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Preteens

DS says he needs a Blackberry for his social life

21 replies

Garon · 19/01/2013 23:29

He's 11 and started secondary school last September. He says ALL the kids he's friends with have Blackberries and communicate with each other via BBM. He feels he is out of the loop because he doesn't have it and so won't get to hear about meetups etc. Is this likely to be true? Have investigated the cost (seems massive to me for this age) and read other threads here about other problems with them. So I'm not keen at all, but wouldn't want him to have social difficulties because of it. Is it really likely to affect his ability to make friends, and do most 11-year-olds really have these things?! Confused

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usualsuspect · 19/01/2013 23:32

BBM seems to be a favourite way of communicating amongst secondary age pupils.

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Bunbaker · 19/01/2013 23:33

"Is this likely to be true?"

Quite possibly. DD is in year 8 and loads of her peers have Blackberries and communicate via BBM.

"and do most 11-year-olds really have these things?!"

Yes. Round here they do. We live in a rural area and most kids get a bus to school. Also most of them don't live near their friends so they use technology to keep in touch.

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ThatVikRinA22 · 19/01/2013 23:35

it will be true.

Virgin mobile do some cracking deals from a tenner a month.

DD has had hers since secondary school - they all BBM as its free.

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Jas · 19/01/2013 23:40

Yes, also true here. Both my dds have them, and because BBM is included in their contracts they have never gone over their limits. When BBM went down last year for a few days, my 13 yr old used her entire text limit in two days!

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Theas18 · 19/01/2013 23:53

My 13 and 17 (today) yr olds would disagree. They have fairly basic phones - not blackberries (or posh smart phones). All communication is by text, and this oesnt seem to be a problem (ds 17 sends quite a lot if texts!). Ds certainly isn't out if any social loops. Dd (13) probably is but she's still finding it tricky with friends etc because she's a bit different - far more mature in outlook etc- its just how she is.

Dunno if it's a social class thing - they are at grammar school with "naice" middle class children ( and some bloody awful ones!). Or if selective education makes variety more likely and tolerated ? There are still some girls dd2 knows who don't have mobiles or social media.

BBM is a big source of cyber bullying as it doesn't leave a trace like texts .that would worry me.

Just out of interest are you happy for your 11yr old to go to social events just arranged between the kids themselves without adult input or knowing the parents involved? I know there's a difference between " park for 30 mins after school" - which would be fine in year 7 for me, to " cinema Saturday 7 pm" ( which would need a where/ what /who and how are you getting there/back ) to "sleepover at x house" (I need to have met the parents for an 11yr old I think). To be honest only the 1st would be ok arranged by bbm/txt at age 11 . and I consider myself moderately slack an laid back!

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usualsuspect · 19/01/2013 23:57

BBM is free,as is Whatsapp.That's why it's so popular.My DS and his friends rarely use texts anymore.

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Bunbaker · 19/01/2013 23:58

Very few 11 year olds at my daughter's run of the mill comprehensive school have really basic phones. They might not all be smart phones, but they look like them, so I don't think it is a social class thing. All of DD's friends have mobiles.

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LaminateFlaw · 20/01/2013 00:36

Quick aside - Do you need Internet/data allowance for BBM? We've resisted requests for a blackberry on that basis but don't know if we're making it up. Currently DSS has a very basic phone.

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MerryCouthyMows · 20/01/2013 01:34

Some of my DD's friends have Blackberries and BBM, others don't. DD doesn't. They are all 14-15, and in Y10. DD has a perfectly good social life without one - she texts.

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arghhhmiddleage · 20/01/2013 02:30

I think it is true. It does seem to be the medium of choice for some secondary age kids, being free and unlimited. I'm only acquainted with two of them, one is surgically attached to it as all their friends use it; the other couldn't care less as they have other means by which they all communicate. There's a tipping point, if everyone else is using something they will feel left out if they can't join in.

It will allow him to arrange sleep overs and cinema trips himself, but I'm sure you will be aware if he is off out somewhere and can make more enquiries if you want to. Not allowing it for that reason seems a bit counterintuitive, in the dim distant olden days you wouldn't have banned him from speaking to his mates in case he arranged to meet them somewhere Grin. It's the mode of communication that has changed, not the consequences of it.

