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Kids & phones, am I getting old?

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Andy Kev.

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Nice comment about low quality parents here. My personal context here: Here in Switzerland kids are expected to travel to school alone from the age of 4 years old. Not being Swiss I found packing my 4 year old off to walk alone pretty horrific. In hindsight it was perfectly okay.

When this involved walking around the corner and meeting friends on the way it was kind of okay, however, when, at the age of 9, this became a bus ride to the neighbouring village we bought him a phone so we could keep in contact if needed. This gave security at both ends of calls / messages. I do not see this as low quality parenting!

As this has become the norm, classes now have hangers over the doors where kids are expected to leave their phones during lessons. That's also not bad as they are expected to focus on the job in hand.
You've missed the point of what I was saying or more likely, I have not explained my point well enough.

I reckon it's a fairly good idea when parents equip their kids with simple, low tech phones for security/emergency/admin purposes. What I meant by "low quality parents" is the sort of people who are happy to give their kids a full blown smart phone and then take little or no interest in policing their use of it.

RogerS mentioned above a parent taking no interest in her child as she (the parent) was buried in her smart phone. I'm sure we've all seen many of examples of parents ignoring or shushing the child at their side in favour of their phones. I also imagine that many parents are happy that their children are occupied with their phones as it saves them having to do some parenting.

We only get one shot at childhood and it more or less forms us for life. IMO parents have a duty to regard the raising of their children as their main priority in life. Too many kids end up in the courts or in care because their parents did anything but bring them up responsibly.

And of course the schools can do their bit in the manner you describe by making the kids hand over their phones on arrival and only giving them back at the end of the school day.
 
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Doug71

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I see no problem giving my 11yr old a phone, he's a good kid and I like to think I'm a good dad. He lives mainly with me but spends some time at his mums so it's handy for us to keep in touch.

He is the last of his group to get a phone, his school class has a Whatsapp group which he was missing out on.

His phone is linked to mine so I can tell exactly where he is in the world, I can set hours he uses his phone, he can't download anything without my permission etc.

He does use it to video call his friends which is great in these strange times, the conversations they have are hilarious!

Back in the day we all managed without phones but they are the normal these days so I think we just have to get on with it in a sensible way.
 

Andy Kev.

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I see no problem giving my 11yr old a phone, he's a good kid and I like to think I'm a good dad. He lives mainly with me but spends some time at his mums so it's handy for us to keep in touch.

He is the last of his group to get a phone, his school class has a Whatsapp group which he was missing out on.

His phone is linked to mine so I can tell exactly where he is in the world, I can set hours he uses his phone, he can't download anything without my permission etc.

He does use it to video call his friends which is great in these strange times, the conversations they have are hilarious!

Back in the day we all managed without phones but they are the normal these days so I think we just have to get on with it in a sensible way.
It sounds like you've adopted a sensible approach with respect to your lad's phone.

The only thing I'd question is the idea that smart phones are here - omnipresent in fact! - and that we just have to adapt to that. The point I made earlier is that we still haven't found a place for or allocated a place to digital technology in society. If you employ the "who benefits?" principle, it's fairly clear that it is massively in the interests of massive digital corporations for us all to become as digitised as possible because they make massive amounts out of it.

What we need to do is take a step back and judge it sensibly and if we come to a view that e.g. "We don't want this actually", then in a perfect world action should be taken. Consider how easy it is to access pornography. There have been reports for some time that some (mostly) boys are in need of psychotherapy because of what online porn is doing to the development of their sexuality. Perhaps Derek could comment.

Had we been told when smart phones and indeed the internet, were introduced that, "Look! You can have 24 h access to hard porn! Wonderful!", eyebrows might have been raised. Now we are saddled with it and the damage that it does. And of course that is not the only damaging disadvantage of a digitised world.

As a societal development, it has burst onto the scene far too quickly for us to have got a grip of it. Negligent parents will knowingly or unknowingly leave their kids to the mercy of the Internet and even well-intended, responsible parents will quite possibly have no control over what their kids are up to even if they think that they have. That's why my personal view is that under-18s should be allowed by law to own only the simplest of phones i.e. with no internet access.
 

DBT85

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Back in the day we all managed without phones but they are the normal these days so I think we just have to get on with it in a sensible way.
Many generations managed without TVs at all, then without tvs in each room, then without computers at all, then without computers in each room, then without phone at all, then without everyone having one. It's almost like a repeating pattern.
 

