Land(line) Locked - Do Parents Really Need a Landline?


I have a security blanket and it’s my land line.

Quaint, I know, but I just can’t seem to give it up. After all, I have young children at home and, well, you know - what if there’s an emergency?

Having grown up in the Jurassic Era, it just seems normal to have a land line - a phone that is not cellular, mobile or portable beyond a few steps past my front door. There’s security in knowing that no matter what, I can pick up that phone and dial whomever I need to contact whenever I need to contact them (not literally, of course - that would require a rotary component).

Having a phone that is physically tethered to our homes provides a sort of comfort; we know that in the event that we’ve forgotten to charge our mobile phones or we’ve had the unfortunate occurrence of losing our smart phones, we still have that backup that exists just a few steps beyond the front door.

We’ve always had a landline; why, then, would we give it up?

The answer to this question is being provided by a growing number of people - parents, in particular - who feel that our fiber-optic security blanket needs to be put out to pasture once and for all. These days, we’ve lived long enough with technology to feel comfortable with our smartphones as our “go-to” device of choice. A virtual one-stop shop, we can shop, text, take pictures and videos and - if we need to - call 911 if the need arises. Because of this, the idea of untethering ourselves from our “retro” phone seems like the obvious course of action.

Yet, there’s that nagging little voice in our heads that keeps asking us whether it’s the right thing to do. This voice seems to be concerned about a few things:

  • Effectiveness - Will our smartphones actually do the trick when we really need it to?
  • Cost - We think we’ll be saving money by cutting the ties with our landlines but will we really save money? After all, won’t we just be using our smartphones more often?
  • Fear - We’re afraid of the unknown: we’ve always had a landline; what would it be like to be without one? The mere thought terrifies us.
  • Comfort - Knowing that our cell phones are our only selection when it comes to making calls can make the  most hip and tech-savvy parent feeling somewhat uncomfortable.

As parents, there are certain mandatory items that we are obliged to provide our kids, in order for them to be safe and secure. They include obvious items like food, shelter and clothing. Perhaps not surprisingly, telephones - landlines, more specifically - are an important part of this parental toolbox. For any parent that has grown  up pre-internet age, the thought of not having a landline in the home is often met with great debate, consternation and fear.

Yet when most of us look at the reality of how much we really use our landline, it seems fairly obvious as to what we should do.

I’m not unlike many of my friends and colleagues who have a landline that is rarely used. Other than the increasingly annoying telemarketing calls that interrupt my evenings, the home phone rarely gets any use anymore. Most of my friends and family know that to reach me more readily, just text or call my cell. It’s as simple as that. As a result, the landline remains at home, like a relic from the past; a reminder of a distant and long forgotten time. Despite this fact, I haven’t given up my landline…yet. I know that I will; it’s just a matter of time. It’s an emotional connection more than a more practical or even logical one. When that time finally comes, I’ll send the landline off with a respectable farewell and will call my friends - from my cell phone - for some emotional support.

VIDEO: ELO - Telephone Line

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