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1st phone aimed at 4-9 year olds - good or bad?

(57 Posts)
Itsnotahoover Fri 10-May-13 23:28:38

Link here

Noticed a heated discussion on fb earlier about these. They are a very simple phone, pre-programmed with up to 12 numbers that can make and receive calls only; no texts, Internet etc.

My initial thought was what the hell does a child as young as 4 need with a phone? But thinking logically, it would be handy if ever you get separated from your dc in a busy place, if they're on a sleepover at a friends and just want to speak to a parent, or for the slightly older child who ay be playing out/walking to school on their own.

Now I know that back in the day, we had nothing of the sort, but nowadays there are very few phone boxes around should a child ever find themselves alone or lost (I know there isn't one in our village) and the fact you can pre-programme it with 999 could be useful for people such as me that are single parents with no regular visitors, just in I ever fall downstairs or have some other accident whilst alone in the house with ds (we have a very stiff key lock on an old door which ds simply can't manage, and I'm not sure in a panic that he would be able to operate either the home phone or my mobile well enough to make a call).

However, my gut instinct is still that it's unnecessary for a small child to have a mobile so I'm very much on the fence with this! What does everyone else think?

ouryve Fri 10-May-13 23:32:31

MN have just had a call out for a product test for this.

I have a 9 year old who could use it, but I wouldn't need him to, so didn't apply. However, I can see a use for it for parents of kids who spend regular time with relatives or with parents who have separated, or even, who go on sleepovers but get cold feet for any reason.

deleted203 Fri 10-May-13 23:36:22

I think pure evil! (But then, I am the only person in Britain who doesn't own a mobile phone, so I may be biased). I loathe them with a deadly loathing, personally, and can't see the need.

manicinsomniac Fri 10-May-13 23:38:16

Instinctively I'm very against this but I can see your point about phone boxes etc.

In a way I think it almost makes our already hysterical culture even worse if we get used to the idea that our children need a mobile with them to play out etc.

But I can kind of see the temptation

DeafLeopard Fri 10-May-13 23:38:37

I think it is a good idea. DD is on the cusp of being allowed to call for her friend in the next street. I'd like her to be able to call me if there is a problem/ wants to ask if they can go to another friends etc

Nombrechanger Fri 10-May-13 23:39:27

I like it but don't know when my child would use it.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Fri 10-May-13 23:46:08

I wouldn't allow children more freedom on the basis that they've got mobile phones, I think it could be too lenient, iyswim.

However, I don't see why children need a specific phone. It's just a basic phone, you can get those easily enough and kids work their way around them, and get used to them, far quicker than adults do.

The payment plans seem expensive too. Yes, get your kid a basic phone but this one seems a lot. And this suggests that on PAYG the top ups expire, so you could end up losing more money.

MaryMotherOfCheeses Fri 10-May-13 23:47:46

Sowornout, I'm intrigued, how can you summon enough passion to have a "deadly loathing" for a mobile phone?

tethersend Fri 10-May-13 23:52:13

I think it's a good idea, although I would want to ensure that the numbers were unobtainable- 4-9 yos are obviously extremely vulnerable.

Itsnotahoover Fri 10-May-13 23:54:30

MaryMotherOfCheeses the problem with a normal phone though is they can text and call whatever numbers they like. These are just like a kind of panic button with only a few select numbers which appeals to me more.

CointreauVersial Sat 11-May-13 00:01:31

I can't quite see the point of it.

Children of 4, 5, 6....surely are never alone sufficiently to need a mobile phone.

Children of 9 (thinking of DD2 here) are nowadays too tech-savvy to be happy with such a simple thing. I contemplated signing up for the MN test recently, but I could just picture DD2's scornful face when I explain what the phone can/can't do. She's used to her iPod touch, her sister's smartphone.......

But I can see the appeal for older people who've missed the tech explosion and just want something simple, just not for kids.

