A few days ago, I gave my son, Z, my old Blackberry phone. The reason for giving a nine-year-old boy a mobile phone was borne out of necessity. I’ve been so busy at work lately that I’ve been picking him up from school quite late. A day before I gave him my old phone, I was almost an hour late — not a very good experience for a kid to be left all alone in school. It’s a good thing Z is well-adjusted enough and actually loves his school so he didn’t mind it too much that I was late. All I got was “you’re so late! I went to the library.” Good kid.
With the phone in his school bag, Z can feel a little more secure since he can contact me anytime. I’ll also feel a little more assured since I can text him or call him if I’m running late. Now, why did I give him my Blackberry when my mom gave him a new Nokia phone? Simple reason, really. I can delete apps from the Blackberry; so what Z has is a phone without a single game except for Sudoku. I figured a phone with no games won’t distract him in school and it highlights its main purpose — as a communication tool and not as a gaming device.
I have softened my stance about mobile phones and children. I used to be against. I thought it was the height of frivolity — until I realized that it does serve a good purpose if used correctly. I also have to confess that getting sweet “I love you, Dada” texts from my son really touches me.
Here are pointers parents should consider about mobile phone usage among children:
What about you? Do you have any good tips about mobile phone usage and children?
Photo by Derek Olson