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One Third of UK Kids Under 10 Own a Mobile Phone

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the text-early-and-text-often dept.

United Kingdom 184

hypnosec writes "Nearly everyone is aware of the influence of technology, specifically that of the new-generation telephonic devices on our society. But, when one in every 3 under-ten kids start having their own mobile phones, only then we come to realize how deep rooted the influence really is — yes, that's what a new report claims. According to the latest findings by the cloud security outfit Westcoastcloud, near about 33 percent of all UK's under-ten kids are currently in possession of a mobile phone."

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Somebody tell the schools (2, Interesting)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488616)

If only my kids idiot school would stop confiscating the damn things they might be useful.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (2)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488636)

If only you'd talk to someone in charge at the school about this policy... possibly with some of the other parents in the same situation...?

Re:Somebody tell the schools (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37488640)

Useful for what? Why does a child need their own telephone?

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488648)

So we can nag them at any time of day.

There is no escape!

Bwahahahahahha.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488992)

Yep. The child doesn't need it. The parent does - so they can hover over them 24/7...

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488654)

No got much experience with l'Education Nationale eh.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488710)

So we can charge them for trinkets directly on their phone bills, since they don't have their own credit cards.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488838)

So they can call for help if they have problems getting home. Very useful in more rural areas. My local primary school is about 200 meters away, so perhaps not so useful in a large town.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37488994)

Not useful in a large town where there's a 200 meter walk and adults in the area, but useful in a rural area where 9 and 10 year olds can be abandoned to walk home by themselves over long distances with few passing adults to assist should they get into trouble? So what you're saying is that mobile phones are being substituted for parental responsibilty?

Re:Somebody tell the schools (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489110)

In rural areas, at least where I grew up in the UK, it was quite common for children to get a school bus to and from a school in the city, or to car-share and get a lift with another parent. Sometimes, there are problems with this. For example, my school bus left over half an hour after the end of school, from about 10 minutes walk away from the school. If I missed it, but didn't realise, I wouldn't get back to the school until about an hour after school finished, at which point there may not be any teachers around. There was a phone box on school, so I had a phone card that I could use to call home in the case of any problems.

The first time I used the school bus, I managed to get on the wrong one. I noticed when it got on the motorway, which definitely wasn't on my way home. I got off at the services, found a payphone and called home, but if I'd had a mobile then I'd have been able to call home from the bus and check where the best place to get off was.

And, on a more prosaic level, having a mobile phone later (I got mine when I was 16, which was when cheap pre-pay ones started to appear), it was useful to be able to call my parents if some after-school activity was cancelled, or something else happened that required me to leave school at a different time, such as when one of my close friends was killed in a car accident, or when I was coopted to the debate team at the last minute before a competition.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

dcw3 (649211) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489824)

it was useful to be able to call my parents if some after-school activity was cancelled, or something else happened that required me to leave school at a different time, such as when one of my close friends was killed in a car accident, or when I was coopted to the debate team at the last minute before a competition.

Even my schools back in the 60s and 70s had landlines that could be used by the students. My daughter's schools (she graduated just a couple yrs ago), had phones in the office that could be used. Certainly not as convenient, but I still see no reason a young child should need a cellphone. Most of the kids are just texting each other when they should be paying attention during class.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489526)

If the school is more than 3 miles away (2 miles for under 8s), or if there is no safe walking route (eg rural roads with no pavement [en-US: sidewalk]), then they would get a school bus, or if it is an extremely rural area, a shared taxi.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489610)

If the school is more than 3 miles away (2 miles for under 8s), or if there is no safe walking route (eg rural roads with no pavement [en-US: sidewalk]), then they would get a school bus, or if it is an extremely rural area, a shared taxi.

Good luck with that -- we spent an age fighting our local authority over that (more than 3 miles to the school -- this was in an urban area, but my son has special educational needs and our nearby schools didn't have the facilities that the local authority agreed he needed). We never did get the transport.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

todrules (882424) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489636)

Yeah, but then for some reason, the schools love to give out detention, which doesn't let out until after all the buses have left. And, in this day and age, where both parents usually have to work, then the kid is usually left to find their own ride home.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (2)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489582)

Parental responsibility means teaching your kids to take care of themselves, and also to make sure they get healthy habits, such as walking instead of driving when they need to travel short distances. In the last few decades, there has been a trend in a few western countries of driving kids everywhere and forbidding them to play outside unsupervised. In those same countries, child and young adult obesity rates have exploded. Coincidence?

