I used to be indecisive…

…but now I'm not so sure

is it too much too young?

16 Comments

Each time I collect mobile phones from Year 6 (10 and 11 year olds) children as they arrive in class, to send for safe-keeping to the office until the end of the school day, I wonder why so many of them need to have phones.  Is it to keep their parents informed of their progress as they walk from the classroom to the car?  Perhaps, for the children who are walking home, it’s to let mum know that they are nearly home so that she can pour their glass of milk and put a snack on a plate.  Studies have shown that the average age for a child to have its own mobile phone is eight, which I think is far too young.  I just don’t really see why they need one.

In addition to having phones, so many children now seem to have their own laptop or iPad, a television in their bedroom and all sorts of other electronic equipment.  What happened to the ‘old days’ where a blackberry was a fruit that we picked from the hedgerows, not a communication device?  For long car journeys there are portable, individual DVD players so that children can be entertained with their own choice of film, headphones on, and silent.  I’m sure that must be a fantastic bonus for a very long journey, but what happened to everyone in the car listening to a story CD, or some music?

I sound like a miserable, grumpy old woman (oh, wait a minute, maybe I am…) but I think it’s a case of too much too soon.

What is your opinion on the subject – do many children have it all much too young?

English: Blackberry Deutsch: Brombeere

Blackberry  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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16 thoughts on “is it too much too young?

  1. I absolutely agree Elaine, I don’t think young kids need mobile phones or their own iPads either. While I agree that they can be handy devices and can even be educational, kids need to have a variety of experiences including outdoor play and using their imaginations. I know a couple of kids who have an iPad each and would much prefer to spend hours playing on them, even when it is lovely and sunny outdoors, than do something constructive, which is quite sad in a way.

  2. And so expensive!

    I think it’s important for children to learn social skills, and spending hours on an iPad or tv or xbox isn’t going to help with that – or perhaps it is? Aren’t these the social skills they’ll need in the future? Aren’t they going to need to know their way around Facebook and other social media, as if it’s second nature? My 13 year old plays xbox football while chatting through the xbox to the friends he left behind in America. This is going to be their kind of world.

    I think most parents just feel out of their depth in knowing how to deal with technology.

    • You have put a perspective on this that I hadn’t really considered fully – the fact that social interaction via electronic means is the way of the future. Perhaps you are right, that it my feeling slightly out of my depth with some of it that makes me feel it’s all going too fast.

  3. They’re into fruit for technology, aren’t they Apple, Orange, Blackberry… do you know this sketch?

    I grew up without a tv, so I see all this glut of technology with suspicion. I fought the mobile phone until we moved to east bumblefuck, with rare and badly organised school buses with drivers who can’t count pupils and leave them outside school from time to time. Bigfoot got his first phone aged 14, and his brother and sister at 11 – but the littler ones don’t have internet access, and I’d rather gouge my own eyes out with a blunt spatula than let them have Facebook.
    They each have their own laptop (but we didn’t finance Apple – we need the cash for or Zimmer frames later in life). Somehow our home is always lively and noisy, even if they are fighting over the remote 🙂

    • That sketch is hilarious! I had forgotten all about it. 😀 😀
      I can see why it would be a good idea for mobile phones to be used in the country where buses etc are unreliable, or if school is far away. I agree with you that keeping them away from Facebook for as long as possible is a good idea!

  4. I’d like to know who pays the bills…

  5. We gave our boys phones in Year 6. That was the year they were allowed to walk to school and home alone. It was for my peace of mind – any problems, they could reach us.

    • Sometimes I want to say – “Well, in my day we didn’t have mobile phones and we managed to get to and from school safely” but the reality is that we DO have mobile phones, so perhaps when children are old enough and are travelling to and from school alone it could make everyone feel safer.

  6. Eight is FAR too young! My little brother is 7 and he doesn’t have a mobile phone but he knows how to use one. He gets everything else he wants, so it probably won’t be long before his mum gets him a mobile as well… unless my dad manages to prevent it.

    • I think all children, even pre school ones, probably know how to use a mobile phone – it’s just a fact of life to them, but I feel 8 is definitly too young to have one of your own. Certainly if you are going to be given free rein to use it as you please (accessing the interenet etc) rather than just to make calls from, or send texts.

  7. I managed to survive perfectly well without one! But I guess times have changed!

  8. Sadly times have changed and most children in secondary school now have a phone. The kid who doesn’t is the odd one out. They all like to text each other, take photos and play games etc. There’s not much you can do to prevent this avalanche of technology except teach them to be sensible and safe with it.

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