Why Every Family Needs a ‘House Cell Phone’
It’s likely you haven’t had a landline in years and even if you do, you rarely use it. But you can’t deny that having a central phone for all family members was pretty great back when it was in style. Multiple household adults could coordinate kids’ business with doctors and teachers and you got to avoid the invasiveness of spam calls coming directly to your person wherever you may be in the world. House phones have always had their merits, but a new TikTok from a popular parent influencer is demonstrating why having a cell phone for the house is a necessary, modern twist that can help your kids get accustomed to having one of their own phone one day in the future and still stay safe for now.
Why do you need a house cell phone?
It may seem unnecessary to have a cell phone that’s just for your home, since all the adults in the place have their own and can be reached in seconds, but TikTokker ToriPhantom recently told their 4.4 million followers why it makes perfect sense.
They have a cell in the home that is “not private property” and can be used by anyone, even the kids who don’t have their own phone. Not only does this get kids used to using a phone while still staying under supervision (nothing can be private on a shared device), but when a kid leaves the house, they can bring the home phone along with them to stay in contact with parents and other key adults.
“My middlest kiddo likes to call me when I’m at the store (one time there was a spider on the wall; most times she wants me to bring her Oreos),” ToriPhantom says in the TikTok. “My oldest likes to Facetime my brother so she can play Stardew Valley with her uncle.”
Plus, they point out, it’s “a great tool for teaching kids about phone safety,” because there is no expectation of privacy when the whole family can use it and screen time is more naturally limited. It opens the door for plenty of conversations about phone use and safety, but kids still get the opportunity to use the device to communicate with family or friends.
When should your kid get a phone?
There’s plenty of debate about when your kid should get their first smartphone. You have to consider their maturity level, how often they’re away from you, the potential dangers of social media for their mental and even physical health, and also the social consequences they may face if they can’t participate in online life with their friends. A 2019 survey by Common Sense Media found that more than half of all U.S. kids owned their own smartphone by age 11 and more than two-thirds did by age 12, but every kid is different.
Using a home-based cell phone to facilitate open conversation with your children can help you determine when they’re ready for their own, so next time you’re ready to upgrade your iPhone, hold on to your old one.