Letting 9-year-old kids walk home from school on their own was the safe and responsible thing to do long before cellphones where invented. Those are just tools that have made it even safer.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (2)

mlush (620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489334)

So they can call for help if they have problems getting home. Very useful in more rural areas. My local primary school is about 200 meters away, so perhaps not so useful in a large town.

This. Our boy has had one since he was 10 but didn't use it much till he went to secondary school.

Has locked himself out twice (second time he phoned to ask where the spare key was hidden:-). He hasn't missed the school bus yet but its only a matter of time, Coming back from school trips to say when he's actually getting back as a pose to when he's scheduled to get back. If we get separated (deliberately on not) in town its useful to reorganize a meet-up point.

This is not helicopter parenting, its just maintaining a basic level of communication. Its the simple things like being able to call ahead and say were going to be late that make it worth every penny.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489652)

I see the whole getting home part, but this doesn't tell me why the kid needs a phone in school. They are more of a distraction than a tool.

I can sympathize with the whole getting home thing. It would have definitely been useful for me, seeing as I lived 30 miles from my school. But they should get one of those phones with 2-3 buttons...call home, call 911 (or the local alternative), and call one other designated person. There is no need for a 10 year old to have a full-blown cell phone.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489704)

Well obviously it should be switch off during lessons. A full blown cell phone is probably cheaper than what you are suggesting.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489022)

Useful for what? Why does a child need their own telephone?

Why do you need your own telephone? (hint: you don't)

It's useful for communication. You know, that thing everyone does.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37489034)

So that he can call his friends? So that I can call him during the day? So that he can call me if need be?

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

muindaur (925372) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489444)

My high school had a payphone, and so did my grammar school. Those are now gone. So if I had a kid they would need one to call in for a ride home should they walk across to the library to do research after school. I had a payphone that I could always use, but those days are gone in most areas: if not all. I used the payphone numerous times from:

1) Missing the bus (running to the locker, and then to the bus as it decides to leave in less than the ten less it's supposed to wait.)
2) Walking over to the town library after school to research.
3) Using the computer lab (we didn't have a computer until after my freshman year of high school.)

All of which required me calling my mom to let her know to pick me up after work.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

zmooc (33175) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489594)

This may be new to you, but some children actually happen to have a social life. Much of which nowadays inevitably happens online. No facebook/twitter/whatever will mean missing out for an ever increasing number of children.

Also, children need to travel from home to school and back again, often by foot or by bike. How are they going to find the 10 minute timeslot in which they can get there without raining wet when they don't have a phone?! How are they going to call mom to discuss whether they can go play with a friend? How are they going to send in their homework? On paper? LOL. And how are they going to post on slashdot without a phone? Wait until they get home? Sounds kind of 1996ish to me.

That's why children need telephones as well. Simply being young does not mean their needs are that much different from us or they have no right to fulfill those needs with the same technology us adults use for it.

And, no, I'm not talking out of my ass. I'm a dad myself and am not going to accept my children missing out just due to some irrational opinions or incompetent schools.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (3, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488658)

Pay the premium. Get your kid a Disney phone. Disable all its functions, but the one that calls you (and other emergency numbers), or the one that allows you to track him down through gps. Then, it's very unlikely that your kid will be playing games in class, or texting in class, for him to get it confiscated in the first place.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37488738)

I think he was implying having the phone was enough to get it confiscated presuming a person of authority saw it like a teacher or other adult looking after things.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37488886)

If you disable everything else you hamper the kid twice. First you've given the kid a annoying dog collar to tote around instead of a phone, plus the kid can't interact with other phone kids so is lopped out of a potential social scene.

Needs to have adjustable access timeslots; so it works for a list of friends' numbers outside of class times, and ditto gameplay. Purchasing should be limited to a 'wallet' account separate from the talk charges, so the kid can have a modest allowance to work with.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37488962)

Or even better: don't give them a phone and let them communicate like normal children do. I can't remember ever having a need for a mobile phone before I was twelve, up until then I could either talk to people in person or use a landline phone. Mobile phones only become convenient when children get more independent - and given today's cotton-wool society that often doesn't happen until they're in their teens and fairly well able to fend for themselves anyway.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37489250)

There are no more landlines. You either have a mobile phone, or you don't have any phone.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

tangelogee (1486597) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489676)

Every classroom has a phone here where I work. Every store has one as well. Most will let a child call home if necessary. How many 10 year-olds do you know that walk around by themselves?

