All the other kids have one

All the other kids have one

After many arguments with Optus, I was finally able to pick up my new mobile phone on the weekend. It’s shiny, it’s new and as I’m a sucker for new technology, I love it. So much so, I might even forgive Optus for the stuffing around. Maybe.

Anyway, I’m not a tech blogger by any stretch of the imagination, so this post isn’t about the ins and outs of my new phone. However, the arrival of the little white box did cause an outcry in our house. And it went pretty much like this….

“I want your old phone”


“I want your old phone”


And then just repeat until someone is crying and it’s probably going to be both of you. You might want to throw in a few “it’s not fair” and “I never get anything” as well, just to mix it up or you might get bored before the game is really over.

Eventually one of you will storm into their bedroom and cover their head with the doona, crying at the injustice of the world. The other will probably pour themselves a glass of wine and wish they’d been smarter and hidden the new phone until they were in a better place to deal with it.

I’ll leave it up to you to guess which is which…

However, all this has led us to think about what age Poss might be able to have her own mobile phone. We’ve tried a “one-step-better-than-a-toy-phone” but she quickly lost interest in it, stopped charging it and now has lost it.

She struggles to remember her school bag/lunch box/homework each day, let alone a mobile phone, and once even returned home without school shoes. Without. School. Shoes. I’m still not sure how that happened. To be honest, it doesn’t bode well for a “real” phone.

In saying that, there are moments when it would be really useful, especially as she’s at making her way to gymnastics twice a week (which sounds more impressive than it is – she has to walk across an oval, still within her school grounds) and then we pick her up from there.

We’ve been held up once or twice and while I’ve been sitting in traffic, cursing everyone within a 5km radius, I have mused on how much better it would be to be able to just call her and let her know we were on our way. Instead I just let the anxiety eat away at my insides, imagining all the horrors that might occur while she’s waiting for us.

But is that really cause to allow her to have a phone? Probably not. She’s ten. But she tells me that lots of kids in her class have phones. I’m not sure if that’s a lie – it possibly is – I’m sure I remember spinning my mum a similar line about VCR’s when I was her age… Yes, I am that old.

It brings me to my question though, and I suspect I’m not the only one: at what age do you think we should give into the mobile phone argument with our kids?

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  1. It’s largely a non issue here because my 10 year old doesn’t go anywhere that has phone reception without me or another adult. Once she gets to high school she may get one, mainly so that she can contact us when she is in town.
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  2. I’ve been subject to the “it’s not fair” speech on more than one occasion, but as far as I’m concerned mobile phones happen when high school does and not before.

    I have one child who regularly forgets their lunch box, and homework, jumpers etc. There is no way I’m spending money on something they don’t need.

  3. workingwomenaus says:

    Not until high school when Miss11 will be catching public transport to and from school. I think primary school is way too young for my daughter. She has my old phone (without a sim card) that she uses in the same way Poss uses an ipad. It’s for downtime and taking photos. Funnily enough it’s rarely in her possession lately as it’s her ‘currency’ and has been confiscated.

  4. My daughter was 10 when she got a phone and that was mainly because she was catching the train to school with her brother. She is now eleven and makes the trip on her own and having the phone gives me peace of mind. I have an app on the phone that lets me know when she gets to school and arrives back home, that has also helped us out when the train she was in went a different direction to usual and she thought she was lost – she wasn’t and was able to make sense of the transport system whilst talking on the phone to me. Having a phone is a luxury I now insist upon but it comes with challenges. My number 1 priority is that all devices are charged in the lounge room overnight.
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  5. It’s a different issue from worrying she’ll leave it behind, but I had a friend who wanted to get a phone for her son so she could get hold of him in an emergency and he was a bit irresponsible. Made lots of expensive calls and ran up a $150 debt.

    So she called Telstra and they’ve now set it up as receive only. So mum can call it, his friends can call it, he can’t send txts, he can call 000. It works out well.

    Which stops all the problems schools have with phones – kids playing on them, watching things on the net, being distracted. If your kid is responsible I’d give them the ability to be able to call *you* as an ideal option first, but if you do need to take that away it is an option. You can get the $10 doesn’t expire for a year Aldi phone plan (if it still exists).

    But for not getting it left behind? Harder. A particular pocket in the school bag that’s zipped in? An ancient unkillable Nokia you could bear to lose and you leave the title screen saying “Please return to ….” Not sure.

  6. Gemma got her godmother’s iPhone 5 after I was done using it to bridge the great Telstra debacle. It doesn’t have a sim yet, but she can find Telstra WiFi at any payphone. Gemma is rule girl and will feel comfortable with the phone when she gets to go places on her own. It is not something she expected though. After not being able to get in touch with her for hours on Halloween made the decision for me. It is so personal, this decision!


  1. […] (aka imitating an ambulance siren) over and over again how she never gets anything; namely a mobile phone, a puppy, new shoes, hundreds of dollars worth things from the American Girl Doll store. I’m […]

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