I kinda can identify with this parent. The moment I put down my phone when I reached home at the end of the day, my boy will pick it up and start checking his FB and whatever nonsense. It's alot more convenient since it doesn't require booting, very portable and handy.
Now that most basic phones are smart phones, I can imagine him tapping away the whole day in school, at home or whereever there's connectivity (assume no 3G card given to him) if he is ever given one.
Do you struggle with this too?
The day I confiscated my 12-year-old's handphone
by Foo Chin Peng 04:46 AM Apr 15, 2011
My daughter got her mobile phone when she was aged 12. It was mainly so that I could coordinate picking her and her younger brother up from school, especially when I got tied up in meetings, work or traffic. If I could not make it I could text them to use public transport to go home.
The phone came with a prepaid card so we could control the charges. For many parents this is their main worry. The first massive phone bill is always a shock, and is followed by an interrogation session and the start of monitoring their child's phone habits.
In my case, I began to note my daughter's mobile phone habits after she started Secondary 1 - a stage which, these days, seems to signal the growing use of social networking applications. She would be holding onto her mobile phone every second of the day, even when she went to the bathroom.
While doing her schoolwork, her phone would be close by and she would check it every few minutes. (One friend said at bedtime, her daughter pulls the blanket over her head and taps away on her phone.)
At first, I merely reminded my daughter about the responsible use of the mobile phone and how it could affect her studies. Then, we had several discussions. And subsequently, she was threatened with the removal of her privileges if she did not start controlling her usage.
All this went in one ear and out the other. Just for the record, my daughter is usually not a difficult child to deal with - she is an above-average student and relatively disciplined.
By the second term in Secondary 1, I grew curious and concerned enough to secretly check her phone. Lo and behold there were more text messages than I expected, and they were coming in at unexpected hours of the day - in the early morning and during school hours. It suddenly dawned on me that she had been in the bathroom for longer and longer periods in the morning.
School rules usually prohibit students from using their phones during school hours. I am not sure how effective this is. It could be that the children easily outwit their teachers on the use of these new gadgets.
As I write this, it has been more than three weeks since her dad and I confiscated our daughter's mobile phone. The verbal exchange with her was decidedly dramatic - tempers flew and tears flowed. The atmosphere at home was deathly for several days.
We have managed to work out an arrangement to pick her up from school without using the mobile phone. It took some sacrifices on her part and mine. At this juncture, I am contemplating giving her back her phone privileges, but am trying to decide on the rules and, more importantly, whether she has learnt her lesson.
If I have my way, the mobile phone would be turned on and used only at designated times. This rule will only work, however, if both parties agree to it. Is her attachment to her mobile phone some kind of addiction? Am I fighting a losing battle?
After discussing with my spouse and cousin, I believe we are doing the right thing. Now I am hoping, in sharing my experience with all parents, that perhaps I can get some advice. (I'm sure I will also get complaints, including from teens.) My tip for those of you considering getting your child a mobile phone: It might be a good idea to set out the rules first.