View Full Version : When should a kid get a mobile phone??

29th Apr 2004, 09:29
Daily Telegraph yesterday:

Full Article (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2004%2F04%2F28%2Fnphone28.xml)

A quarter of seven- to 10-year-olds own mobile phones, according to a survey published yesterday.
The figures show that the proportion of primary school pupils with mobiles has almost doubled from 13 per cent in 2001.

The statement below beggars belief:

Jenny Catlin, the company's consumer analyst, said: "Many parents find it reassuring to be able to get in touch with their children at any time and some consider mobile phones important for their children's safety."

Mrs DM and I discussed this last night…..why the heck does a 7 or-10 year old need a mobile phone and what are the parents doing allowing their children to be in a situation they consider unsafe???

I agree that a mobile phone can be a great aid in an emergency – for example a car breakdown on a deserted road at night…..(Mrs DM regularly driving such roads was the reason we got our first one…incredibly we managed to communicate quite effectively before that.)

Children being children are more likely to assume an air of invulnerability “’cos I got a mobile” and take greater risks than they would normally. Wandering farther from home than normal……..going places they shouldn’t…..

Teenagers that go out for an evening and use a mobile to ring for a lift home or to advise they’ve missed the last bus….I can understand that. But consideration that it is a safety device NO! (mobile phones didn’t help the poor Soham girls :( )

Needless to say, the discussion has been raised by our 12yr old. Some of her classmates already have them (including one ambassador's daughter who has to carry two at all times :rolleyes: ….) however, she is well aware of our position and understands she does not need one. We’ll probably crack sometime, who wants their child to be the odd-one-out? For the time being, though, reason is holding the fort chez DM

So I’ve said my piece (without touching on the negative health apsects!)….you say yours!

When would (did) you give your child a mobile phone?

tony draper
29th Apr 2004, 09:36
Watched a item on the news on this yesterday,the thought struck me, would it be possible to configure a mobile phone so the sprogs can only call one number,mum or home for instance?

29th Apr 2004, 09:41
Excellent idea td.

Bet the mobile companies won't go for it though.

It's anti bottom line!:)

29th Apr 2004, 09:52
My twin girls got them got their 11th birthday - justification being that the move to grammar school 9 miles over the moors meant relying on Mrs TC picking them up by car. Mobiles mean they can be informed if she is running late / broken down etc etc. Likewise, if there are any sudden after school activities they want to do, they can call and rearrange the lift.

Not used for much else - ten quid a year on top ups each does it for them.

a is dum
29th Apr 2004, 09:55

I did not give the small offspring a mobile.
Two of them bought a second hand mobile as they wanted one. Fine with me. It's their pocket money.
The prepaid card trick works the wonders of selfregulation. ALL the pocketmoney went on cards the first few weeks. Now they avoid phoning unless necessary.

The fixed homephonebill shows the network and numbers. When they started phoning friend's mobiles on the fixed phone "words were had" and this has died down as a result.

So, no objections from my side. It's their money.

BTW, I subscribe to Timcats opinion. They are very handy for running late notifications and the like.

29th Apr 2004, 10:07
I think Tony hit the nail on the head, and yes there are phones that allow you to do that. I know mine can be set up with a password & unless you know it you can only call set numbers...for example 'home' or 'Mum's mobile'.

I don't know if the older/cheaper phones have the same functions.

29th Apr 2004, 10:20

I'm OK with that type of use as I said.

It's the general idea of them being consider safety equipment that gets me!

a is dum

My sister had the same thing were her kids....it's amazing how a lack of pocket money curbed the calls!

No1 DM girl has jus thad an MSN account opened for her (peer pressure and guilty feeling parents...) ....she still can not explain why she "needs" to "talk" with her school mates that she saw not 2 hours previously and will see again tomorrow....:rolleyes:

29th Apr 2004, 10:25
a is dum

same as you except Little Bre's #1 & #2 got their phones for Christmas, but that was all.


did you not spend time on the phone after school when you were a kid ? I did

29th Apr 2004, 10:28
There is significant evidence that possession of a mobile phone can degrade, not improve, a child's safety.

How many times have you seen them walking along the road, head down, texting their mates, totally oblivious to all their surroundings? Not conscious in the least of the person who is about to say "I like your mobile - I think I'll have it - and anything else of valuse you might have", and oblivious also the the car that is about to mow them down because they're not paying attention to where they're going and what is around them.

My 12-year old stepdaughter has a mobile phone that the HugMistress' ex gave her. We didn't approve at all. Just glad that her school refuse to allow pupils to bring them on the premises.

29th Apr 2004, 10:55
M. Bre 901

Nope - telephone was used occassionally to arrange who would come over or where I would go to play....communication was otherwise done face to face. After school was spent messing around in the garden usually!

And no - it wasn't back in the days of operator connected calls...:E

29th Apr 2004, 11:10
Our kids grammar school has a what we think is fair policy regarding mobiles. They believe a policy of banning them would be futile, as kids would just still bring them and hide them away. Yes, they can bring them, yes, the older ones which are allowed off site at lunchtimes can use them then, but, woe betide anyone who is caught with one switched on at any other time. The kids seem to respect the policy as a whole and incidents are very rare.

tony draper
29th Apr 2004, 11:23
Thats something that always baffles me,sis in law and lady friend from up the road go out they spend 6 hours in each others company, shopping, coffeeing, yacking and doing other lady things, yet when they get home and go their separate ways they immediately phone each other and spend another hour yacking??


Wee Weasley Welshman
29th Apr 2004, 11:34
I'm all for them.

2 features in particular.

a) You can lock the phone so as only certain numbers are available plus 999.

b) You can subscribe to a service which allows you to check the location of the mobile phone at will or at set intervals. In effect a tracking device.


