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Cell phone babysitting: NY teens pay valets for cell phone daycare

Cell phones and other devices, such as iPods and iPads, are banned in all New York City public schools, creating a market for mobile nannying.

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Cell phone-owning elementary and middle school-age children are becoming common. Anil Remer, 11, of St. Paul, Minn., scrolls through photos saved on his cell phone. "Thirteen" is now the answer most parents give when asked the appropriate age to buy children a phone, according to the research firm Yankee Group.

AP Photo/St. Paul Pioneer Press, Sherri LaRose-Chiglo

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Thousands of teenagers who can't take their cellphones to school have another option, courtesy of a burgeoning industry of sorts in always-enterprising New York City: paying a dollar a day to leave it in a truck that's parked nearby.

Students might resent an expense that adds up to as much as $180 a year, but even so, leaving a phone at one of the trucks in the morning and then picking it up at the end of the day has become as routine for city teenagers as getting dressed and riding the morning-rush subway.

"Sometimes it's a hassle because not everyone can afford it," said Kelice Charles, a freshman at Gramercy Arts High School in Manhattan. "But then again, it's a living."

Cellphones and other devices, such as iPods and iPads, are banned in all New York City public schools, but the rule is widely ignored except in the 88 buildings that have metal detectors. Administrators at schools without detectors tell students, "If we don't see it, we don't know about it."

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