A very timely Featured Guest post for me, as my eldest daughter and her peers (aged 10 and 11) are all talking about getting a mobile phone this Christmas, ready for when they start senior school next September :
One of the main things that’s likely to be at the top of many children’s Christmas lists this year is a mobile phone.
According to an international survey, British children are more likely to own a mobile phone by the age of 10 than children based in other countries. Around three quarters of children aged 10 living in Britain have their own mobile phone.
A co-founder of a parenting site has claimed that this is because the UK isn’t as family focused as some other countries.
Whatever the reasons behind the trend, there’s certainly no escaping it. Seeing children playing on mobile phones is a common sight these days. The question is should you give in and buy your child what they want this Christmas?
Pros and cons of giving your child a mobile
Before making your mind up about a mobile, it’s important to look at both the pros and the cons.
Of course, there’s also the advantage that you’ll get to see them really happy on Christmas morning. You can get good deals too; as Mobile by Sainsbury’s is currently offering budget prices and double nectar points.
One of the disadvantages of giving your child a mobile is the fact that it may leave them open to bullying. Texting is an easy way for bullies to target other children. This is something you’ll really need to watch. You could also be teaching your child that it’s ok to give in to peer-pressure.
It’s estimated that six out of 10 parents give in to their child’s demands for expensive presents due to guilt. They feel guilty because they are at work long hours. The trouble is that this mentality can encourage bad traits in children.
Things to really think about
One thing you need to really think about before you decide whether or not to get your child a mobile for Christmas is the content they will have access to. If you’re planning on buying a modern phone they tend to come with some impressive features.
One of the best things about them is also one of the worst when it comes to letting children use them. It’s possible to gain access to all kinds of content from a smartphone. At just the touch of the screen your child will have access to a wide range of adult content.
Mobileinsurance.co.uk carried out a survey that showed an incredible 58% of parents don’t keep tabs on what their children are using their phones for. The majority of those parents (42%) claim it’s because they just never got around to it.
If you’re a busy parent you need to think carefully about the content your child could be gaining access to while you aren’t around.
The good news is there are apps that can prevent your child from using the internet on their phone. Or you could contact the network operator and ask them to block certain sites. This will at least give you some peace of mind if you don’t have the time to constantly monitor their phone.
There are advantages and disadvantages that come with giving your child a mobile for Christmas. If you do plan on giving in and buying one, be sure to sit down with your child and teach them proper mobile etiquette.
Be sure they know about cyber-bullying, how to use the phone properly and when to use it. The phone can actually help to teach your kids good habits providing you educate them on how to safely use the phone properly.
The advantages of giving your child a mobile include the fact you can contact them when you need to. Another advantage many parents don’t even consider is the fact they can come with GPS tracking. This allows you to see exactly where your kids are.
Aside from that, the simple act of your child having a mobile means they’re more contactable by you. Research by Mobile by Sainsbury’s revealed that 55% of parents named texting friends and family the most popular thing to do with their phones while 37% of mums claimed their mobile was vital because it kept them in contact with their family.