We have had a couple of parenting firsts this week. Both the boys have their own mobile phones. We have always helped pretty strong views on children and technology and I have written before that I felt kids under nine didn’t need mobile phones.
So what happened? Well, Maxi got into his first choice senior school this week and we are all delighted, but it means that he will be travelling some distance either way on a bus and it is also his 11th birthday in a couple of weeks, so we decided the time had come to buy him a phone.
So that left Mini, who is a year younger. We made the decision that rather than wait another year to get Mini a phone we would do it at the same time. Partly as it saved an argument, but also he will be going to school on his own and spending less time with his brother and this is something we want to encourage.
Is your child ready for a mobile phone?
I put a shout out to some of my Mama friends and asked them about when their kids got mobile phones and what rules and regulations they have in place.
- JJ got his first phone this Christmas, he is 12 and the reason we allowed it is because there are no public call boxes any longer and as he travels alone by public transport to school it was important that we could stay in touch. I put a £7 bundle on each month and he is using it very responsibly…. so far! Michelle at http://notperfection.co.uk/
- The three eldest aged 17, 15 and 13 all have them and they got them when they started high school although we pick them up and drop them off it is handy for letting me know if a club gets cancelled etc plus we live quite remotely so they use them to communicate with their friends mostly via fb messenger! www.hexmumblog.com
- Hello! Tattooed_mummy here at www.tattooedmummy.co.ukmy daughter had a phone (not a smart one) at 8 when she started to walk to school alone. Now she’s 16 she saves up to buy her own phones. She got her first smart phone at about 12. We restrict the time she can spend on it at home or she watches youtube all day! I buy her a £7.50 giffgaff goodie bag each month, unlimited texts, masses of calls, a bit of data.
- My 10 year old has just been given a phone but she isn’t allowed to have it on her all of the time. It is for her to use if she’s goes to the shop by herself so we can contact her and because my husband works away 7 days at a time it means she can skype/message him if she feels the need to. She doesn’t have any friends numbers on there yet just a few family members. www.mamamummymum.co.uk
- My eldest only got one when she went to secondary school as she had to get the school bus and I wanted to make sure she got there & back ok. She has a contract iPhone as it works out cheaper for us then constantly topping up her credit and buying a phone for her as she is always talking to her friends on it. However I do limit her use, she has to bring it downstairs by 8 pm and also we regular check it to see what she has been up to. We also take her phone off her as punishment if she Is cheeky or refuses to tidy her bedroom. Http://www.newcastlefamilylife.co.uk
- My older 2 were 11 and they got them just before they started secondary school mainly to be able to contact me for school runs etc and also as they had just started going places with friends so I wanted them to be able to contact me if they needed to. The oldest has social media on her phone and I have access and passwords to her accounts on my phone and the youngest only texts really. Www.themcallens.co.uk
- My 8 yr old was recently given my old phone. She only has the phone numbers for me, her dad, home and her grandparents. She takes it with her when she plays at the park but mostly she uses it for games. Www.happyhandley.com
- My son starts middle school in September and I’ve been considering it. But it’s not something I feel is necessary I mean we all survived without one until our mid-twenties. Http://www.joannedewberry.co.uk
- Aha, my favourite subject wink emoticon Mine were both was about 8 when they got a phone although they were only basic ones then, They’re almost 11 and 13 now and they both have an iPhone 5 and my eldest has Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – all private and all regularly monitored by me. I understand that we managed until we were much older without phones but they weren’t around then so that’s completely different in my eyes – our parents no doubt managed without some of the things we had too. Like it or not, they’re a part of life now and there isn’t a single child in my eldest’s class who doesn’t have a phone. x x Diary of a Frugal Family
- Mine were all 11 when they got their’s – when they started senior school. It’s a 25 minute walk to school so they had a phone for their safety. I found that the boys use theirs for games but Abbey used hers to phone / text her friends. I set a text / call limit per month but the only thing the boys use up is their data allowance. chelseamamma.co.uk
Both the boys are aware that their phones are a real investment and I spent a lot of time deciding which phones to get and why. We finally decided on the iPhone 5S. Partly as we could sell their iPods and also as they are the phones me and the Husbeast use.
Once the decision was made the time came to get the best deal we could. We had already decided to add them to our contract, but we wanted to purchase the phones outright. This is where Flubit came in to help us.
You might not have heard of it before, but Flubit.com is the UK’s 3rd biggest online marketplace behind Amazon and Ebay – but works very differently.
Of course, you could just browse through the products on the website and buy if you see something that takes your fancy, but what makes Flubit.com really special is the magic little ‘demand bar’ at the top of the homepage. This allows you to get a better price on the stuff you actually want – you just give them the Amazon.co.uk link of the item you want to buy and they’ll give it to you cheaper through one of their online retailers. The same exact item, just cheaper!
Flubit.com say their platform “empowers consumers to demand a discount on items they want to buy, and gives online retailers the chance to win more orders whilst protecting their margins.”
Discounts are on average 10% lower, but can be as much as 15% off depending on the product and category you’re shopping in. We’ve found electronics, toys and games, home and garden, film & TV to be good categories for discounts, but you might find that more niche products don’t deliver the same amount off – but it’s always worth trying!
So if you’re a regular Amazon shopper, give them a go. Just find the item you want to buy, copy the product web address and paste it into Flubit.com.
First you get an “instant offer”, typically only a couple of percent cheaper, but if you don’t mind waiting for a couple of hours you can hold out for an even better discount. Our phone cost £253.14 down from £275.00, which is a saving of £21.86 all for waiting for less than 24 hours. Not bad eh!
It’s completely free to use and there is no obligation to buy. If you fancy giving them a go but not sure what you want to buy, check out their recent roundup of popular toys for 2016 here.
So having phones meant that we have had to reinforce our screen time rules
In addition, to the above phones bring an additional aspect of concern – just read the statistics below and tell me that they don’t worry you.
- According to the Cyberbullying Research Center (CRC), 25 percent of kids have been harassed or bullied with mobile calls or texts.
- Only about half of the students who are cyberbullied tell their parents, also according to the CRC.
- 15 percent of kids have received a sexting message from someone they know.
- 60 percent of kids have sent texts during classroom hours.
So we have introduced additional rules and had discussions about what they text or say and hat apps they use. This post about 10 things I learned about Catfish by Who’s the Mummy was perfectly timed.
We all put our mobile phones in a designated place at 6 pm, both of the boys and me and MadDad. We went to model the behaviour we want the kids to use.
I would love to know your thoughts on when is the right time to give kids a mobile phone.