The whole thing has been a bit puzzling to me. He rarely talks on the phone with his friends. He texts a couple of his cousins, and one of his great-aunts, from my phone. We restrict video games (he gets to play a minute for every minute of piano practiced) such that whether the phone is mine or his, the play time won't increase.
Yesterday he brought it up again, and we had a family discussion. He pointed out that he's been very responsible with his possessions, such as the camera we gave him for his birthday. He keeps the battery charged. He tends to leave it home when we travel, because he worries about losing it. He manages the camera's memory card independently. With this track record in mind, we decided to let him have one of our old iPhones. We're not paying for cell service, so it only works where there is wireless access. If he is discovered using the phone for games without permission or other inappropriate use, it will be confiscated.
Right away, he started exploring the voice recognition software he's seen Alexi use. He dictated something, and then wanted to erase what he had written and start something new. Alexi started to describe the somewhat circuitous route he takes to accomplish this. After hearing the explanation, he raised the possibility of a simpler way of swiping from top left to bottom right directly on the text before them, then tapping 'delete'. As he suggested this, he did it, and it worked! (Alexi wishes he'd thought of his a long time ago!)
This morning, before school, he used his phone to read three New York Times articles, this blog, and check the weather. After school, he used the calculator function to check some of his homework, and the timer to keep track of his piano practice.
So far, so good.
So far, so good.