Re:Somebody tell the schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37489286)

Like "normal children"? LOL

In the US, if you're 8+ and don't have a phone, you -aren't- normal.

Not feasible for teachers to check each phone (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489004)

(disclaimer: not a UK teacher, but a UK university educational researcher who has worked on projects in schools)

You make a fair summary about the kind of things that teachers don't want children using their phones for in class. They are in class to participate in the lesson, not for texting friends or playing games. But it's not feasible for teachers to track each student's phone type and functionality, much too time consuming. I don't know where you are writing from but in the UK the school time table doesn't have spare five minutes at the beginning of every lesson (children, particularly those over 11, rotate between teachers for different lessons) to check all the students' phones. Far easier (and more efficient in terms of time spent on teaching) to put a blanket ban on phones being switched on or carried. Harder as well to police older children who have more independence from their parents than younger children. 17 year olds are unlikely to accept "Disney phones" yet are school children.

Of course there is an interesting pedagogical line of thought developing that we should accept mobile phones are becoming ever present devices and we should work out how to incorporate them into teaching and learning processes, but this is a different debate (and fiercely contested, as you can imagine).

Re:Not feasible for teachers to check each phone (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489514)

But it's not feasible for teachers to track each student's phone type and functionality, much too time consuming.

You misunderstood the point of the parent. If the phone is supplied for duress and is set up in a way that ONLY the duress call can be made the kid won't be texting in class as they can't. The phone will likely stay in the bag, if not for anything but shame, and thus would be unlikely to get confiscated in class.

Re:Not feasible for teachers to check each phone (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489618)

If the phone is supplied for duress and is set up in a way that ONLY the duress call can be made the kid won't be texting in class as they can't. The phone will likely stay in the bag, if not for anything but shame

Much easier: Get an old, black-and-white-text-only phone. That will definitely stay hidden in the bag except for emergencies. Won't run out of battery, either.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489324)

A lot of schools ban them by default even if it's not used in class.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489612)

If you give a child a phone that is only useful for calling Mummy and Daddy, then they won't bother to keep it on them, they won't care where it is, they won't bother charging it and they'll lose it/break it in very short order, because it's just not an object they will care about protecting.

The way to make sure a child keeps their phone charged and about their person is to let them USE it.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37488672)

In my school days yo-yos were banned, then magnifying glasses ( after one too many summer Sun-focusing experiments ) and finally Game Boys. Fair enough.

School is a place for education, not entertainment. Can't the kids wait until they are home to text their friends, whom they last saw one hour previously anyhow?

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

piripiri (1476949) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488684)

What? They have ditched physics, optics and electronics? What a shame.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488998)

I took a lot of tests in elementary and high school. Some of the big stand-outs were the SATs and the GEPA [wikipedia.org] in my (young) memory - I took them in 7th and 8th grade respectively. Here's how they (and damn near every prior and subsequent test) went for me:

1) 40 minutes to complete section.

2) Complete section in 20 minutes.

3) Spend 3-4 minutes double-checking my work, even though I never made a change.

4) Sit on my ass for 15-20 additional minutes doing nothing.

5) Repeat for every test section until the test is over. Then repeat for the reading assignment, classowork, etc.

Every classroom assignment, test, quiz, etc. would inevitably involve me sitting idle half the time and trying not to fall asleep. The best part was the grating voice of some of my teachers telling me to "recheck my work" after I already have once or twice. 3 or 4 hours of this shit every day can drive you nuts.

Sure, school is for education, but it's for education to the lowest common denominator. You can't cut special education or remedial courses, but gifted & talented courses and/or extracurricular activities are always on the chopping block. You have students who are "above the bar" in one or more subjects being bored out of their goddamn minds because they have the unfortunate luck of being better than the government standards require them to be.

A dumbass kid leaves his phone ringer on 11 during a test? Sure, suspend his phone privaledges. Playing Gameboy with the sound all the way up? Okay. Reading a book at an inappropriate time? Kosher, take it for a little while. But blanket bans with stuff like this just ends up having the kids who know what the hell they're doing sit on their ass half the time.

This very stuff is what makes me resent jobs that have any kind of bullshit "busy work" in them - work for the sake of work to fill up time. I'm given 8 hours to complete a task, finish in 4, and I have to sit on my ass for another 4 hours to meet a state/federal standard (in the case of school) or punch a time clock (in the case of adult life). The system encourages everybody to slow down and hurts the people who have the capability to excel.

