Why do you still have a home phone?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| Published: November 8, 2013

I can almost guarantee that everybody reading this article grew up in a household that had a designated landline that you would use to make phone calls to other people. Might have been your friends, relatives, neighbors, and heck, you might have even used it to call up that girl or guy that you really wanted to ask to prom. But as cell phones grew in popularity, the moments where I spot a landline in a house is becoming few and far in between. But despite the fact that I hardly ever see them anymore, I do know that for a lot of families, a home phone is essential at this point in their lives.

My title wasn't meant to be condescending, as in "Why do you still have a home phone?", but more as in "Why do you still have a home phone?" While the reasons for owning a home phone might not always be obvious, there are certain situations why I think that people still want or would feel the need to have a home phone.

Take my parents, for instance. They have had the same landline connected for going on 20 years at this point, and every time I see them answer the phone it's the same situation almost every time. 



[Hang up]

I know right away that it was some sort of telemarker or election campaign. I would say about 95% of the time this is the cause of all calls that come through to their landline. The other 5% is family to arrange holiday plans, say happy birthday, or more importantly, my little brother or sister's friends calling to see if they can play. I say more importantly because while my family could just as easily call my mom or dad to make holiday arrangements, my siblings' friends have a much higher chance of contacting my siblings through means of a landline phone as oppose to calling either one or both of my parents' cell phones in the hopes that one of them will be around her to hand her the phone - cell phones that my parents often leave off while at home in order to save battery for when they leave. 

My sister is 9, and my brother is 12. To my parents, this makes them both too young to carry around a cell phone. To a lot of people they're too young to be carrying around a cell phone, although the number of young children I see with real working cell phones these days are astounding. I've seen a child as young as 5 pull out an iPhone (albeit an older iPhone) and call up his mom at the grocery store at the request of his father to ask what she wanted for dinner. Out of curiosity, I asked the father how old the child was. When he told me he was 5, I raised my eyebrows and remarked at how smart he was to know how to use a phone at his age. This was when my own tot was an infant, so you can just imagine my surprise when my 3 year can operate my smartphone just as smoothly a couple of years later. 

I do understand why many adults now give their children a cell phone. Not only do they want to be able to keep tabs on where they are, but even as adults we feel the security that having a communication device at all times can bring us, and we naturally would want the same for our children. But I also understand why some parents aren't willing to give their child that freedom, because along with giving off a feeling of security it can also bring a slew of other potential problems with it, problems that aren't so safe. For those parents, a landline seems like a solid option for allowing your children to stay connected with the important people in their life, but being able to keep a closer eye on who they're talking to.

Home phones, and more specifically landlines, are also good for just having a secure connection during times where you might have power outages. I have only had one time in my life where I wished I had a landline, and that was when my power was out and at the very same moment the power went out, quite literally, my BlackBerry died. I had a laptop that didn't run for more than ten minutes on a battery charge alone, so in order to make any important phone calls I would have to ask a neighbor, which I ended up having to do after the power stayed out for most of the night and it was hot as bollocks in my apartment no matter what I did. It wasn't the end of the world having to ask neighbors to be able to use their phone, but it sure would have been nice to know that if an emergency was at hand that I had a secure phone that wouldn't have given me the problems that my cell phone did.

Finally, I think that home phones are good for a cheap alternative to cell phones. Let's face it, even a flip phone with a voice and texting plan can run you about $40 with some carriers. Home phones, however, can be as cheap as dirt depending on what method you want to use. If you use services that utilize VoIP, you can even make phone calls for free. Or Sprint has their Home Connect, which runs $20 a month for unlimited local and long distance calling using a box that runs off of cell towers instead of a traditional landline. 

I know there are plenty of reasons why people keep their home phones active, even when most people in their family have cell phones handy at this point. So readers, why don't you let us know why you still use a home phone? Do you keep it for the kids, the price, maybe just to make sure you keep your same phone number you've had for years? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images via Tech Spot, Wikipedia