My teenage daughter recently had a friend sleep over and when her mom called to check in with me beforehand, we exchanged phone numbers, and I was relieved. It felt good to speak with another parent who wanted a better understanding of where her daughter spends her time.
Last year, when she was in grade seven, I asked my daughter to send me all of her friends’ cell numbers. She did not hesitate.
One night when she was sleeping over at a friend’s, I asked her to get the home phone number of where she was staying for me. The request was met with cynicism on the part of her friend. Why would I need the phone number at the house?
Her friend found it even stranger that I might ask what her mom’s cell number was. After all, if my daughter has her own cell, why wouldn’t I just call her on that?
Well, being true to myself, I insisted anyway, and reminded my daughter that cell batteries can sometimes lose their charge and that also, if something were to happen, G-d forbid, I would like to be able to reach the friend’s family.
I remembered another case of a friend’s son who went missing and she didn’t have any of his friend’s numbers to try to find him. Thank G-d he returned home safely.
Last night, this theme of conversation came up again and a fellow mom said to me:
“You’re right to insist on having all of the numbers, but also make sure your daughter’s friends have YOUR number.”
She went on: “My daughter was slipped a roofie…”
“Oh my G-d“, I interjected.
“and NONE of her friends had my number and they couldn’t use her cell because they didn’t know her passcode…”
Thank G-d her daughter is ok.
That said, what a valuable lesson to learn.
I will take it a step further and say that you MUST program your child’s friends’ names into your phone so that if you get a call from them in the middle of a business meeting or a late night overseas call…your caller ID will be your hint to NOT let that call go to voicemail.
So, on your new to-do list:
- Get your child’s friends cell numbers & program them into your phone.
- Get cell & home numbers for parents of your child’s closest friends and program them into your phone.
- If your child is sleeping at someone’s house, get the home phone number, address & cell number of at least one of the parents…Program it into your phone.
- Make sure your child passes on YOUR phone number to all of his/her friends and that they program it into their phones.
- Make sure your child understands the importance of keeping his/her phone fully charged.
- Share this post/information with other parents to help others realize that cell phones can only help in an emergency, if we equip the right people with the right information in those cell phones.