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Should I Get My Child A Cellphone?
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As a parent, I have asked myself this question many times and even discussed with my spouse.

At what age should we get our daughter one? Is there really a need?

In the end, we came to an agreement. We will only give her one when she is able to go and return from school by herself. At the age of 11, we decided it was the right time and she received a brand new phone from me. With the concern of loss in the back of our minds, we bought her a mid-end phone with a pre-paid sim card.

Everything went well for a week, she SMS us whenever she had to stay back after school for her Co-Curricular Activities or Remedial Classes. Then one day it happened! I received an SMS from an unfamiliar number that reads: This is Alice, I am using my classmate's cellphone to send this SMS. Dad, I lost my phone and couldn't find it anywhere. In the end, we did not manage to find it.

Indeed, a cellphone for your child is convenient both in terms of contacting her and vice versa. There are many other parental concerns when your child holds a mobile phone. One is addiction where your child hogs it, sending sms to her friends endlessly and with social media such as Facebook and Twitter, it doesn't end there. Do you think this will affect her studies?

Not to mention sexting. For those who do not know what sexting is, let me explain. Sexting is the sending or exchange of sexually explicit messages (may include photographs as well) using mobile phones. Imagine the harm if my daughter, now twelve, receives this.

Don't get me wrong, I am not against giving your child a cellphone.

The question in the minds of parents is how do we control usage. For my daughter, I limit her usage to an hour a day. After an hour, she will have to place it in a basket designated by me. If she needs to contact her friends or classmate, she can use the residential phone.

Mind you, children of this age hates to talk on the phone. They would rather text or WhatsApp each other. You know what? The kind of English they used in the texting and WhatsApping is indeed creative. Just go and take a look at some of their messages or ask her to send you one.

More or less, my daughter usage of her cellphone is controlled. In the event of a slip up, I can always send a SMS or WhatsApp her to tell her to put her phone back into the basket.


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