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Year 7 - mobile phones!

22 replies

Acorncat1 · 30/01/2020 12:56

Hi all
Just wondering how people deal with this. We've only recently gotten a console in our house (my son is 10) and I'm a little reluctant to be giving my son the use of a mobile when he starts secondary.
I really don't want him to have access to the internet and all that it contains, especially when he's not in my charge (walking home from school)
Does everyone give their kids a phone in year 7? Are they internet ready? What if they don't walk to school and need a lift, do they still get one? If he didn't have one would he be the weird kid? Do some kids just have an old school brick phone?!

OP posts:
hadwebutworldenoughandtime · 30/01/2020 13:02

My daughter is in Year 7 and has had a phone for a couple of years as she walks to school. Now that she has started secondary a lot of her homework, plus an app to manage homework is on her phone (and mine). Tbh these days Yr7 is quite late not to have a phone as they use it so much for social stuff. You can remove the internet browser from a smart phone as long as they don't work out how to reinstate it but imo you are better starting them off with strong boundaries and letting them prove themselves in terms of being responsible. Having said this I seem to unusual amongst the parents in my daughter's friendship group for still checking her phone/ messages.

CripsSandwiches · 30/01/2020 13:04

By year 7 almost all of them will have phones, they'll communicate via WhatsApp etc so he really will miss out if he doesn't have one (not to say he won't get by though). What in particular concerns you about him having internet access (note he'll be able to use internet on his friend's phones anyway).

Sirzy · 30/01/2020 13:05

Even if he isn’t walking to and from school I would be expecting he will be starting to get more independence so I think a phone does make sense from that age.

Notmynameok · 30/01/2020 13:07

This back fired for me massively. I buckled half way through year 7 and gave her a phone I have always been open with my kids about the dangers of the internet and grooming etc. She was not allowed social media and I checked her phone everyday.

Turns out my dd was bullied into sending nudes... school defending the issue by saying they're all at it!!! She also had several social media accounts and deleted them before she got home.

I removed all internet access from her and also moved her schools (best decision I've made) she now realises that behaviour is not the norm as she was led to believe at her previous school.

A year on I have allowed her to have another phone but one of those that does not have internet access and she can call and text.

My advice is to not give a phone with internet access as i realised no amount of talking to my dd made any difference to her online safety.

Urkiddingright · 30/01/2020 13:09

You need to check their phone regularly and remove it at bedtime but yes, I think they should have a phone by year 7 especially if they will be travelling to school alone.

Aderyn19 · 30/01/2020 13:15

I think you will be holding him back socially if you don't give him a phone. Year 7 all have whole class group chats and this is how they make plans these days. Also school lets them use phones for work and posts hwk online etc.
Make sure all his settings are private and he doesn't turn his location on.

Clymene · 30/01/2020 13:16

You can set them up so they can't put social media accounts but also they need to learn to navigate the online world.

I have a tracker on my son's phone which wouldn't work without it being a smart phone.

Aragog · 30/01/2020 13:16

IME very few Year 7 children won't have a phone. The vast majority will. This is the key time when most children get their first phone, and has been for a few years.

Why will he not be internet ready?

He should have been using the internet, supervised, at school for several years and having online safety sessions (and reminders whenever using the internet at all) throughout that time as part of his normal every day learning as well as specific computing lessons.

As a parent, I do also think you should be teaching him to use the internet safely and appropriately at home too.

And when they do have one - set rules and guidelines on its use. Monitor it daily. No phones in bedrooms at night, etc.

Take a look at the thinkuknow website. It has age appropriate information, plus sections for parents.

Hodgeheg3 · 30/01/2020 13:21

My daughter had an old style phone at first and then an iPhone from Y7. I’ve set it up so she has no access to safari, I authorise any apps she downloads, she doesn’t have Instagram, snapchat or Facebook. I’ve set downtime to be from 8pm to 7.30am and she gets limited screen time. So there’s lots you can do to manage your child’s phone.

memememe · 30/01/2020 13:40

my child is in yr 7 and they are given all their homework via an app, so they really need to have a phone. the app is also used for behaviour points which they can "spend" as well.not to mention all their friends will have phones so will miss out on social things too

Entreprecurious · 30/01/2020 13:50

Depends on the school of course and whether accessing a phone-based app is mandatory but we just gave DD a nokia when she started year 7 and it has been absolutely fine. She travels to school and back alone and just calls me if she needs anything.

She has access to a computer at home and does all her homework (which is managed through on online app) on that. Lots of people have told us that we risk holding her back socially if she doesn't have one but she's made friends fine and keeps in touch with everyone she needs to, uses FT on laptop and stuff or Skype. It's saved her a whole bunch of WhatsApp aggro that others have had to deal with too.

She has access to an ipod touch at home but it's linked to my phone so any messages she sends come from my number (and I see any responses).

We'll probably let her have a smartphone at the end of year 7 but I've had lots of chats with her about it and she doesn't feel she's missed out by not having one and I'm really glad we've eased her in gently. She has one other friend at school who has a nokia like her, the rest have smartphones.

