I hate to say this because I think it makes me sound like a fuddy duddy, but the world is a different place than it was when I was a kid, especially if we're speaking technologically.
I didn't have a cell phone in high school (I still don't!), if boys wanted to call and talk to me at an unseemly hour of the night/morning - they had to stomach the possibility that their call would be intercepted by my grouchy father (shudder!)
Even if they wanted to talk during civil hours, my parents were aware of it - because I tied up the only phone line in the house.
The internet was essentially in its infancy; I had to wait several minutes for our home computer (and we only had one) to connect to the internet - with all manner of dialing, blaring and static.
Now it seems that every person over age nine has a cell phone and computer access, and they can all text 80 wpm - lol (!)
As a parent, the thing that concerns me about all this is that I fear my child could lead a completely separate life through his/her mobile devices than the one I'm aware of. It seems like the autonomy of a cell phone really cripples a parent's ability to monitor the timing/length of phone calls. And texting adds an additional layer of complexity, allowing all manner of oddly spelled messages to come and go at every hour.
A relevant aside: don't you think kids are willing to say more "questionable" things in a text, rather than face to face or even on the phone? There's a certain degree of removal, anonymity almost, when your words just show up in text on someone else's screen - rather than coming from your mouth and eliciting an immediate response from the person on the other end of the line. I think kids are more bold with what they'll say in a text, which often leads to inappropriate exchanges in that medium. That said, the thought of cyber messages coming and going at all hours of the day and night without my knowledge is unnerving.
Am I a paranoid control freak? Don't answer that.
But do answer these:
* Will you/do you pay for your child(ren) to have a cell phone? At what age will you allow them to have their own phone?
* What level and manner of supervision do you think is appropriate for your child's phone - i.e. is it appropriate for a parent to read their child's text messages? Take the phone after a certain hour?
I would really love for mothers of older children to chime in on this as well - I know you're out there :) How are you handling these issues with your tweens/teenagers?