(picture has nothing to do with post but I always like to add a picture)
When we moved Grace to the Waldorf School, I anticipated that it would be a great move for her and it has been almost every step of the way. What I didn't anticipate was the gift that it would give our family by taking the pressure off of us to purchase Grace a phone. In our town (perhaps it's this way everywhere?) it is a common practice for incoming 6th graders to get a phone, and smartphones at that, and it's for sure trickling down to younger children too. However, at Waldorf, none of Grace's classmates have a phone and whereas she has asked when she might be getting one, we don't have the pressure to buy her/supply her with one yet because she doesn't feel that she is missing out nor does she need one!
In fact, the only times a phone has come up are the times after she has spent time with peers that are not
at Waldorf with her. She has complained that she has nothing to do during these times because "everyone is on their phone". This concerns me. How are our children going to learn to negotiate the social minefields of being a teenager/tween if they don't actually communicate with each other live and in person? And are our children really prepared for social media (Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and all the potential baggage it can bring along?
Also, I have moments of worry that by not providing Grace a phone she is missing out on a lot. Certainly, she can't keep in touch as easily with old classmates. She isn't able to know what everyone is up too (but I tend to believe that this is a good thing - who wants to know what and when we are missing out on something?). She might not be invited on impromptu meet ups. Will she be uncool socially because she doesn't have a phone?
I realize that if she were at our public schools I would have the choice to get her a phone or not but, honestly, it would be a very difficult decision to not get her one - even if I thought it was the right thing to do. Ultimately, I am so thankful that Waldorf has given us this backup and breathing room to wait just a little bit longer.
I'm not naive, I realize that there will come a time where she will need a phone but I'm so thankful for this extra time where she is given a chance to grow and mature a little before being given this little device that is slowly but surely changing the way our children engage with each other for better or for worse.
I would be really interested and curious to hear where others stand on this issue. Please share your thoughts!