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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mobile Phones for Kids?

I've just returned from the local Post Office (which is my third visit) for the sole purpose of applying for Drew's first passport. Each time I go there I see a different PO Advisor and each one has found a different fault with our passport application and photo. This time, the date was missing on the back of Drew's photo and this has to be added by the Countersignee...another wasted trip. It's funny how they (the Government) are so strict about things like adding the date on the photo when the passport will last for 5 years and in that time, Drew's photo will not change, but Drew will! How will Passport Control know it's her in say, 3 years time? I took her photo at 9 weeks old (by laying her down on the floor with a white blanket behind her as per the Government rules) and anyone who know anything about kids will know how quickly they grow and change, week by week. I could probably take any child on holiday with me with her passport!

Anyway, whilst I was driving to the Post Office, I passed a local school just as the gates had opened and the primary aged children were dribbling out with their over sized rucksacks. I noticed that at least 4 kids were on mobile phones! AND...the Lollipop Man was on his mobile while he was waiting for a break in the traffic! It seems everyone has a mobile phone these days and everyone feels they HAVE to talk to someone ALL the time. I nearly wrote...'I remember a time when there were no mobile phones', but I realised that would make me sound old although I don't remember when 'it was all fields' as I'm not THAT old.

So, that got me thinking. In that moment, whilst in the car, I made the decision that Drew would NEVER have a mobile phone until she could afford one herself. But then I wondered whether parents gave their kids mobile phones for security reasons, so they could use the phone in an emergency. Not a bad idea, but how could you ensure your child would not use their mobile phone for any other reason and how would you stop them from using it whilst in school where it could get stolen or even confiscated?

What about the bad habits they could pick up? Spelling Thx instead of Thanks and L8r instead of later and the risk of developing RSI at a young age. What about mobile phone radiation? Is it harmful to children? Then there is the risk that your child will be the subject of bullies if you don't give them one of these cool new gadgets. You run the risk of sounding like YOUR parents as you hear yourself say 'Just because your friends have one, doesn't mean you have to have one too'. Thing is, when I was a child/early teen, hearing that didn't make any sense. Of course it meant I HAD to have one, otherwise I would be ridiculed by the other kids and struggle to retain friends! Only it wasn't mobile phones in the mid 80's, it was having your ears pierced, wearing makeup and high heels.

So, I think the mobile phone is up for debate at the moment. What do you all think? Place your vote opposite.
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