CloudsAndTrees Sat 11-May-13 00:08:09

A child as young as the child that phone is designed for would not have need for a phone if they were bing taken care of properly.

No self respecting 9yo would want a phone like that, and if your 9yo needs a phone for some reason, then just buy them a cheap Nokia brick. My 10yo has one that cost me £15 including credit, it only ever gets used when he's out at the park and I want him to come home for dinner. If they are not responsible enough to use the phone as they have been told to, then they are not responsible enough to be out without an adult in the first place IMO.

Younger children simply shouldn't need a phone. If they are with one parent and want to call the other, then why wouldn't they be allowed to?Same with having a sleepover with friends.

MrsLouisTheroux Sat 11-May-13 08:21:24

Wow, Handset is £50 on contract or £70 PAYG with expensive call charges on top.

TentativeWhistleBlower Sat 11-May-13 09:13:28

Something like this would allow my oh to have more contact with his dd without having to go through her argumentative mother. So when dsd4 is missing him while at her mums, and vice versa, she can phone them.

megandraper Sat 11-May-13 09:16:03

I might get one for my DH. He finds mobiles too confusing, this might be just the thing...

orangepudding Sat 11-May-13 09:19:45

Would be perfect for my mum!

littleducks Sat 11-May-13 09:44:03

I have a 7 and 5 year old. I don't understand when they would use it. They still spend their lives with an adult present somewhere so if something happened the school/friends mum/brown owl/relative would call me on their behalf. They both know about 999 and could ring from a house phone or my mobile if required.

hiddenhome Sat 11-May-13 10:06:41

I've just bought a mobile phone for ds2 who is 8 because he's starting to play at the neighbours houses with his friends and I need to know where he is.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Sat 11-May-13 10:12:01

Tentative - if the mother is really the problem, she will simply monitor/turn off/lose the phone if she wants, it wouldn't make any difference.

Celticlassie Sat 11-May-13 11:35:21

£55! You can get a cheap £9.99 handset in Phones 4 U with no internet or anything and just show them how to use speed dial. A lot of 4 year olds are just as good with smartphones, etc, as I am.

cupofteaandasliceofcake Sat 11-May-13 11:40:42

I think it's ridiculous. What on earth does a 4 year old need a mobile phone for anyway?!
As it's relevant to the post and I'm a name changing regular, I actually blogged my thoughts on this very topic yesterday.

Madamecastafiore Sat 11-May-13 11:44:01

Brilliant idea. Can only contact people I deem necessary and no way to text or access Internet.

We are testing one and my cool long haired skater dude boy can't wait to receive his. He takes dh's phone normally when going to call for one of his friends and would be much easier for him to have his own. We do live in a small village though do he probably has a lot more freedom than other children of his age.

Primrose123 Sat 11-May-13 11:55:56

I don't like it for a child, but it would be perfect for my mum! She is in her early 70s, and is very 'young' in most respects, but is hopeless with all forms of technology. She has a very simple phone but struggles if she gets onto the wrong screen. She only phones, can't text or use saved numbers, or check missed calls or anything. I might get one for her!

munchkinmaster Sat 11-May-13 12:04:03

I think it's a fine idea but not for 4-9 year olds. A net free phone is a good idea for 9-14 year olds. So a cheap brick is better.

It's just brightly packaged crap to make parents think phones are okay for younger kids and for kids to whine and complain for.

I know you'll say no one would buy a four year old a phone but as soon as a 'special' phone is made for 4 year olds some people will think they should. And plenty of 7 year olds will say ' but even babies get phones these days.....'

gordyslovesheep Sat 11-May-13 12:04:28

I like the idea for older kids - DD1 is 10 and desperate for a phone - she walks to school alone sometimes (her idea of a treat!) and plays out a lot locally with mates so I am considering a cheap one for her birthday - PAYG basic phone no widgets

No idea what a 4 year old needs a phone for though!

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