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Should kids have a mobile phone?

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Children are able to use mobile phones from an increasingly young age and many of you are wondering should kids have a mobile phone? Its not a shock to see two year olds navigating their way through to the games on their parents iPhones or sat watching downloaded episodes of Peppa Pig on the latest android. But the age at which children are having their own mobile phones is decreasing, with over half of five to nine year olds owning one and three-quarters of seven to sixteen year olds. There is no age limit for owning a mobile but before you buy the top item on their Christmas or birthday list, consider the pro’s and con’s of them owning their own mobile.

Pro’s of having a mobile

For many parents, the big draw for getting their child a mobile is the fact they can be contactable at all times, especially when they start to get older, more independent and spending more time outside the home. Parents can’t always be with their child so a mobile phone is often thought of as a form of safety, but make sure your phone is safe for your child! Your provider should be made aware the phone is for a child and block any unsuitable internet sites from being accessed. Even some of the most basic handsets are internet enabled so children can surf the web from any location, not just within the home.

Be prepared for financial commitment

Remember that once your child has a mobile phone, they will probably have one for the rest of their life so you are committing yourself financially. Think about whether you are happy to commit to a contract phone with a set amount of free minute, texts and data or would prefer a pay as you go phone? With a contract, as long as your child doesn’t use over the allocated allowance you know what the phone bill is each month, but children can be very good at racking up large bills from purchasing the latest ring tone, endless apps that might just be 99p here or there but soon add up.

Set an allowanceshould kids have a mobile phone

With many phones doubling up as music storage devices, the temptation to download songs and albums may be great, so ensure you set boundaries and consequences for breaking them. If your child goes over their allotted allowance, you might want them to contribute to the bill from their pocket money or stop the usage for a period of time.

Pay as you go?

If you opt for a pay as you go, you could top up a specific amount each month and teach them to how to monitor their usage. If they run out of credit and want more, encourage them to use their own money and teach them the cost and value of a mobile phone. Encourage children to read the small print when making any purchases or calling or texting premium rate numbers or they could soon find their credit it totally spent after a very short time.

There are some organisations that charge you to receive texts from them and some charges are extortionate! So give them guidance on responsible usage and if your child is receiving unwanted texts from services they aren’t familiar with, reply texting STOP and they should soon end.  If they don’t you should contact PhonepayPlus on 0800 500 212 or www.phonepayplus.org.uk and make a complaint.

Mobiles in schools

Remember that schools have strict guidelines on mobiles in the classroom; sending texts or having ringtones blast out in the middle of lessons is a teachers pet hate, so ensure your child sticks to the rules or risk confiscation within the first week!

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About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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