I think making the child responsible via pocket money for prepay vouchers is an excellent way of introducting them early to the concept of managing finances vs desires.

I also happen to know that if you are ever in the horrendous position of calling the police to report a missing child then their first action will be to use the mobile number to track the last known position. It is further possible to have phones modified in such a way that they will report into the network even if apparently switched off.

It is further possible to have a mobile phone with a panic button facility which will:

a) make the phone report to the network continuously until it looses battery power

b) trigger an alert call to you or anyone else specified

c) make the phone appear switched off

d) start audio broadcast from its handfree microphone to the network which will record it

In addition one has to consider the benefits over the coming few years. By 2006 all new mobiles will have the ability to capture medium resolution picture/video. In effect nearly every citizen and child walking the street will have the ability at 5 secs notice to record visually anything that occurs.

This will have an enormous positive effect of crime reporting, investigation and prosecution.

Conider possible strategies for children regards Stranger Danger and the ability for they and their friends to take pictures. Consider the risk the opportunistic criminal now faces surrounded not only by CCTV but by a walking army of photo/videographers.

On the question of being mugged. It is now simple to have a phone totally frozen out of all networks if stolen - thus much reducing the temptation to steal them. As for talking and texting - yep that is dangerous.



29th Apr 2004, 12:31

All your points are sound and valid.

However, I come back to the point where I have an issue.
A 7 year old child should NOT in any circumstances be allowed to get into a position where many of your points kick in.

It is precisely the "safety" factors you have described that, IMHO, lend a false sense of security to the chils and encourages parents to relinquish themselves of their parental duties.

Maybe I should start another thread off:
[B] Parental duties (or neglect of) what makes your blood boil? [/]

WWW - you didn't actually state at which age you consider them to be a good idea.......

Wee Weasley Welshman
29th Apr 2004, 12:34
Age 5.

Layers of security need not give a false sense of security as any rational person knows that total security does not exist.



29th Apr 2004, 14:20
Dear DishMan and others,
I can totally understand the point of view that you are trying to make. I finished senior high school in 2003 and out of a final graduation class of 25 students I was the last student to leave without owning a mobile phone device; I was proud that I hadn't been sucked in to buying a mobile phone before it was neccessary.

I think it is completely uneccessary for childeren in the ages you have specified to have them as the can incur in further phone call/SMS costings to the parents, Not to mention...what is wrong with these kids using the home phone or if out in public a public telephone; there is nothing wrong with these phones to which I used all the time before I owned a mobile device.

On the other hand now that I do have a mobile phone which I purchased myself I find it useful to contact friends/family when I am out or need to send text messages which I do rather than make phone calls themselves.

So all in all I think mobile phones are very useful not just for the ones you have stated above DM, but are not for the younger childeren ages.

Kind Regards,

29th Apr 2004, 15:00

Levels of safety need not give false levels of security in a rational sense - true.
However, I am reminded daily by my 5 yr old that they have totally irrational thought processes as well as total logical and rational ones. Have you never reminded your child that donning a superman cape does not give them the ability to "fly" from the top of the stairs....?

A 5 yr old can not and should not be required to assume or de facto take on responsibilities that are those of the parent.
At no time should a 5 yr old be unsupervised by an adult ergo they do not need to have a personal mobile phone.

Unfortunately, working public phone boxes are getting rarer and rarer :(

29th Apr 2004, 15:14
DM, Oooh well here in australia we have a lot of phone booths even though most people use mobile phones but I guess public phones are to become a thing of the past over the next few years.

29th Apr 2004, 15:22
Depends where u r in oz....
I don't remember seeing many booths in Perth.....maybe I wasn't aware of them..?
However, I do know that as soon as I drove a few Kms out of the built up areas, I didn't get any coverage for the mobile anyway....... :ugh:

29th Apr 2004, 15:37
My daughters have had a deprived upbringing. No TV/VCR in their bedrooms, no electronic TV/computer games. In essence, nothing to mindlessly waste time on.

Books galore, loads of family conversation covering any topic they wanted to discuss. Result - great kids getting good results, playing a part in the community, playing/enjoying sports etc, and getting the very best out of life.

Mobiles came quite late in their life, and they definitely have a safety factor for us as a family, for example, messaging that they just missed a train, or whatever.

To umm... actually answer the question :D I think that 11 yrs old is about right, as they're moving on to new schools and friends, and becoming more independent. Giving them phones was a sign of interest and trust for us. My two have never abused the facility, spend little, and it makes all our lives easier.

Kalium Chloride
29th Apr 2004, 18:01
When they can afford it themselves. There's no shortage of communication devices around, including the trusty payphone, and I've never had a problem with getting a message to anyone if I've been desperate enough (very rare in itself).

Since practically everyone else has a mobile, then simply ask to borrow theirs if you need to make a call - and cough up for the cost.

Kids don't need them any more than they need designer trainers. It's about time parents stopped spoiling them and started teaching them a few proper lessons in life.

Wee Weasley Welshman
29th Apr 2004, 19:30
Spoiling them? Cost a tenner and their pocket money can cover any useage.

Hell they are throwaway items - I spend more on a pair of socks then I do on a mobile.



30th Apr 2004, 14:54
With you on that - poor deprived DM kids too in same scenario....but we're holding out on the phone for a while longer!

30th Apr 2004, 19:25
Have managed to get to the grand old age of 52 WITHOUT owning a mobile phone. Had a company one for a while once which was useful at the time.

Firm believer in:

Those who NEED them don't WANT them. Those who WANT them don't NEED them.

Children do not NEED them.

(OK, some of the situations mentioned by previous posters may make them DESIREABLE but by no means necessary)