometimes it’s a matter of safety.

  50. Heidi M says

    Reading all these posts makes me thankful (again) that we can homeschool. My children (we have 9) don’t get a phone until they have a NEED and they can pay for the monthly bills. This happens when they get a job and a car. They also pay for their cars (4 have their licenses) and upkeep, so they must have a job for that reason. We are not anxious for our daughters to work jobs (yes, call us old fashioned, two oldest are married stay at home moms), so we paid for their car bills, etc. Any electronic game or music devises are either birthday gifts or the kids pay for them. While they live in our home, and especially while still in school, they have time limits on using these devices. It is a priviledge that will be taken away as punishment for disobedience. They can earn extra time by doing extra chores. Too many parents forget who is the parent and who is the child!

  51. Heidi M says

    BTW, no internet on children’s phones! Our only computer is in our family room, where everyone can see what everyone else is looking at. Yes, we have the parental controls on, but it is almost impossible to be too cautious with the internet. Better safe than sorry.

  52. Mama bear says

    We bought our 10 year old daughter a nook because many of the schools textbooks were available on the schools website. We preferred that over her bringing home multiple heavy books. She is only allowed to use it for homework and earned game playing time. She is not allowed to take it to school. Thanks to all the other moms for letting me know I’m not the only mom that says no : )

  53. Lex says

    At my high school, it is encouraged that we bring electronics to school to use. The world is changing; what you think of being as play-things are actually used as tools to help the education process. I bring my laptop, iPhone, and wallet to school everyday. I keep track of them all, and am fully responsible for them. I read on my laptop actual books all the time when we have free periods. I use my iPhone to help my parents keep track of me; you can use “Find my iPhone” and it tracks the location of the phone. I also use it to call or text my parents about any changes to my schedule / extracurricular activities, and to listen to music. These things are really useful and helpful.

  54. Liz says

    We went through this exact senario two weeks ago. Our son received a small Galaxy (7″) for Christmas. That was pretty much his entire Christmas, plus the “skins” and the cover. We told him if it was stolen, he would not get a replacement. (We bought the insurance for if it’s damaged.) He’s very responsible, but we were leary of other kids getting into his backpack before the “fun time” at the end of the day. We lectured him on not telling anyone it was in there, and putting it on the bottom or back of his backpack, so it was not easily found. All worked out okay. We were still not happy that the kids were allowed to take them. We also received the same response from the teacher as you. But, not all the kids were allowed the priviledge of having the fun time, so not many were in the classroom they went to, for others to see it. And, it was at the end of the day.

    We are usually way behind in getting him things like electronics, mainly due to financial repsonsibilities. However, this particular gift was secretively a gift to my husband and myself, too. :) Like I said earlier, if he weren’t responsible, we wouldn’t have let him have it. And, no…he is not getting a phone until or after High School. Definitely not in middle school! He is always the last to get something with his group of friends, but we think it’s teaching him patience and responsibility when he gets it a year or so later. Many things he does purchase with money he’s earned, too. I know what it feels like being the last to do something or have something, as I grew up in a family with only a working dad and 5 kids. Money was always tight. We are always trying ways to save or earn money. Sometimes it’s okay to splurge! :)

  55. Sheri says

    Electronics can be tools or toys. It depends on how you use them. The same computer that helps me get things ready for ministry can be used by someone one else to get in trouble. But even working on the computer can get out of hand. Anything can become addicting. Even good things!

    I think the biggest objection to all these electronic gadgets is it takes away from the real world and relationships! Talking face to face, working side by side and playing together act as glue to hold our relationships together and society. When the relationships break down, so does society.

    Certain electronics are banned in our family and the rest are regulated according to how they are used and how they affect the one who is using them. I want to be careful that electronics don’t take over our family.

    That said, I am typing this on an iPad that we won for my younger children for educational apps. The apps repeat things that I get so tired of doing. Many children with Down syndrome take longer to learn some things. But don’t ever underestimate what they know or can do! You might be on the learning end of a situation! I have stories to tell! And that was after I warned the adults! They didn’t believe me, but now they do!

    Electronics: tools or toys?

  56. Jay says

    We bought my 11 year old daughter an ipod and i told her not to put a password on it because I want to be able to use it occasionally when she had gone to bed. She put a password on it….. Forgot the password and now can’t use her ipod until I go on the Internet on our computer to reset it.
    She also kept saying she ‘needed’ a mobile phone because everyone had one and how would she contact me if she was at a friends house. I don’t think a child needs a mobile and in an emergency she could just take mine. She wasn’t happy with this so I got a new mobile phone (very simple cheap one) and gave her my old one which was old, not coloured screen and had no games, but it was small and neat and worked. She didn’t ever bother charging it up and when I asked why she wasn’t taking her phone everywhere she went, because she had wanted one so badly. She said because it was rubbish and ‘I don’t want anyone to see me with that’. Therefore I am sure a mobile phone for a young kid is just to show off to their mates.

  57. GrandmaLiz says

    Wow. This has been an ongoing issue between my grand children and me! Especially, after one of the 13 year old’s “friends informed her mother that next year she has to have a Ipad. Everyone does. Well as it turns out, she’s right. They have to have an “internet” capable device. I wonder how people on public assistance can afford smart phones when I can’t and I work for a living. Or, maybe I just have different priorities. Well, short of long, grandkids are homeschooled.

    • says

      You know I don’t know where you are from but our kids in school here don’t have to have those things they just like having those things. Everyone has it because their parents don’t want their children not to be out of the loop at school.

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