How young is too young?
Not long ago, my not-quite-six year old cousin told me she needed a mobile phone. Those were her exact words: I need a mobile phone.
I was horrified. She’s FIVE, for crying out loud. She goes nowhere without adult supervision. What does she need a phone for? Her response: because.
I remember using the “because” reason when I was a child. Basically, it means “there’s no real reason except I saw/I want/everyone else has.” It rarely got me what I wanted, and that holds true to this day, as my uncle and aunt both told her no.
My question is, what would she do with the phone once she had it? Well, the first week or so she’d call everyone she could, just because she could. But after that? If I remember correctly, talking is boring to young children. My beloved little cousin is no different. Put her on the phone with a friend or relative, and she’ll tell you all about her day – but that’s it. There’s no desire for conversation; she’d rather play. So doesn’t it stand to reason that she’d prefer to have a friend over to play than to talk to them on the phone?
What it comes down to, I guess, is the novelty factor (ooh, I have a mobile phone!) and peer pressure. If everyone else has one, and it’s all over the TV and magazines, then of course she wants one too.
I’m not a parent, so maybe I’m wrong on all this. Anybody care to share an opinion? How young is too young for a mobile phone, if the child never leaves home without adult supervision? And why do kids want them?