A mother has sparked a huge debate online after questioning whether she should buy her 11-year-old son a smartphone before he enters secondary school.
Taking her query to parenting forum Mumsnet, the confused mum admitted she was struggling with the decision over fears the purchase could open her son up to cyber-bullying.
She explained: ‘DS [Darling son] goes to secondary school in Sep. Doesn’t have a smart phone at moment in Yr6.
‘We were thinking “big school” was the time we’d give in and let him have one. However, he seems prone to bullying/being picked on in school already. We are worried about what will happen when he delves into the cesspit of social media.
‘Do all year 7s have smart phones? Do any/many parents not let their DC have them? Do kids get picked on/left out for not having one? I’m assuming yes!’
Many parents commented on the post advising that the majority of children, aged between 11 and 12-years-old, do indeed own smartphones and by not giving him one could lead to him feeling ‘left out’ by his fellow classmates.
One said: ‘Without a phone he will get left out. Unfortunately children’s social life is all organised by phone these days. You can’t fight that in mainstream school – that is just the way it is. I hate phones (don’t have one myself) but I was forced to realise that my daughter had to have one if she wanted to have friends.’
Another commented: ‘I have children in years 10 and 7 and would say that pretty much 95% of kids in y7 have them. I think your DS would feel left out if he didn’t.’
While a third added: ‘TBH [to be honest] they are so important to them now a child without one would end up being seen as odd and excluded as it’s how they communicate.’
However, other parents commented that there is no need for an 11-year-old to own a smartphone.
‘Forget the smart phone.. He’s a child he doesn’t need one. Social media ruins kids lives imo [in my opinion]’, one said.
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While another added: ’11 year olds do not need to group chat and plan meet-ups. They also do not need to admire each other’s duckpouts and bling,’ before claiming, ‘In Silicon Valley, tech workers don’t give mobile devices to their children until much later than 11. They invented this stuff and they don’t want their own children caught up in it. Think about that.’
What would you say to this mum? Do your children have mobile phones? Let us know in the comments!