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?


About oliviaventura

I was born many years ago in... No, seriously, all you need to know about me is that I love love LOVE reading, and it's even more fun to write my own stories (I get to choose the ending that way). I've worked in plenty of different jobs, many in retail, which is the best way to meet some really colorful people, and also in recruitment, telecommunications, and food safety. I live in Melbourne, Australia, and I'm still on the lookout for Mr. Right, so if you know him, send him my way.

Posted on November 2, 2011, in Children and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Perhaps parents equip their young children with mobile phones in case they are ever separated from them in public? However, if that is the risk, wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper to fit them with a GPS tracking device? If it works to locate a Ferrari, it should be fine picking up a six year old.

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