My 9 year old son is my eldest, and he turns 10 in August. Normally, I wouldn’t ask this question, as I think it’s actually too young. He has enough distractions from the games console and TV.
The reason I’m pondering getting him a phone is because he’s started to walk home on his own from school sometimes, especially when he has an after school club and I’ve already been to school to collect the others. He’s walked to school a couple of times too by himself. Granted, he’s done these things without a phone! So, does he need one?
Well, next year is his last year in primary school and the last year I’ll have all three at the same school. A lot of kids in the final year have phones, they can’t use them in school, but the minute they’re out, I see them taking pictures and playing together. Do I want him to be the odd one out? Once he goes to secondary school he will probably be travelling to and from school by himself for the majority of journeys.
Basic or smartphone?
One of my friends suggested getting a basic Nokia phone that can send and receive calls and texts. Yes, that is what he’d need for safety, no question. But, do I want him to be the only one with a basic phone? I’m not suggesting I get him the latest iPhone or Samsung, but I think somewhere between the two would be good. Perhaps a reconditioned phone.
Sim only deals
There are some really good sim only deals that would work well for him. With a sim only deal, you don’t have the handset costs to pay off, which is perfect if you’ve upgraded your phone so you can pass on your old phone to them. There are loads of really good deals with sim only, like the one from Voxi (vodafone) which is £10 a month and includes 8GB of 4G data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts plus unlimited social data. I would feel more comfortable with one that is capped in case there were unexpected data charges, like the one from imobile, it’s only £3.99 a month and includes 500 minutes and unlimited texts. You also get the sim for free. I’m not sure pay as you go would work, I don’t want to be thinking about top ups all the time.
I can add him on my maps app so I can see him walking home for my piece of mind. Sometimes it’s easier to communicate via WhatsApp, he sends me notes and emojis. If we’re arguing it can be somewhere to reconnect. We are very similar, and always like to have the last word, which makes for lots of shouting at each other. I’m not looking forward to the teenage years with him!
This is going to be a no from me. Although I may be a hypocrite, because he has his own (rather neglected) youtube channel. I don’t want him to have Instagram, snapchat or Facebook, I think the risk of online bullying is too great at this age and possible grooming.