Obama kids ages
First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia walk across Lafayette Park to attend Easter Services at St. John's Episcopal Church on April 8, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)
Thirteen-year-old Malia Obama has had a cell phone since she was 12, but mom and dad have imposed a number of rules about technology that some might find Tiger Mom-ish in this day and age. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are standing firm on their “no phone until at least 12 years old” rule, so their 11-year-old daughter Sasha has another year before she even has the pleasure of trying to bat her eyelashes into bent rules. (Every daddy’s girl knows how to do this.)
The other Obama household tech rules are: no cell phones at all during the week, no Facebook until 17 years old and no television or computer use during the week unless it’s for homework. And for the cell phone, Malia got a few days worth of lectures about safety from Mama Obama before she got a phone in her hand and all of her contacts were vetted through the Secret Service a.k.a. Daddy Obama’s best baby sitters.
For parents who do not have the luxury of having armed security protecting their children from online and offline dangers, cell phones and social media dip into both blessing and curse territory.
Like Michelle Obama told Malia, cell phones are a way for friends (known or unknown to the parents) to directly contact kids. That makes for a situation that’s ripe for those “bad influences” to seep in without said bad seed actually stepping a toe into the child’s home. On the other hand, a cellphone is a powerful tool for keeping track of a child and offers a safety net should they need to call for help.
When you were little, moms said “be home before the street lights come on.” Today it’s more like “ text me as soon as you get there and you better answer your phone whenever I call you.” It’s actually a bit more terrifying to know that your parents have the ability to contact you at anytime no matter where you are. Nothing can ruin a moment better than seeing your mom’s name pop up on your phone when you’re about to do something that’s less than brilliant. Plus, there are numerous products out there for parents to literally track their child’s location via GPS technology.
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