Should you get your school-going child a cell phone? Read on, and contribute your opinion.
Children now have it so easy in some ways, and so much harder in others. Although access to information is now available at your child's fingertips and communication has become so much more efficient thanks to the cellular phones, competition has heated up and a child has to be much more focused and driven to succeed than he needed to be a couple of generations ago.
Another flip side of easy access to communication, is easy access to material you would rather your child didn't have access to - and, the misuse of such material.
MMS porn clips are all the rage, and recently nude images of actress Prieti Zinta and a porn clip supposedly of Mallika Sherawat are doing the rounds. Many parents feel that they should not give their teenage child a cell-phone that has a camera. The potential for misuse is high, and even if your child is not someone who would take obscene images with his cell camera and forward it to all his friends, he may very easily receive such an MMS from his friends.
Just by denying your child a cell phone with a camera doesn't mean that your child will not be able to view these images. Even if your child cannot receive them on his phone, he will be able to view them on his friend's phones. However, chances are that your child may see these images on a friends phone just from the point of view of fascination, and will soon put them out of his mind. But in his own phone he may be tempted to store them, view them over and over again, and when the opportunity presents itself for him to make his own little porn clip, he may excitedly do so. Total probation and easy access are both undesirable. Try and find a balance by giving your child a bare cell from which he can only make and receive calls. Also, if you are worried that your child will spend a lot of money making calls, you can very easily set a limit by providing your child with a cash card, and letting him know that if the card runs out, you will not be giving him money for a new card until the end of the month.
Not only will this discourage needless usage of the phone, but your child will be tempted to make less outgoing calls and use the phone more for incoming calls. If your child does run out of his cash card in the middle of the month, let him know that he can use his own pocket money to recharge the amount. Alternatively, you can get your child a phone, and tell him that he will need to use his pocket money to pay his phone bills. This will encourage your child to save his money, to budget himself and to account for it wisely and responsibly, from a young age.
Some parents think that it is totally unnecessary for their children to have cell phones, while other parents would like their children to carry phones because it is easy for parents to trace them. Also, parents worry less now, because if their child is getting late when coming home, he can always call home and let his parents know that he is stuck in a traffic jam or that he needs to stay back for basketball practice. However, earlier parents had no option but to sit at home and worry, or call other parents, trying desperately to find out why their child is late.