“I WANT A HANDPHONE!”
RIGHT TIME, RIGHT AGE, RIGHT MENTALITY
Thanks to peer pressure, children are asking for a handphone at a younger age. Can they handle the responsibility? What is the right age to have one, if there’s such a thing as ‘right age’? How do parents balance the needs and wants of a child? What if a child becomes addicted to the handphone?
Not all bad
Firstly, parents should not just see technology as a hindrance towards their children’s growth. Or nothing more than a corrupting influence. Handphones remain an efficient way of communication between parents and children, especially in emergencies. But what is the right age?
In primary three there will be a school camp. This will be the child’s first camp away from his/her parents. There are many children who feel homesick and will want to communicate with their parents. Moreover, having a handphone will be a necessity should an emergency occur.
If parents feel reluctant in giving their child a handphone in primary three, perhaps it would be more useful during the PSLE year. During primary six, students will be required to go for more remedial after school and hence they will end school later than usual. A handphone will be more necessary here as their school end timings can vary.
Opportunity to teach responsibility
Children mature differently. It will probably be the first time they have received such an expensive item and this will serve as a good opportunity to see how responsible they are. It is actually a good opportunity to motivate and teach children to be responsible – not just in taking care of the handphone, but also in terms of time spent on the phone.
Restrictions and control
If parents are worried about their young child being addicted to the phone, there are apps that prevent the playing of games and internet access. Check with the service provider on how to use such restrictions. Schools have rules on the usage of handphones during classroom time. Parents should check with school teachers if the child is addicted to the phone in class.