READER REPORT:

Having a phone and fresh air

ROBERT JOHNSON
Last updated 05:00 28/05/2014
Toddlers and technology
SAVVY: Some children are said to be more skilled at using an iPad than their parents.

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Does your child have a mobile phone?

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Does an eight or 10-year-old need a mobile phone? Considering that my six-year-old has one, I would say so.

First off, let's consider what we mean by "need".

In today's world, I want my daughter to be able to have access to the resources that help her to learn, play, get help, and stay in contact. To that end, I say yes, she does "need" a mobile.

My six-year-old is capable of using the device and understanding the rules around it - for some kids that point may come earlier or later, but when they are able, why would you do them a disservice by holding them back?

With the right rules and the aid of various parental settings, you can remove most of the risks, leaving benefits such as locating the child if needed, allowing them the comfort of being able to contact you if they are in trouble, lost, or what have you, allowing them a camera to record their adventures, providing a way for far-flung relatives to video call them cheaper than an international voice call, and last but not least the educational value is not to be underestimated.

To those who say that flashcards, books, crayons and paper and all that jazz are sufficient learning tools - I'm afraid interactive learning is far superior in teaching concepts and providing individually tailored lessons and tests than any static material. It's also more easily transferable and replaceable.

To those who trot out the good old "kids should be out in the fresh air" mantra, my daughter gets plenty of that, you just need a few rules around the use of the device, no different to TV or game consoles. And, I get photos from the branches of a tree, or a video of the kid singing something she just made up on the spot, all of which I can save as precious memories.

I'm enabling my daughter to learn, grow, play, and be safe by embracing the 21st century and moving with the times.


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