Why Not Mummy?

Dec 07, 2020

OMG! As if life wasn’t already crazy enough, Miss J got in the car after school the other day and announced that her friend now has her own phone, followed very quickly with “when can I have one?”

Frankly, this is not a new conversation. We have raised our kids in Asia, and technology is pretty much a given in their cohort.The girls have always watched in envy of their friends with their own iPads, phones and in the worst case scenario… a smart watch!

One year, they were discussing their Santa lists and trying to decide if it was a good idea to ask for a device. They frankly weren’t fussy what sort of device they should ask for, they just wanted in on the action. Thankfully they opted for far more sensible requests… roller skates and unicorns!?!

So it’s not new to be asked “Mummy, when can I have my own phone?”

But for the first time, this conversation went one step further.

Miss J was quite adamant that if her friend could have a phone (they are very close) then probably she was old enough to have one too.

I’ve always answered along the lines of “when you actually need your own phone, then we will consider it”.

But this time she pushed a little more “can you please define when I would need my own phone”

Fair enough, she’s 10 and a half now, she wants better clarity than just “I said so!” 

So I replied “well one example would be if you needed to use the public buses on a regular basis, you might need a phone so you could call me if the bus was late or you missed it” 

“Hmmm… so can I start catching the bus now?”

OMG! The kid has been raised in Asia, she doesn’t even know how to cross the road safely in New Zealand (this basic life skill is something we have been working on a lot since moving here) let alone is she ready to use a public transport system on her own!

“No sweetheart, I know you want to grow up and be more independent, but right now you are not in a position to start doing that. And if you did, who would be the DJ in the car?” 

“Good point” she replied “that is quite an important job, I decide if we need to be upbeat or a little more mellow”

Phew, we’ve survived the phone delima for another round.

But it also reminded me of a conversation I had with a parent a few weeks ago, she asked me “how do you manage your kids on social media?”

Her daughter is the same age as Miss J “our girls aren’t on social media. They don’t have devices so there is no profiles, no scrolling, no connection” 

Between you and me, they still don’t know what Tik Tok is… they think it’s a new dance craze like the floss! I deliberately keep the girls a little naive, rightly or wrongly I don’t think at 8 and 10 they need to know.

“Oh” the mother replied “I just assumed all the kids were connected, how do they keep in touch with their friends in other countries?”

“The good old fashioned way… email!”

“So what about if they need to contact you?” she asked. 

“Well they both know my phone number, they can ask someone if they can make a call” As Madam S did last week when she thought I had forgotten her swimming gear, “if you have a look in your backpack you will see it’s on top of your lunch box!”

Maybe I’m being too tough on our girls? Maybe I should revisit my thinking?

What’s your views on devices and social media? Do you allow your kids, if so what ages are they? And have you had any issues? Please do share in the comments 🙂

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