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ripsishere · 20/01/2013 15:57

My DD told me the same thing.
She still doesn't have one

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DeadTall · 20/01/2013 23:31

Hmmm, my DS is 13 and has a decent social life that he's happy with, has an old phone (not smartphone) and has only topped up three times in 2 years! In contrast, DD aged 11 has a really cheap smartphone, and uses it to organise stuff occasionally, like a friend coming over for a play at the weekend. She's about to run out of the prepaid credit we gave her with the phone, and will have to fund it herself, so I expect she will reduce her usage a fair bit! Neither of them rely on their phones for their social life, and as far as I can tell, their friends don't either.

My concern with blackberries etc is the rise in muggings of kids with smartphones, why would you let an 11 year old out with a piece of kit worth over £100, or even more?

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chickydoo · 20/01/2013 23:41

My DD 17 DS 14 have very basic old phones. They would love blackberry or iPhone. If they want one, they need to get a Saturday job, do some babysitting or even some jobs around the house to earn the money to buy one.
They have no desire to earn the money, therefore I guess they can't want the phones that much.

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DeepRedBetty · 20/01/2013 23:46

Mine seem to organise most of their lives on FB. Only basic phones, and a massive catchment school - from westernmost village to easternmost is nearly thirty miles.

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Bunbaker · 21/01/2013 07:37

"My concern with blackberries etc is the rise in muggings of kids with smartphones, why would you let an 11 year old out with a piece of kit worth over £100, or even more?"

That was my initial concern when DD first started at high school so she just had a basic phone to start with, but she was laughed at. At her school it is unusual to just have cheap, basic PAYG phones.

Most of the girls in her class have text conversations with each other all the time and suspect that they are all on contract phones. DD didn't want to be in social Siberia so I got her a cheap contract phone as well.

It is just a state comprehensive, but it has a "naice" catchment area and there isn't much danger of anyone mugging DD for her phone as a lot of kids have better phones than she does.

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WakeyCakey · 21/01/2013 16:19

I think blackberries are great for this age group. You can disable the Internet and like others have said BBM is free so it becomes a great way for them to keep in contact with their friends.
We are in a tiny village in a rural area and I think DSD really benefits from having contact with her friends whenever she wants

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DeafLeopard · 21/01/2013 16:22

Yes, round here BBM seems to be the main only way to communicate if you are between the ages of 11 and 16

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Garon · 21/01/2013 19:31

My main concern is about him having an expensive piece of kit, the mugging risk, the losing it risk, and it just seems wrong for a little kid (well, ok, he?s nearly as tall as me) to be carrying about something that valuable. I?m not worried about what they might arrange ? I think at the moment it is mainly going to the park (in the daytime!). He?s at a regular London comprehensive, very mixed, all sorts of kids.

My other concern is about him having access to the internet all the time. At the moment it?s quite heavily monitored. Someone else here recommended not letting them take it to their rooms at bedtime, which seems a good idea and WakeyCakey if it?s really possible to disable the internet but still have the BBM capability that sounds good. I am totally ignorant about these things but it seems a bit mad to get such a high-tech piece of equipment if all they want to do is this messaging thing, but seems like there isn?t a cheaper messaging-only version. Apparently it has to be Blackberry because the kids don?t even know their phone numbers they just do the BBM thing. He also had the line about he would get laughed at if he didn?t have the right one. There doesn?t seem to be a ?cheap? way of doing it ? if you get a contract and they lose it you still pay out for 2 years etc.etc. So far he?s almost prided himself on not succumbing to peer pressure but I guess that is changing!

If he gets it he will have to pay for it - he has some savings and could do some jobs for the rest. But at the moment I?m tempted to hold out a bit longer? unless it really is likely to have negative consequences for him!

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orangepudding · 21/01/2013 19:40

My DD said the same thing. I bought her a smart phone contract, through Tesco as it's capped, she did like it but still said everyone has a Blackberry. Eventually I let her have my old Blackberry which has sat in the cupboard unused for 18months - she's really happy with it.

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Bunbaker · 21/01/2013 20:45

"My main concern is about him having an expensive piece of kit,"

In the grand scheme of things a Blackberry is not regarded as an expensive piece of kit. It is one of the cheaper smartphones and is the phone of choice because it is the fraction of the price of an iPhone or Galaxy S2/S3. No-one gets mugged for a Blackberry Curve, believe me. Just disable the internet or get a contract that doesn't include internet.

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aftermay · 21/01/2013 20:54

We caved in and hit DS (13, grammar school) a BB last week. He's very happy. He had been telling us for the past 18 months that that's all he wants. I'm receiving numerous texts a day now from him. He's organised a snowball play so far and of course we were told about it.

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