No wonder our country's productivity is in the shitter.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37489602)

I hear you on the being bored in school. It sounds like you were unlucky with the teachers you had. I had a similar experience to begin with but my teachers were good enough to realise I was more than capable of doing the work they assigned in half the time. Some got me to help out the other kids in the class which I was happy to do. Some allowed me to just sit there and read whatever I wanted after I had finished the work. One of my Physics teachers used to set additional assignments for me to do to fill the time and these were always more interesting than what everyone else was doing.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489020)

School is a place for education, not entertainment.

No. "Entertainment" is an important part of socialization, which is an important part of school.

Now, they don't really need a cellphone for entertainment. But let's not go overboard here.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489120)

School is a place for education, not entertainment

If you think that these are totally disjoint, then I hope you don't work in education. And I'm very glad I'm not you - you must lead a very depressing life.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489570)

When I was at school the bans were pogs, conkers, yoyos, card games (First individually - pokemon, digimon, yugioh - and then just a blanket ban to have keeping track of them) and chess. The latter due to a series of games turning violent in accusations of cheating.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489632)

When I was at school the bans were pogs, conkers, yoyos, card games (First individually - pokemon, digimon, yugioh - and then just a blanket ban to have keeping track of them) and chess. The latter due to a series of games turning violent in accusations of cheating.

They banned conkers? We'd have burned the school to the ground if they banned conkers.

Our school banned holding mass riots with the kids of other nearby schools. Didn't stop us though.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37488700)

I suppose that is one of those idiot schools that wants the attention of its pupils and would rather lessons are not interrupted by the continual "text update" or "facebook status change" ring tone...

My wife's schools takes phones off students and keeps them in the secretary's office - she fetches the children should a parent ring up with something that's important.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (2, Funny)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488746)

Many years ago I was one of the few carrying a PDA to every class - a Psion Series 3a.

I had it confiscated once: for using the internal speaker to stand to the British national anthem when my Scottish Latin teacher went on another of his hilarious anti-English tirades. He deserved it. I deserved it.

But as long as I only used it for schoolwork while in the classroom, everyone was happy.

Do kids at your school only use their 'phones for schoolwork while in the classroom?

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489008)

That's how it should be - confiscated when it's used inappropriately and/or being disruptive to either you or your classmates' learning experience.

As for the Scottish teacher, well, you guys do have that whole past few centuries of dicking over other countries. I can sorta understand how he might still be a bit mad about that. That's inter-generational anger right there.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489128)

Yeah, much of what he said was entirely warranted. His speech on English false modesty stuck with me more than anything. But I cursed myself for not having had the prescience to set up a timed launch of The Skye Boat Song.

He's a monk now... sometimes I wish I were too.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489160)

As a matter of interest, what was his name? I think Imight know him...

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489508)

Brucey, except to his face.

But you're not in the only Blue Book I can still find, so either we're not contemporaneous or there's more than one monastic Scottish Latin teacher angry at the English :-).

Much British imperialism... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37489198)

...occurred after Scotland became part of the United Kingdom. So they're not blameless on the imperialistic front. And while it's funny, it probably isn't appropriate for a teacher to rant about the other British nations in a classroom ;)

Re:Somebody tell the schools (4, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488860)

Those policies exist for a number of reasons, and cover a variety of electronic devices:

1) Schools don't want to be held accountable for lost, stolen, or broken devices. And yes, parents blame the school when that happens.

2) Teachers don't want to deal with distracted children. Incidentally, this was true 50 years ago when kids weren't allowed to bring toys into class.

3) These contraptions are a source of bullying in a multitude of ways, ranging from theft to provoking and photographing/recording fights.

Just because you don't understand why policies exist doesn't mean that the school is an "idiot",

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489512)

  1. 1. Those parents will always find something to complain about.
  2. 2. This is a matter of discipline. Yes, it's easy for incompetent teachers to blame the phones for the lack of order, but it doesn't make it true.
  3. 3. Bullying and fights existed before phones, again this is a disciplinary issue. Recording bullying is a good thing those assholes effectively incriminate themselves, now they can't deny it and get kicked out of school fast. You already mentioned theft, yes it's hard to prevent and requires additional effort from the school, but if a kid uses an old worthless phone noone will steal it.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37489544)

..I think you nailed it with photographing fights - or photographing in general.

