Why I’ve taken my daughter’s phone away

Comment on this story
IOL pic sep11 apple iphone 5c and 5s Reuters Nevertheless, Apple decided to order its suppliers to stop using benzene and n-hexane during the final assembly of iPhones, iPads, iPods, Mac computers and various accessories.

London - A few weeks ago, I did something really stupid. A thoughtless act that I deeply regret. I bought my 11-year-old an iPhone.

Why? Oh, I don’t know - peer pressure, I guess. Pester power. Moral weakness. Temporary insanity.

After all, practically everyone in her class has one. Soon she’ll be going to secondary school, where not owning a smartphone is the equivalent of turning up in a pony and trap.

Besides, she’d sweated hard for her SATs. She deserved a reward, something special to show her that hard work pays.

Only now, I realise, I might as well have bought her a case of whisky, or handed her the keys to the car.

Because however frighteningly grown-up she may seem to me, she sure as eggs isn’t mature enough to handle a smartphone.

Pandora’s box isn’t just some mythical relic. It comes in five colours and fits in your coat pocket.

Scientists have just begun the world’s largest-ever study into whether mobiles are damaging our children’s brains.

I don’t know about physical harm, but as far as psychological effects go, I can spare them the trouble.

In just a few weeks, I have seen my daughter’s world shrink to the size of a 2x4 in screen.

Adults are equipped to understand that their phones aren’t their whole life; that they can be ignored or switched off. Little girls aren’t.

Suddenly, home was no longer a sanctuary from the pressures of school life. Playground rivalries and anxieties followed her home, channelled via one small device.

And so I did what I had to do. I took the phone away.

Now that everyone has calmed down, I’ve had a chance to reflect on my folly. And I’ve reached a conclusion.

Modern phones are like cigarettes, fireworks and E.L. James novels: not suitable for children under the age of 16.

It’s not just the way these devices facilitate bullying and cause havoc for teachers; or even the access they offer to pornography and violence, scary as that is.

Smartphone usage also stunts the emotional growth of children - and makes parents lazy.

By the time I got my first phone, I’d had a good few years of learning how to survive, as it were, in the wild.

Map-reading instead of Google Maps; writing sentences instead of text-speak; proper research instead of Wikipedia, writing to friends instead of texting them.

Even more usefully, because my parents never had the ‘safety net’ of a mobile phone, they made sure I understood and appreciated the dangers of the wider world.

Many parents say they buy their children phones for “safety reasons”. But this is an illusion.

A phone might give an impression of safety - “my child can reach me at any time”; but it is just a crutch, not a cast-iron guarantee.

If anything, youngsters are more likely to get hurt as a result of owning a phone - by getting mugged for it, stepping out in front of a lorry while texting or by taking risks they would otherwise not take. Thinking “I can always call Mom if I get into trouble”.

Society quite rightly tries to protect children from harm. We tell them they can’t have sex or drive a car until they are adult enough to understand the responsibilities.

Yet, here we are, allowing children full access to worlds their immature minds can’t cope with.

All in good time. I am not a Luddite. My daughter will get her smartphone back when she is ready for it.

For now, though, it’s going straight back in its box. - Daily Mail

For support and fun on your parenting journey, join our Babynet forum....

Follow @IOLlifestyle on Twitter

Get our free Lifestyle newsletter - subscribe here...

Visit IOL Lifestyle on Facebook



sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.