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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?

angcas972 Thu 22-May-14 12:16:40

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

SE13Mummy Sat 11-May-13 23:56:22

We've been picked to roadtest one too - DD1 (aged 8) is going to do the testing, not because she's out in SE London by herself regularly but because she thinks she'd like a mobile (a number of her friends have them) and there are occasions when it would be reassuring to know she could get in touch if need be e.g. the hour or so between finishing ballet and her next activity when she hangs around in the community centre with the others who are waiting.

We also go to a festival each year and last year, for the first time, she was allowed to go to from the camping area to the main stage area by herself and vice versa. She had our mobile numbers with her, knew where we were etc. but we had no way of contacting her. The 1stfone will be useful back-up this year.

I do like that the 1stfone has no digit buttons and, in essence, acts like the old BT chargecards. DD1 is very aware that walking down the road with a fancy mobile is not a smart move and she likes the look of the 1stfone because, "it doesn't look like something anyone would want to steal from me". She's right - it doesn't look like something worth stealing and, in any case, the numbers themselves can't even be accessed as they aren't stored within the phone.

DD2 (nearly 4) will not be helping to testdrive the phone.

WorraLiberty Sat 11-May-13 23:29:44

I used to get home late for dinner and pretend the phone box swallowed it.

But in truth, I would have bought 4 chocolate footballs that cost 1/2p each grin

<< Old gimmer smiley >>

gordyslovesheep Sat 11-May-13 23:27:39

ahhhh Worra the good old emergency 2p grin

WorraLiberty Sat 11-May-13 23:10:48

Exactly Iaint, it's just common sense and so not a big deal nowadays.

I think some parents are thinking that mobile phones are something 'special' because they didn't have them when they were young.

It's 2013 though and there are very few phone boxes left in the world grin

And if anyone doesn't want their child to have their own phone, why not buy a cheapo and call it 'the family mobile'...there for anyone to take out should they need it.

Iaintdunnuffink Sat 11-May-13 23:06:18

I gave my eldest a mobile from a youngish age for several reasons. I can't remember the exact age, somewhere between 6 & 7. We picked up a simple payg for next to nothing, loaded it with a fiver and didn't pay for any data. It was cheaper than most of the usual presents he was given by relatives.

I have no problem with younger children having access to a phone but would not pay £50 for one. We put a few numbers in, home, Mum, Dad, Nana. It took him a few minutes to learn how to call and taught himself how to text.

HoneyDragon Sat 11-May-13 23:02:51


HoneyDragon Sat 11-May-13 23:01:58

When my ds was 5 he had a Firefly, so its nothing new. We worked weekends at festivals. It was lipped to his trousers and tucked into his pocket.

We had a safety drill, this was an extra precaution.

WorraLiberty Sat 11-May-13 22:57:47

I understand that. I was just kind of answering your post generally, as you said your DS wouldn't have the ability to ask a stranger.

LynetteScavo Sat 11-May-13 22:56:04

WorraLiberty, it's unnecessary like a lunch box in unnecessary because you could just use an old ice cream box, or a handbag is unnecessary like you could just use an old carrier bag. Some things are just nicer. And if you have the cash.......

WorraLiberty Sat 11-May-13 22:55:07

Lynette you don't need a spare £55

You can get a basic PAYG mobile for £9.99 and stick a fiver credit on.

Startail Sat 11-May-13 22:53:08

Yes DD1 vaporised, having a phone certainly wouldn't have made her better.

Startail Sat 11-May-13 22:51:39

Both DDs had phones at 10/11 when I started just dropping and running at difficult to park dance classes, because they keep different holidays there is always the chance of mix ups.

WorraLiberty Sat 11-May-13 22:50:33

Never why did your DH veto it? It makes perfect sense to me to give a child a cheap mobile whey they're going out alone/with friends.

I'm 44 and my Mum used to give me money for the public phone box in case I needed to contact her.

I can't remember the last time I saw a public phone box so it makes perfect sense.

I do think this is a generational thing and that the next generation...having never known life without mobiles, won't bat an eyelid at giving them to their kids.

LynetteScavo Sat 11-May-13 22:50:09 a product they are much better than other similar items (phones looking like little plastic bears hmm for example).

I would have considered giving DS1 one of these in case he was separated from me on a day out. He wouldn't have had the ability to ask a stranger for help. DS2 and DD probably would. If I had a spare £55 I wouldn't mind getting one.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Sat 11-May-13 22:43:32

interesting... we have just started allowing our 9 year old to cycle to the park to meet a friend (who comes from the other direction)

I seriously considered giving him my old phone so that he could phone here if he needed help but DH vetoed it.

I think in the summer holidays I will go down that route when it is a more common event. I see no need though for him to have a special one though.. my old £9.99 nokia from 10 years ago has a long battery life, only makes calls and texts and I can set calls in and out so no brainer for me.

noblegiraffe Sat 11-May-13 22:36:22

I thought the general advice was the mobile phones aren't advised for children because although the evidence is that they don't cause brain tumours in adults, the effect on the growing child's brain is unknown?

Twattybollocks Sat 11-May-13 22:32:16

I actually can see the point of it, for my kids at least. We live on an estate of about 40 houses Most with kids who play out on the playing field next to the estate or are in and out of each others houses constantly. It would save me a huge amount of time and money to be able to just ring ds or dd and tell them to come home for lunch/tea/bed instead of sending a group txt round to say "whoever has my children please send them home thanks Twatty"
I do appreciate that mine is a fairly unusual neighbourhood that allows kids a lot more freedom than would generally be considered safe by most on mn, so for most kids it would be unecessary

BoysWillGrow Sat 11-May-13 20:25:37

oooh the link you put up was for the testers. You can go through the options to make one and at the end choose the "free trial option" so i guess with the link everyone here could get one free?

Maggie111 Sat 11-May-13 20:09:53

I think they're a good idea. There was a MN thread recently about someone at a sleepover who had an issue and couldn't call their Mum. It's not a something they should always have on, but I can see the occasions it would be useful and I would consider one for my child.

Royalmailer Sat 11-May-13 19:57:35

I think the price is outrageous- it should cost around the same as a cheap brick, IMO. Like the idea though.

Itsnotahoover Sat 11-May-13 19:50:36

Doro do a simple big button mobile aimed at the elderly smile

mrsjay Sat 11-May-13 12:26:08

is it actel ? i think it is

WorraLiberty Sat 11-May-13 12:24:40

My 81 year old Dad's got a phone with big buttons. I can't remember the make though.

<< Unhelpful >>

mrsjay Sat 11-May-13 12:22:43

* my grandmother could do with one!*

there is an old dearie phone I saw some old ladies use theirs to find their friend the other week in town it has big buttons and huge font -- i may need it soon--

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