I'm in Finland - and was in elementary school after the economical crash following the collapse of soviet union. And boy, if there had been cellphone cameras with us then the school simply could not have had the guts to offer so crappy lunches.

and the other guy, hand in at reception? what the fuck, since when do schools have those?

if the class is so big the teacher doesn't notice a kid using a cellphone then the class really is so big or the teacher is not paying attention. sure, if we had cellphones on 4th grade then the teacher might have gone over the edge faster southpark style, but really that would have been better for all of us anyways.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489662)

Those policies exist for a number of reasons, and cover a variety of electronic devices:

1) Schools don't want to be held accountable for lost, stolen, or broken devices. And yes, parents blame the school when that happens.

A teacher confiscated my daughters mobile once.

At the end of the school day she went to see the teacher to get it back. Suprise suprise - it had been stolen from the teachers bag.

When I reported the theft to the police they asked me whether I thought the teacher had stolen it. I had to tell them I'd rather not go there - would have led to endless shit. The police were of the same opinion.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

zmooc (33175) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489688)

The reasons are crap. I won't even start to explain why the first one is crap, that should be plain obvious.

The second is crap since it is perfectly doable to require children to put their phones on silent mode or to keep them in their locker during classes. The school should teach them the discipline to do that. They will carry phones for the rest of their lives and will have to deal with it no matter what. Distractions have always been around and teachers have always dealt with them. Stealing things (yes, that's what it is) is not a respectful solution, at most it is an indication of the incompetence of the school and/or its teachers.

The 3rd reason is probably the most crappy one. It is probably just as effective against bullying as ducttaping all students mouths but it fails to deal with the actual problem. It only postpones it until after school. Also it is very effective against sending friendly things to eachother. It just sends out a very, very wrong message.

But the most important reason why it is crap, is that it is none of the schools business what a child carries in its bag or clothes as long as it does not interfere with the lessons. Children have a right of privacy too and school absolutely should not have the right to take away the property of their CLIENTS. It is disrespectful and helps tremendously in teaching students that disrespectful behavior is the norm nowadays. I wouldn't even remotely be able to show any respect to a school that treats me like crap, escpecially if the reasons (the ones you stated) are so incredibly irrational. It is a very nice beginning of an awesome negative spiral of irrational behavior, disrespect and abuse of authority.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (2)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489044)

My children's school has a hand-it-in-at-reception-on-arrival policy. They hand it in when they arrive, they retrieve it when they leave. This seems entirely reasonable to me, since many of the year 6 pupils walk to and from school by themselves, and thus might legitimately need to carry a phone.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37489072)

My children's school has a hand-it-in-at-reception-on-arrival policy. They hand it in when they arrive, they retrieve it when they leave..

So does the school my wife works in. Except the children ignores the policy and smuggles the phone into class.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489604)

and that's where confiscation (and, for persistent offenders, detention) comes into play :)

Re:Somebody tell the schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37489358)

If only my kids idiot school would stop confiscating the damn things they might be useful.

Since most parents today grew up without cell phones in school, I'm struggling to understand how a parent today cannot seem to see the value in the standard school policy of cell phone confiscation when they find a student using them when they should not be.

You either want your children to grow up hopelessly dependent on a cell phone and all its narcissistic distractions, or you want to use it as your own personal tracking device and electronic leash for your kid. Either way, it questions your ability to actually parent.

Do yourself a favor and try not to make people question who is the bigger "idiot" here.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489552)

I'm employed at one of those schools that confiscates mobile phones on sight. We have to, because those things are incredibly distracting. Which do you think students would rather pay attention to: The teacher lecturing them about the history of world war one, or Angry Birds on the phone under the table? Then you get the gossiping, the potential bullying, etc. That's why we ban phones. But it's not an unreasonable ban: The students are still permitted to bring phones for the journey to and from school, so long as the phones stay turned off and out of sight in pocket or bag once they are on school property.

Re:Somebody tell the schools (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489686)

I'm employed at one of those schools that confiscates mobile phones on sight. We have to, because those things are incredibly distracting.

Do you confiscate them in the playground? While the kid is trying to turn it off?

Never underestimate the petty dictator.

Voice and ASCII SMS corrupting young minds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37488728)

My 10-year old has an ancient Nokia assigned to him for occasions when he's at friends or relatives and can SMS for a pickup or whatever. We have a drawer full of old phones and it's a good use of them. He's not playing poker on it or surfing for p0rn. This is sensationalist and pointless.

