Difficult decisions come in handy with parenting, and one of the important ones is when should you get your kid a mobile phone? No matter how much you want to save your kid from the negative impacts of the digital world, you have to face them one way or another. My daughter has now turned ten and I am still puzzled whether or not I should get her a phone.
To be honest, I prefer engaging her in school playground equipment or commercial playground equipment rather than busying her with a mobile phone. On the other hand, I worry what she might be doing at home or did she reach safely at school? I was unable to solve this two-sided mystery until the time I brainstormed a few questions. The queries that helped me decide whether I should be getting a phone to my ten-year-old daughter or not are
• Is she mature and responsible enough to understand the negative aspects of the Internet?
• How independent is she?
• Does she go to school by walk or by van or with an adult?
• How much time does she spend without parental supervision or an adult supervision?
• Am I frank enough to talk to her about cyber crimes and the Internet safety?
• Does it fit my budget?
When I thought about the answers to these questions, I decided NOT to buy her a mobile phone. First, because she isn’t mature enough to understand how badly someone can misuse her through her phone. She is at the age where she should be playing and learning rather than indulging with a boyfriend and ruining her academics. Secondly, she is totally dependent on me or my husband for everything, then why does she need a mobile phone?
Now, the next two questions took a lot of my time and somehow altered the decision I made while answering the first two. My daughter goes to school by walk and it keeps on worrying me until the time she gets back home. What if a car stops beside her and pull her inside and I don’t know where she is? What if she didn’t take care of traffic signals while crossing a road? At least with a mobile phone, she can text me when she reaches school and then I can spend my hours in peace. However, the digital negativities outweighed this worry and I still decided not to get her a phone and send her school by a van. I can keep connected to the van driver and my worry is solved. What is more, she hardly spends time without an adult supervision apart from when she sleeps or goes to the bathroom.
Even though I am friendly enough with my daughter to talk about the Internet safety and aware her with cyber crimes, I still feel the parent-child relationship stops kids to share their problems with parents. Even if I tell her how she should be using her phone, there might be times when she misuses it because it is an immature age and she might think it’s okay to do it something unethical or illegal sometimes when it is NOT.