Children and mobile phones

Posted by iChild, July 10, 2019 4:42 PM

By Next Best Thing to Mummy

I can clearly remember driving in my car in the 1990’s  on the way to collect my children from school. The news reporter on the radio said that by the year 2010 more school-age children would have mobile phones than wrist watches. What a load of rubbish I thought to myself. Why would school children need mobile phones? (How wrong can a person be!).

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My sons had phones when they were teenagers, mostly given as presents for birthdays or Christmas. We had a rule; no phones at the table when we were eating together.

They had pay-as-you-go contracts which they paid for themselves from pocket money, money earned from Saturday jobs or money given for birthdays and Christmas.

I remember my step-son saying that he wanted a contract phone so he wouldn’t have to keep topping up his credit. He seemed to be permanently on his phone and we used to joke that he would need an operation to have it surgically removed from his ear!

His dad told him that he would have to wait until he was 18 to get a contract phone. He went into a phone shop on his own and asked for one. The problem was when he was asked his date of birth. He was never great at maths so he couldn’t work out the year which would make him the 18 years he was pretending to be ( he was actually 13 or 14) the year he told the assistant made him only 12! The contract phone was refused. He eventually managed to run up a pay-as-you-go bill for hundreds of pounds over just a few months, we made him pay it off at a certain sum a month and he learnt his lesson by this mistake.

Mobile phones for children, in my opinion, are great for emergencies, although most children will use them for playing games or going on social media such as Facebook.

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My grandson came to stay with us for a weekend when he was about 4. He kept asking when my eldest son would be home because he wanted to play games on his phone.

My 10 year old granddaughter has just received her first phone for her birthday. My son has used the Google family link as a way of monitoring how she is using her phone, who she is talking to, what she is watching on it. If she is on the phone when she should be going to sleep, he can even turn it off.

The day after her birthday she managed to lose it; it fell out of her pocket when she was riding her bike. She was very upset on discovering it was missing. Her dad had put a tracking device on the phone available on the Google family link - this meant that he was able to track the phone to the house of a lady who had picked it up from the pavement.

When I was a childminder, I would put old mobile phones in my dressing-up box for the children to play with. One little girl placed the phone in a handbag and told me, 'hold on a minute, Karen, my handbag is ringing!' She then had a long conversation with ‘the caller’. Great for developing imagination and communication skills.

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The newsreader was correct. More school-age children do have mobile phones than wrist watches: they look at their phones when asked the time, which makes me wonder if they could tell the time from an analogue clock face, rather than the digital reading.

Mobile phones can be a problem if they are taken to school. There is a risk of them being stolen, lost or taken away by the teacher. Children could also be bullied for not having the best phone.

Some people worry about the alleged risk of being exposed to radiation  from using a mobile phone

So are mobile phones good or bad for children? I would love to hear what others think!

By Next Best Thing to Mummy

This is a shared blog, you can read the original blog here.

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