Nothing significant (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488734)

There's nothing more significant about owning a "mobile phone" than having a walkie-talkie and a scientifig calculator... Internet access on dumb phones is so crippled that it doesn't matter.

What's going to be interesting is when a large number of kids have SMART phones, ie. full web access, networked applications, etc. Then you very nearly have a full computer in your hands, and information always at your fingertips. But the dumb phones parents are likely to give their children don't have this effect at all... they pretty much just make phone calls, and run trivial and useless toy apps.

Re:Nothing significant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37488794)

I just took a £12/month 24 month contract (200 mins inc and 200 texts) which comes with a free Sony Ericson Xperia. £12/month is firmly in pocket money territory or certainly the realms of "nag enough to get it" territory / Xmas present ... we are there now, assuming the kid wants it.

Re:Nothing significant (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488852)

I think you will find the vast majority of phones given to children are pay as you go, so they worst they can do is use up the credit on the phone. With that, you do have an up-front cost for the phone.

Re:Nothing significant (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489274)

not really
I have my android phone I use my xda universal retired when i got the android phone and 1 or 2 motorola razr's. sat gathering dust.

So I have 3 working phones i could easily give away. In the uk you can get sim cards for free o2 for example you can apply for 4 free sim cards Vodaphone has topups from 5 euro or £ and even without top ups as long as the number is called once every 6 months then you have an almost free cell phone.
  why not give it to a child?

when I was in middle school i would walk to and from school (8 - 12) often diverting via ditches playgrounds ect. I guess my mum would worry some but I always eventually got home. The technology wasn't there when i was a kid but i'm sure she would have liked to know where i was and called me if i was particularly late.

One crucial difference in most of europe is there is no charge for incoming calls and texts so even with no credit , a mobile can be called.

obviously a child has to be taught to be responsibility and there has to be appropriate use of the phone which means you don't use it in class. Facebook updates could be a pain but even before mobile phones kids would pass notes in class. The mobile is hardly different.

On the whole giving a mobile to a child is teaching them responsibility and a little independence, kids should be able to play out with friends and not have an adult looking over their shoulder all the time.

Obviously any kid will want a better phone than they have but that will need to be earned by demonstrating they can be responsible. I really don't see a problem with giving kids basic phones initially and more advanced phones as they get older.

Re:Nothing significant (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489454)

A cheap Android phone is as little as £75 upfront. That's presumably firmly within birthday present cost.

Re:Nothing significant (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488824)

.But the dumb phones parents are likely to give their children don't have this effect at all... they pretty much just make phone calls, and run trivial and useless toy apps.

Yeah, my under-10 daughter has a phone on a pay-per-minute PagePlus plan ( a few bucks a month) and she only has it for emergency use. It's a cheap folder with keyboard, so she can text if she needs to (i.e. walking in the woods with poor signal) but she's paying me the full 25 cents per superfluous text, so she doesn't.

I've had 11-year-old babysitters with serious texting addictions and it's both sad and wrong. Rear your children properly, news at 11.

Re:Nothing significant (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489696)

What's wrong with texting friends at 11 (or any age)?

My girlfriend and I got her 10 year old a phone so she could have a phone. We didn't have a landline, and she was at the age we thought appropriate to leave at home for a quick shopping trip etc.

The phone was a way for her to call if there was an issue. Additionally, it was a low-end smartphone, so she was empowered with internet access whenever she needed it.

Re:Nothing significant (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488846)

You can get the Orange Rio for about £50 on pay as you go. A feature phone rather than a smart phone, but it does have GPRS internet access.

Translation (1)

zeptic (323902) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488752)

The article states that 33% in the range 0-10 years have a mobile phone. That translates to 100% of 6 2/3 - 10 year olds are having a mobile phone. That seems way to high -- especially when I compare to the real world (here in Denmark)!

The UK != the real world (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488822)

It's a very strange place.

Denmark is completely normal.

Re:The UK != the real world (1)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489102)

Actually it's not only the UK, mobiles for 6 years old kids are normal in Austria too.

Re:The UK != the real world (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489230)

Yes, but Australia isn't exactly "normal" either.

I mean, seriously, kangaroos?

Re:The UK != the real world (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489264)

Were you distracted by your mobile phone when they were teaching basic geography?

