Josh Byers

If you were to walk in the front door of the house I grew up in, your eyes would be immediately drawn to the fixture on the wall in front of you. And like many others, you would turn to me with wide eyes, pointing with a full arm extended, and ask "what is that?"

No, it wasn't a weird painting or mounted head or anything, it was much more horrifying.

A true old style rotary phone with bells on top that ring when somebody called. 

Why is it horrifying you ask? Have you ever dialed a full phone number on one of those things? The novelty is lost immediately when you realize you're dialing a phone number that includes several nine's and zero's. Five minutes after you started, your call is actually ringing. In fact I think it was faster back in the day when you just told the operator what number you wanted to connect to...

My kids however are fascinated by the thing. The rotary dial that spins back each time with its many clicks and the clanging bells when it rings are all things of amazement because they've never lived in a house with a landline. We cut the cord before they were born and haven't had a traditional phone in our home for many years. This was all wonderful and hasn't been a problem until our daughter was old and mature enough to stay at home by herself or babysit and now we found ourselves with a problem.

How will she contact us to ask how to put out a grease fire?

Now every parent must weigh if and when they will provide their children a mobile phone. Our rational (or irrational based on your view) for doing so now are several things. Its not gospel and I'll admit the first one is probably the main reason (though number four is a close second...)

Convenience: It's very easy and comforting to be able to know you can reach your child or your child can reach you at anytime.

Cost: We already own the device and to be added to our mobile phone plan was much less then to buy another phone/system or landline.

Reliability: We have tried the wifi only route for awhile, and while we never had real problems, our internet goes out enough and the call quality was sketchy enough to make me nervous.