When Kids and Cell Phones Make Sense – Medication Texting and Health Apps
In just five years, the number of kids with cell phones has shot up 68%, and 20% of six to 11 year-olds carry their own phones now, according to this research (pdf).
Six year-olds! With cell phones!
I’m no Luddite, but mobile phones in kindergarten?
Approximately half of my 11 year-old daughter’s friends have cell phones. Of that half, most of them walk home from school or otherwise spend small chunks of time independently, and the phones provide a measure of safety for the kids and peace of mind for their parents.
One of these children, though, uses her phone to text and call her *boyfriends* all day, four of which she’s gone through in the last two months.
These are only fifth graders, remember.
While I’m not going to stifle my daughters with overprotection or try to extend their childhoods beyond all reasonable measures, it’s also my job to make sure they don’t grow up too soon.
I just don’t want my 11 year-old kid texting boys all day.
Despite my ambivalence, though, she is getting a cell phone soon, for several reasons and partly because of her asthma.
In other words, my daughter never remembers to use her inhaler on her own. Last weekend during a slumber party, she missed her Flovent treatments both at night and in the morning.
A couple of weeks ago and during recovery from a bad cold and its related flaring, she forgot to use her bronchodilator during after-school play practice. By the time I picked her up in the early evening, the coughing had reached that harsh, cycling phase we all love so much.
How much would I love it if I could just text her a reminder instead?
Or if I knew she could reach me or even call 911 immediately, no matter where she is, if she needs medical help and no one’s taking her seriously?
Plus, health apps will be able to help her track and manage her symptoms when she gets older and her phone is Web-enabled. (Believe me, she’d love the chance to use those apps now, but an iPhone and a media plan are just not in the budget for an elementary schooler, I’m afraid.)
Check out these two asthma apps:
Created by a doctor, this one tracks personal symptoms and health history, but it also gives users the option of sharing that information anonymously, in order to help researchers track trends in symptoms and treatments across a large population.
Research link above via the Times.