Re:The UK != the real world (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489342)

You mean they don't have Kangaroos in Austria?

Must learn to read.

Now, Austria, that's a totaly normal place. (And all Austrian kids should have mobes, comes in handy when dad locks you in the basement for a few years).

Re:Translation (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488862)

There are more phones than people in the UK, and everybody has one, so the figures seem about right.

Re:Translation (1)

neyla (2455118) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489066)

Journalists don't know statistics, news at 11.

I strongly suspect that the *actual* result was that 33% of all kids gets their first mobile phone before they turn 10.

Which isn't the same thing as saying that 33% of all kids under 10 have a phone.

But that's journalism to you.

Shoddy journalism and misleading statistics. (2)

sarabob (544622) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488758)

The source says 'children as young as four' have mobiles, meaning that 55% of all 4-9 year olds must have a mobile in order for the "33% of under tens" to be true

One-third of 8-10 year olds I can believe (most people I know are getting their kids phones when they start secondary school at 10-11), but 55% of 4-9 less so.

Re:Shoddy journalism and misleading statistics. (2)

old man moss (863461) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488804)

Yes, we got our 11 year old a mobile when he started at secondary school. But there is a difference between "has a mobile" and "uses a mobile". His phone stays in his bag, turned off, mostly. In fact, he didn't really want a phone, since he sees his friends all the time anyway. So really it is only there for his parents' peace of mind "in case of emergency".

Re:Shoddy journalism and misleading statistics. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37489006)

i'm sorry, i fail to understand how the single mention of a child as young as four can skew the data so much... obviously i'm assuming the data set includes vastly more children more than a handful.

care to enlighten me?

Re:Shoddy journalism and misleading statistics. (1)

ooloogi (313154) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489100)

The article says they asked 2000 children, but there's no mention of what bias may have affected the sample of children that they asked. They may have mainly asked older children in that range, which would have skewed the results greatly, compared to evenly sampling across the age range.

The "as young as four" remark demonstrates that there were no 0, 1, 2 or 3 year-olds who owned their own phones, which would account for 800 out of 2000 evenly sampled children. That means among the 1200 4 year olds and up there must be 667 with phones, ie. 56%. Further assuming the proportion increases with age, at 9 years old it would be much higher than that.

Re:Shoddy journalism and misleading statistics. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37489074)

Most people I know give their kids phones when they are around 7. So there might be some differences between the countries..

Ten is good (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488764)

The limit in my family is ten - you get a mobile for your tenth birthday. Of course, then my father-in-law comes along and gives my daughter a 600 Euro phone, which she promptly loses on the street in the week after that, but that stuff just serves to teach my father-in-law about the nature of my kids. I give them phones, but I'm not stupid: I give them cheap and simple phones.

Re:Ten is good (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488810)

Ten is good (Score:2)
by bytesex (112972)

8 in decimal?

Re:Ten is good (1)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489112)

2 in decimal :-P

Re:Ten is good (0)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489486)

I'd expect a bytesexual to use octal. Less's the pity.

Wow (2)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488798)

In other news the sun raises usually somewhere in the east.

What are mobiles useful for kids? Coordinate with their parents. E.g. call parents after school, I'm meeting now friend X. Or I'm stuck there and there, could you please come pick me up [happened when our daughter used first public transport to get to school], please hurry today after school home, we've got a doctor's appointment, Hi kid, we are out doing XY, don't wonder if nobody is home, we'll be home in an hour.

That's probably why even kids from poor families/single parent households have mobiles usually in primary school here around, because these are that need usually the most coordination to manage the day.

Now, for a 10 years old, some mobile will not do, the minimum is a low end Android, with a surprising number of kids carrying high end Androids and iPhones 4, at least at the school of my daughter. (And no it's not private run for rich people, it's just a normal state-run middle school, despite being called Junior Highschool) OTOH, the Galaxy SII is cool enough that I managed to wean my daughter of the evil products of the iFruit salad company.

Considering confiscations, her school has a very pragmatic approach, phones are to be turned off and left in the locker in the morning and are turned on again when leaving the school. That serves quite well the coordination thing => one can call the school if something needs immediate action during the day, all other coordination can be sent via SMS, hence the kid gets the message when it turns on the phone, ... Naturally that does not work everywhere, because it assumes that each kid has his own safe locker.

Re:Wow (2)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489068)

Coordinating with parents has caused its own problems with my daughter and her friends. They're at the age where they walk to school on their own but are not old enough to leave the local area on bus.

