How old were you when you got your first mobile phone?

“How old were you when you got your first mobile phone?”

That was the question Ellie (my daughter) asked me a year ago. It was her way of hinting that she wanted a phone. We weren’t ready to give her one. I didn’t have a great reason but it just felt too early for us. She was 10. 

“23”, I replied (i’m 44 now). 

“No, way, I’m asking Grandma!”, Ellie said.

The reality is that I’m kinda old. So while my three kids only know a world with touch screens, apps and fast internet connections, her dad’s first phone didn’t do much except make phone calls. And boy, that felt like a miracle at the time!

So today, Ellie and I went to the AT&T store and added a line to our family plan and activated my “old” iPhone 4S. The one that has been in my desk drawer since the iPhone 5 came out. 

When I signed up for my first phone, I obsessed about the actual number I was getting. I wanted something that felt good and was simple. I loved my number. I made the poor customer service rep work hard to help me find just the right telephone number. 

The nice lady at the AT&T store asked Ellie what number she wanted. 

Ellie didn’t care about the number at all.

She was just beaming because her phone was gonna have all of her favorite apps at her fingertips. Her telephone number was about as interesting as an IP address. 

We aren’t far away from ditching out numbers altogether. I use Google Hangouts for video (no number required). I use Kik for messaging (no number). And when I use the telephone app, I just tap on a name. The days of memorizing someones phone number are gone. 

I don’t really have a way to bring this post home right now. Except to say I have one very happy kid and her mobile experience is just beginning.