Lately I’ve been grateful for cargo shorts and California weather. We’re lucky that my kids are able to wear shorts almost all year round, even in the winter when paired with a hoodie. Not only are shorts great for my bony kids (they put holes in their jeans so quickly!), but those extra pockets on the cargo shorts are super handy for making sure that James leaves the house every day with all the things that will keep him healthy and protected!
What is in James’ pockets, you might ask? Well, they’re actually pretty full. He always has his insulin pump in a pocket. And he pretty much always uses his continuous glucose monitor (CGM) in another pocket. When he’s going to an extracurricular activity or a friend’s home, he always has his blood glucose meter in the cargo pocket and a juice box in the other!
Recently he’s been so excited, because he’s been given a smartphone. I don’t know how you feel about tech for kids. I confess, I’m a little bit Stone Age about the whole thing. Part of me wishes that kids still learned on slates and were entertained with jacks and marbles. The other part of me loves the Internet—what an amazing, amazing tool. So I naturally feel a little bit split on my personal philosophy for getting cell phones, especially SMARTphones, for kids.
There are a couple of issues I have with this. First, they’re expensive! I can’t believe my little James, the one who is almost always forgetting to bring his sweatshirt home from school, now has a phone worth so much money! Second, I’m worried about unfettered access to the Internet. I worry about trolls and bullying. I worry about exposure to violent or otherwise inappropriate material.
But aside from the general utility of the phone, the diabetes technology that a smartphone enables is just amazing. As Kim has talked about here before, there is now capability to broadcast James’ blood sugars from his CGM to his smartphone and then directly to my smartphone. I can send James to scouts and see that his blood sugars are stable. That is so incredibly huge for our family. Every time I think about it, it makes me cry. What incredible comfort this would have given me over the years! I’m just so glad it now exists.
So glad that I’d have to have been crazy not to at least consider getting my kid this technology. So, I considered it. And he now has a smartphone.
I’m grateful that some of my fears have been assuaged. So far, James has been extremely reliable about keeping track of his phone. I think it’s pretty much a lot cooler than any of his sweatshirts, so he seems intrinsically motivated to keep a close eye on it! My husband, Craig, is pretty good about setting up filters and monitoring to make sure that James uses the Internet appropriately. This is paired with open conversations and discussions with him. I think this is really the best strategy. As much as we’d like to protect our kids and put them in a bubble, gradual, supervised exposure seems like a good way to introduce James to the wide world of the Internet! In any case, it’s working well for our family.
Back to those cargo shorts.… So now when James goes out, he has one more thing to put in a pocket. There aren’t really any pockets left, so he must combine some of the stuff. I figure, as long as he doesn’t put the phone in with the juice box, I’m going to just be okay with it. I guess sometimes good parenting is letting go of our fears and embracing things that are new!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.