In line with keeping the kids safe, it is pretty common to see young boys and girls with their own cell phones as well. It makes sense. As the technology gets cheaper why wouldn't a parent want to be able to keep closer tabs on their children? I understand the virtue of it, but it still seems odd to me. I grew up in a time when nobody had cell phones and the closest thing to it was a car phone. Even then it took a big wig vice president to have one of those. I sometimes imagine one of these little kids getting a call on his or her phone, they pause for a moment and say, "Whose baby is that? What's your angle? I'll buy that!" *
It isn't just about safety these days though, it is also about keeping them entertained. I remember when I was young hearing the TV being referred to as the babysitter. These days with so many DVD's available for kids, all a parent has to do is slide the favorite 'babysitter' into the nearest player and relax. It works really well. I remember when Heather's little brother Mark was younger. For at least a year he preferred the company of the Lion King to that of actual people. When I was a kid if my sisters and I were making a ruckus in the back seat my parents'd just sternly request (yell at us) to shut up. The threat was typically shut up or they'll pull over, and I think our imaginations were too active to envision a pleasant outcome if they had to pull over, so we shut up. These days the parents just stick in a DVD that the kids can watch as they drive.
Today I was in my car waiting at a light and I saw the portable babysitter had gone one step further than the one in the back seat of a minivan. A couple walked by pushing their child in a stroller, and strapped to the food tray of the stroller was a portable DVD player.
* "Whose baby is that? What's your angle? I'll buy that!" is a line from the Flintstones of course. If you are like me and miss the Flintstones showing every noon, then watch this video and relive some good memories of time spent with my favorite babysitters, Fred & Barney:
A Flintstones Minute (0:59)