Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cell Phones & Family Service Radios in the Parks


Cell Phones & Family Service Radios in the Parks



Here is a touchy subject. You have a young child (let’s say around 8 yrs old) that you are taking to the park. Do you give them a cell phone or Family Service Radio? How ‘important’ is having a cell phone in the parks? I can’t speak for every parent nor every child but I’ll share my experience.

When my daughter was 5 she was very independent and needed to be given room to explore and attempt things on her own. She needed a safe place to prove her abilities to herself and us. Disneyland offered that safety. At the age of 5 we got walkie talkies (Family Service Radios) for all of us. Each of us would carry one while at the park. If she wanted to roam Tom Sawyers Island and explore, feeling like Becky Thatcher in the books we felt safe letting her roam the island with a radio while we sat in the shade near the dock. When she was older and Disney California Adventure opened we did the same with Challenge Trail. Both have one way in and out and that is where we waited. We knew she would call us if she needed or wanted us.

I also don’t believe in the opposite sex parent taking a child capable of caring for themselves into the restroom. With a Family Service Radio or a cell phone you can allow the child to go to the correct restroom while you wait outside. The older and more capable they are the further you can go from the entrance area. You tell them where you will wait and again if there is a problem they can call you.

As they grow and mature you can let your child go further out of your sight. Your child having a cell phone or FSR allows them to call you if there is a problem and gives you the comfort of knowing you can be there for them if needed. It gives you the confidence to give them more freedom to grow. You will have less to worry about if they get out of your sight accidently as all children can. If they get separated they don’t have to panic they can call you.

Giving your child a FSR or Cell Phone can bring you peace of mind while at a Disney Park. Of course you will still need to be a watchful parent but if you teach your child to follow simple rules and give them a way to contact you if separated and a problem arises this can and will give you an extra level of protection.

You are the best person to know if your child is ready for a FSR or Cell Phone. Here are some things to consider before giving one to your child.
1.     Are they responsible enough not to lose it. Help them make it easier not to lose with hand straps or carrying case.
2.    If you give them a Cell Phone will they know their limits and follow the rules. How much can they use their phone and who can they call. Program important numbers into the phone before reaching the park.
3.    Can the child understand how to work it. Practice using it at home before going to the park.
4.    Do they understand how to “judge people.” Can they pick out people not to trust and know how to disengage from them if needed. At 5 my daughter would talk to anybody but if she did not feel comfortable she would stop the conversation politely and walk away.
5.    Do you think they will stay calm enough if separated from you to use it to contact you for help if needed.

            

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