But, as others have said, if you do get her an iphone or alternative, there's plenty you can do to put restrictions on it so make sure you do that! One of DD's friends stays up until 1am on hers most nights and constantly looks sleep deprived.

lanthanum · 30/01/2020 13:59

What's the school mobile policy? DD's school don't allow phones in school at all; those who come on buses have to hand them in at reception when they arrive. If that's the case, there isn't the same pressure at all.

DD didn't get a smart phone until end of year 8, as she only really needed something to call/text with out of school. We deliberately hung onto an old phone so that she could have something that was at no risk of being stolen, and that wouldn't matter much if she lost it. I should add the disclaimer that she's not a child who cares what other people think - I'm sure some would be embarrassed by having something so out-of-date.

She now has a smart phone, but keeps data turned off by default, as she can use wifi at home. Again, that's going to be very different if phones are allowed in school, or if they're entertaining themselves on a school bus. Homework apps can usually be accessed from a computer instead of a mobile.

Entreprecurious · 30/01/2020 14:07

It's a good point lanthanum DD's school insists on mobile phones being switched off within the school grounds too, which as you say reduces the pressure to have one.

I'm less concerned really about what they might access online because restrictions help, it's more to do with overwhelm - there's so much to take on board in year 7 anyway and so many new demands on time, being bombarded with messages and feeling the pressure to keep in touch with everyone can be a bit much I think, and it's so easy to get sucked into spending endless hours staring at a screen. Can't be held off forever of course but I think later is better personally.

AlmaMartyr · 30/01/2020 14:08

My DD is year 7 and has a phone. She gets all her homework on it, which is great. She doesn't have social media and I do check in on the phone a lot to see what's going on.

She walks home from school but the phone is helpful because she can message me - today she texted to ask if she can go to an after school club. Sometimes I message to ask her to pick up her brother if I'm delayed at work. It is really helpful and they do all seem to have them.

Oblomov20 · 30/01/2020 14:10

Most parents give their child a phone, at the latest, in the summer before secondary starts.
Why would you not? Hmm
Why don't you trust him? To encourage his independence? And show maturity to use it, but not abuse it.
You sound highly strung and over-invested.

Frothybothie · 30/01/2020 14:11

There goes the planet .....

Topseyt · 30/01/2020 14:13

He will be the odd one out with no phone in year 7. I just got the cheapest possible contract phones for mine, with caps set so that they couldn't go over their limits by more than £1.

You can also set parental controls on many phones, I believe. However, they will get online at friends' houses or on friends' phones. You really don't have full control of it anymore.

Twinkletoes888 · 30/01/2020 14:18

My daughter has iPhone for at home her school does not allow year 7 to have smart phones but they all do. I got her a watch through sky, called space talk. She can only call or text the numbers we’ve put on it. It’s locked during school hours (you set times), it’s got SOS button and I can see where she is on a map (app) she’s just gone into year 7, best thing I ever bought. She gets homework via an app so the phone is important however she doesn’t need to take it too school.

1happyhippie · 30/01/2020 14:46

My dd1 had one ready for year 7. She has used it a lot for homework and even in school some lessons have let them use their phones.
She does have WhatsApp and messages friends on that, although she removed herself from a lot of the groups in yr 7 as there was a lot of fallouts.
She’s in yr 8 now and we haven’t had much hassle.
My dd2 has sen and can manage her tablet at home, but isn’t great with the phone. She has an older iPhone with a few friends numbers but doesn’t really use it. She did have WhatsApp, but we deleted it as she couldn’t stand it going off all the time in group chats!
She starts yr 7 in September so I’m waiting to see how she copes by then.
She can FaceTime on her tablet and can use the homework app on there, so she’s not missing much.

ShivD · 30/01/2020 14:55

My son was able to use an old iPhone of mine when he started Year 7, I have it set up via family sharing so I have to approve any app downloads and I insist on checking regularly. I’ve also set up time restrictions so he can’t access anything other that calls after a creation time of night until the following morning.

We live in London so the Bus stop app and TFL journey planner is very useful to him for getting there and back. He’s not allowed the phone at school so it gets switched off when he gets off the train/ bus near school and switched back on when he travels back in the evening. His school is quite far away time and transport wise so I feel like this has made the adjustment less challenging.

In Y6 we bought him a cheap basic Nokia around this time of year so that he could use that if he was coming home from a club at a different time from the rest of us (he has 3 younger siblings).

I do feel uncomfortable about how addictive phones can be and can see that he is getting f hooked already so we are quite strict about using it at home as he’d sit on it all day of he was allowed (a bit like me Blush)

sosaidzarathustra · 30/01/2020 15:26

He isn't Peter pan

BronteSisters · 30/01/2020 16:29

My DD just received an assignment from her teacher on her iPhone.
She's had a phone for a couple of years now and it's never caused an issue.

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