Thank you for the feature Khaleej Times! I enjoyed taking part in the debate on:
At what age should you give a child a mobile phone?
Here is my point of view:
Corrine Fuchs is the founder and blogger of http://www.mommyindubai.com. You can follow her @mommyindubai on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
Earlier, I sat listening to my neighbor recount a chilling tale of how her daughter (8) and son (4) were on a bus journey home from school when they met with an accident; I couldn’t help but think; “What if that happened to my children?” She told me how grateful she was that her daughter had a phone and was able to call her at the time of the crash. UAE may be what some call a safe-haven for families; however, the reality is, accidents can happen anywhere. This was a real eye-opener for me!
My daughter is six years old. Once she managed to memorize my number, this proved that she was mature enough to have a very simple mobile phone with basic controls (no Internet access!). She knows that her phone is to be kept in her backpack and only taken out for the sole purpose of contacting me, should an emergency arise. Not to play games or watch YouTube! She has a total of five emergency contacts.
It is another way of giving her responsibility, which ultimately can help prepare her for adulthood and give her a sense of independence. She has to remember to charge her phone daily and check her credit balance.
One thing I do not agree on is young children owning smart phones. My daughter will have to wait until she is a teen for that. What I am considering purchasing for her is the new wearable phone in the form of a watch (specifically designed for children – I really like the tracking feature on them).
The simple notion of knowing that I may be able to communicate with my child in a time of emergency makes me feel reassured. I believe, as a caring and loving parent, I am doing the right thing by providing my daughter with a mobile phone. I am helping to raise a liberated human being who will be resourceful no matter where we are in the world.
Cheryl King is the blogger behind email@example.com. You can keep up with her on Instagram @dubaicitychic
As a mother of two daughters, I feel very strongly about the topic and, in my opinion, the answer to this question is extremely simple: I believe children should not have their own mobile phones until they’re at least 12 or 13 years old.
I know that times have changed, technology has changed and children often use iPads before they can even learn to walk and talk. But why on earth does a child under the age of 12 or 13 need a mobile phone? The short answer is they don’t. Here are some of the reasons why I think so:
My generation seems to have survived just fine without mobile phones.
Legally, kids are not supposed to be on social media so there goes that argument. Moreover, why would someone under that age need to be posting on social media and opening themselves up to another avenue of bullying? We are supposed to protect our children, not expose them.
Once a child begins to mature and can be given a little bit of freedom and independence to, say, visit a mall with friends or go to the park without their parents, then I think it’s fair play to give them a mobile phone to message or call mum or dad if need be. But before that? Forget it!
I want my children to enjoy their childhood without them feeling the need to have their own mobile phone. Of course, there will be peer pressure, but we will cross that bridge if and when we come to it. For now, they can play with their toys, read their books and just enjoy being kids and having fun.