Every single minor problem results in a phone call to us. They panic when someone cries. A grazed knee seems like a broken leg. Back in my day (GOML), dealing with these issues gave independence.

Credit is king, not Android or Blackberry. It doesn't matter what phone you have if you haven't got minutes. Chores for minutes works well here. I haven't washed-up in years.

Complete crap (2)

lucm (889690) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488832)

> The extent to which today's youngsters rely on technology was revealed following a study of 2,000 parents of children aged ten and under.

From this study they draw conclusions like the 1/3 nonsense in the headline. Incredibly accurate.

> Broadband providers in the UK may be forced to offer parents ways of protecting their children from harmful online content as part of a new Communications Act.
[...]
> Westcoastcloud has just released its internet security product Netintelligence as an App on iTunes for use in schools and will be releasing a home-use version later this year.

Now this whole thing makes sense. This is not about statistics, this is about marketing.

Re:Complete crap (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#37488872)

Cellphone providers already block "inappropriate" sites. You either need to pay them to remove the block or VPN back home to get round it.

Re:Complete crap (1)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489078)

Well, the only "provider" that does this here would by McDonalds WLAN, but lucky for them, you can just switch to Google-Mobile view, and they don't catch that at all :)

Re:Complete crap (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489054)

This is not about statistics, this is about marketing.

These days, almost everything is about marketing (except for probably very small scale relations/communications).

If you generalize even more, you might argue that everything is about upstream transfer of 'wealth'.

CC.

Microwaves, albumin and brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37488836)

One could ask if they are they less vulnerable than rats
in acquiring the resulting albumin-induced [nih.gov]
brain damage [google.com] .

Remember UK phones are much cheaper (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37488936)

It helps that in the UK you can buy a basic candy bar phone including £10 of credit for £10 and the credit never expires. Calls can be around 10p a minute. Equally when a parent gets a new phone what are they going to do with their worthless old one? You stick in a cheap payg simcard and give it to your kids. Every house in europe has a drawer with some ancient cast off nokias in the back.

So potentially you could have a phone that lasts for years at a cost of a tenner which is well worth it for most families just to occasionally ask where are you? Or be told "I've missed the last bus help".

Re:Remember UK phones are much cheaper (1)

yacc143 (975862) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489086)

Exactly, although many primary school kids nowadays want more than a simple phone that stops at SMS-ing. Technically speaking you can get new cheap Androids in the €100 range, and prepaid (PAYG) SIMs can be quite cheap (1000 minutes, 1000 SMS, 1GB in the range of €10 chargeup monthly), OTOH, contracts from discount providers can be quite okay too, our daughter switched to a contract while in primary school :)

In Japan (2)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489024)

We have cell phones specifically for children.
http://www.au.kddi.com/seihin/ichiran/kishu/mamorino/index.html [kddi.com]

If you pull the tab an alarm goes off. The Phone has 24/7 tracking, and it's one touch to call parents. Service isn't expensive either, certainly reasonable for worried parents. Above that are a whole selection of cell phones with features specifically tailored to children of specific age ranges and services are tailored to them so parents can do things like block features or put limits on things - but inter family communication is always free and always-on remote location tracking is on every model.

I guess they don't have the same phones and services in the UK?

Re:In Japan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37489588)

UK phones allow pay as you go. Any phone will do, just pop in the SIM. If the kid can control themselves with calls and SMS etc, the costs are minimal. No monthly fees, no fancy smartphone, just a hand down from the parents. I.e. it's just about as free as you can get. And yes, there are kiddified phones, but UK people are more frugal.

So what? (1)

SlothDead (1251206) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489584)

If I remember correctly, more than one in three kids used to have a Game Boy at my school. What's the difference?

Only locked down... (1)

slydder (549704) | more than 3 years ago | (#37489586)

Our son (8) has a handy that is completely locked down. He cannot make a call unless it is to us or 911 and cannot receive a call unless from us. Our daughter will have the same type of service when she gets older as well.

Once our son is 12 or 13 I will loosen up the plan a bit, but until then he stays on a tether.

Declining standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37489626)

When mobile phones first came out, it took people only a few months to learn how to shout "I'm on the train!!!!!" in a smug self-satisifed, oooh look at me, me with a poncy mobile manner.

Now it looks like people have to be trained from as early as 4 how to do this. The world is going to hell in a handcart I tell you.

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