When I was in high school (mid to late nineties), pagers were suddenly everywhere. All the guys had to lift up their baggy pants while muttering, “I’ve gotta check my pager.” Before that, they were called beepers. It was annoying. I was already aware that other people were much more popular than me and I felt the pager phenomenon was just rubbing it in anyway.
Flash forward to now. I am a homemaker and I live across the street from my children’s school. I have never had a reason to call my children at school. If they become ill, they go to the clinic and call me. There are lots of phones all over the school. If I happen to pick them up a little early, I guess I reason that they will have a nice surprise when I get there (and that doesn’t happen very much anyway.)
At pick up, they basically wait at the playground for me to cross the street and get them. If they became mischievous and wandered home with a friend without telling me, then maybe a cell phone might come in handy. However, a mischievous child would probably turn off his or her phone in the first place. Or, throw it into the bushes.
Kids under ten probably don’t “need” a cell phone. Little kids are already being supervised constantly. They can’t even browse and play at their leisure in the classroom. They have years of technological connectivity ahead of them, maybe they just need a break right now.