Terry - Somerset

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The reality is that smartphones are here and they are very cheap. They are not going to disappear so we need to manage them.

55 years ago (age 12) my horizons were limited by the local bus company, traditional library, and my parents. Formally organised pen-pals and exchange programmes were the only exceptions.

At that time living in a house with a telephone was a middle class indicator - most homes didn't have one!

Today kids can be far better informed, exposed to a wider range of inputs, have digital friends globally, be more aware of issues that impact upon them etc. They can be a force for great good.

There are risks - in particular media companies need much stronger regulation to limit abuse.

I just use a phone for calls, texts, occassional photos and information. I don't do social media, film, echo chamber news etc. I am an old f**t like many on here and will probably change only slowly.

But the world is changing as it has always done. The young and early adopters flourish, some adapt slowly, and the old and inflexible are marginalised. Just as has always been the case with technical and social change!
 

Andy Kev.

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Terry,

I agree entirely with your historical take on new developments. However, it seems to me that the danger with smart phones (or any other new technology for that matter) is to allow ourselves to form the view that such things are beyond our control. It was to illustrate that that I specifically raised the matter of the uncontrolled availability of pornography.

I think that the answer is probably going to be control of access via biometrics e.g. if you want a phone, you have to produce proof of date of birth and register your finger or iris print probably at the town hall at the time of purchase or do that before you are allowed to make a purchase. The system will then clearly know when you reach 18. In the meantime your access to various things will be controlled when you use said identifier to use a device. This is of course similar to censorship but it is nothing new e.g. we have age certificates for films.
 

Halo Jones

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We got my 11 yo a phone for his Christmas last year. Glad we did as he is now at high school and the school is so short on money they cannot photocopy class handouts, worksheets etc so they have to access the files digitally - phones out in every class so they can do their work! All homework is given out and has to be returned digitally too. He has a laptop too but we don't let him take that to school as it would probably only last a few hours before it was in bits (not his fault as he does look after his stuff but I'm not sure even the most rugged laptop would survive long in a high school!
 

PetePontoValentino

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You've missed the point of what I was saying or more likely, I have not explained my point well enough.

I reckon it's a fairly good idea when parents equip their kids with simple, low tech phones for security/emergency/admin purposes. What I meant by "low quality parents" is the sort of people who are happy to give their kids a full blown smart phone and then take little or no interest in policing their use of it.

RogerS mentioned above a parent taking no interest in her child as she (the parent) was buried in her smart phone. I'm sure we've all seen many of examples of parents ignoring or shushing the child at their side in favour of their phones. I also imagine that many parents are happy that their children are occupied with their phones as it saves them having to do some parenting.

We only get one shot at childhood and it more or less forms us for life. IMO parents have a duty to regard the raising of their children as their main priority in life. Too many kids end up in the courts or in care because their parents did anything but bring them up responsibly.

And of course the schools can do their bit in the manner you describe by making the kids hand over their phones on arrival and only giving them back at the end of the school day.
I bought my son an iPhone. If you're going to spend the money there's no point wasting it. It seems I am low quality.
It is a good solid product, easy for me to maintain and manage so on that basis I am okay being a rubbish parent. He has, however, worked his way into a job with a software development shop. Web development, databases and mobile apps so I am okay with being rubbish!
 

Andy Kev.

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I bought my son an iPhone. If you're going to spend the money there's no point wasting it. It seems I am low quality.
It is a good solid product, easy for me to maintain and manage so on that basis I am okay being a rubbish parent. He has, however, worked his way into a job with a software development shop. Web development, databases and mobile apps so I am okay with being rubbish!
I wouldn't for one minute suggest that you are low quality. I do wonder if you are perhaps a little over-sensitive as I don't see how you can read that into what I've tried to explain.
 

Keith 66

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My last job was as a D&T technician in a secondary school, mobile phones were the bane of the teachers lives. The kids were on them all the time or trying to.
Some went to extreme lengths to hide what they were doing in class. However as the technicians desk & computer was at the back of the workshop it gave two pairs of eyes. I had a code worked out with the teacher where i would idly tap a spanner on the steel pillar next to my desk, the number of taps signifying who was on their phone. Their faces were a picture when he walked up behind then & caught them at it.
Pity the senior management never followed the punishment through properly!
 

Nigel Burden

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When my children were at senior school in the late 90s it was common to see children walking home talking to their friend who was only a few steps in front on their phone. The novelty I suppose.

Nigel.
 
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