Question #25: “Is My Child Too Young To Have A Cell Phone?”

26 Jan

Tess from Tulsa sent me this one, and I swear to God, I am going to try to stay cool, calm, and rational as I work my way through the answer to this one. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go grab the first beer of the night before I even set in on this one. Be right back.

OK, back. So, to sum up Tess’ email: her daughter is 10 years old, and she’s considering getting the girl a cell phone. Something about wanting to be able to keep tabs on the kid, GPS tracking capability, Amber Alert applications and there being a lot of bad people in the world, or some shit.

First of all, being the father of a 10 year old girl myself, I can completely identify with your concerns, Tess. I have no real idea where Darla is right now, she has no idea where I am, and it’s true, if she had a cell phone (and I have no doubt that my crap-brained wife bought her one by now) and if I had a cell phone, and if we both had each other’s numbers, we’d possibly be in contact right now. My first problem with that is this: I’m really just not all that interested with staying in contact with the kid, to tell you the truth. I mean, she’s OK, she had her moments, but it’s fair to say we’ve both moved on at this point. Bringing text messaging, GPS tracking technology, and holographic chat conferencing or whatever the fuck it is that the cell phones are doing these days would be counterproductive to the glorious “no kids worries” thing I have going on right now, and believe you me, Darla probably feels the same. (I don’t know if you read the hate mail that my son Connor sent me a couple weeks back, but Darla’s exactly like her mother, so just take that letter, multiply the animosity by about 6, and you’ll get an idea as to how Darla feels about me). So actually, on second thought, I can’t at all identify with you on wanting to stay in constant contact with your daughter, Tess. I lied, and I do apologize for that.

Now for the actual answer to your question: yes, you moron, your kid is too young for a cell phone. You know, more and more, just walking around, I see shit like this:

Every time I see something like this, it’s a mind fuck for me. Along the lines of this:

Is it really spinning? Is this shit real? Does that kid really have a phone? Oh my fucking God I have no idea what's going on anymore.

I’m almost 50 now. When I was growing up our mobile phone technology involved a pocketful of change and a system of pay phones that didn’t work half the fucking time. In fact, half the fucking time some idiot kid had somehow fucked the pay phone up with bubble gum, Tess. These are basically the same kids you’re trying to give mini-supercomputers to. Look Tess– if that is your real name– I can’t believe you actually sent me this question. I’m going to grab another beer, I can’t deal with this.

You know what? Now I’m really getting pissed. I won’t even get into all that “cell phones and cancer” shit, because I know more than science does, and I say you  really can’t trust it. But let’s just say there’s something to it all.  That means you’re considering putting your kid at risk for cancer, Tess. Fucking despicable.

The answer is yes, Tess, your child is too young for a cell phone, or to put it another way: no, Tess, don’t give that 10 year old a goddamned cell phone, you horrible mother.

Children are fucking idiots, and children are fucking brilliant. At the same time.  It’s a lethal fucking combination. They’re just smart enough to be significant threats to the free world, and just idiotic enough to take a pocket-sized supercomputer and wreak all sorts of havoc on the entire universe. Either way, children are critically dangerous, we mustn’t forget this, and I can’t believe you’re thinking about putting a cell phone into the hands of a 10 year old. Tess, you magnificent troglodyte, I’m reminded of a John Updike story where one of the characters pondered whether or not there was a goldfish swimming around in a particular girl’s head, instead of a brain. You’re actually advocating  that we continue this march towards a world where children are running amok, all wielding cell phone-like things.

OK, new fucking rule, “Tess”: children aren’t allowed to wield anything. Nothing at all.


tr.v. wield·ed, wield·ing, wields

1. To handle (a weapon or tool, for example) with skill and ease.

2. To exercise (authority or influence, for example)

Cell phones are weapons at this point. Some kid in China is probably reconfiguring the State Department right now using one of those fucking things. I hate to keep bringing China into this–I feel like Thomas L. Friedman or some shit– but a 16 year old girl did just slaughter like half the world and a New York Times columnist, to boot, in a few rounds of chess the other day. Imagine what she could do with a pocket supercomputer.

Cell phones can financially ruin you. I don’t feel like linking to examples of accidental child-generated multi-thousand dollar phone bills right now, but they’re very well fucking out there. Abundantly. Hey Tess, you know what would be a good idea? Putting one of those things in the hands of a person who can still display her age by giving the universal sign for “I surrender.”

They say there’s no such thing as a stupid question…well you managed to shatter that maxim to fucking pieces, Tess, because that was a stupid fucking question, and the fact that it even formed itself in that cranial cavity thing that I dare assume you have going on up there is proof that you don’t even deserve to walk amongst us. You know what?

You just ruined my entire fucking week, “Tess,” my hemorrhoids are flaring up again now, and even Dipsy Doodle, my pet Yorkie,  is barking uncontrollably at the screen right this minute, due to her having sensed a moronic question in the room. You’re actually the first advice-seeker to get Dipsy all riled up like this. Dipsy ain’t happy, Tess. And if Dipsy ain’t happy…nobody happy. You better pray I don’t see you in the fucking street.

OK, you know what? Second new rule: Tess never emails me again, and Tess gets thrown in fucking prison for being such a miserable detritus-brained mother. 5 years minimum, and or Tess just disappears entirely off the face of the fucking planet all together, I’m done with this shit, goodbye, fuck off, and no, Dipsy doesn’t even want to hear your pathetic fucking apology– as of now she’s low-growling at the screen, I think you managed to make my puppy-wuppy sick, this is all your fucking fault, and I hate your shitty guts.

Hope that helped, Tess.

Concerned about technology and the effects it may have on your children? Have a question? Well don’t be afraid to ask, Silly Billies! I’m a former computer engineer and all-around nice guy.  Email me at, and together, we’ll have you and your family zzzzzzzzzippping right along into the 21st century!


5 Responses to “Question #25: “Is My Child Too Young To Have A Cell Phone?””

  1. Golan January 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

    There’s really nothing more pathetic than a blogger personally answering messages in a comments section.

    • absenteedaddy January 28, 2011 at 2:41 am #

      I agree Golan. Wait, no. A blogger personally answering a message in a comments section is the number 2 most pathetic thing. Number 1 is someone commenting on a blogger’s commenting on someone’s comment in the comments section. You magnificent jackass, I love you more than life itself. Let’s grab a beer or something.

  2. absenteedaddy January 27, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    Again, Ste-…I mean, Ben…I love you, man. It’s all there in the About Page, my friend.

    • absenteedaddy January 29, 2011 at 7:45 am #

      *Note- To clear up any confusion, there were many surprising developments during the long evolution of Ben’s at-first vituperative comments and our subsequent email exchanges. Long story short, we’re dear friends now. So when Ben asked that his end of the back and forth just be deleted entirely due to what was, in retrospect, a completely unnecessary comment kerfuffle that arose due to several misunderstandings, I obliged. It all worked out in the end. I am leaving my end of the exchange here, however, to ensure that I never forget the magic that was Ben, my most thoughtful, clever, passionate, dedicated and prolific commenter to date, in the sad event that he never appears again in my comments section.

  3. absenteedaddy January 27, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Ben…how I love thee. Let me count the ways…this is going to take quite a while. Unfortunately, fuckyu is already the winner of the $5,000 1st negative comment award. You were just a little too late. But it’s all very tragic since you, in fact, left me your actual name and email address, so that YOUR prize could have been verified, whereas fuckyu will likely remain shrouded in anonymity, forever. Perhaps we can get a penpal thing going though, at least. The day needn’t be a complete loss.

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