Kelly Pegg: At what age should a child be allowed a mobile phone?

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A friend of mine recently told me her seven-year-old daughter had asked for the new iPhone 7 this Christmas.

Apparently some of her friends already have one and she didn’t want to feel left out. “It baffles me why any 7-year-old would ever need a mobile phone!” she said to me.

I could feel a surge of panic inside me imagining the day my daughter asks for a mobile phone or even worse the day she is older enough to have one. At four years of age I know everything about Ava-Lilly and I cherish that.

I don’t want to sound like a control freak but I’d be lying if I said that I don’t think I will struggle when she’s that bit older and starts to have a life I’m not always part of.

I confess I’ll probably be ‘that kind of mum’ who snoops through her children’s things to make sure they’re not up to anything they shouldn’t be! Once a child has a mobile phone I guess it’s almost like they have secrets that you’re not part of anymore.

This week a survey revealed that the average age for a child to have a mobile phone is three! Call me old fashioned but this horrifies me.

I opened this up for discussion on my Saturday Breakfast show and the response was mixed. Many listeners thought giving a child a mobile at three years of age was lazy parenting and shouldn’t be allowed.

A dad called the show to admit to giving his daughter one at the age of five. After splitting from her mum he wanted to be able to keep in regular contact without the hassle of going through his ex partner.

I understood his predicament and it was obvious he made this decision based on what he felt was best for his relationship with his little girl. I do think parents have a hard time; they are under immense pressure to make sure their kids keep up with the latest things.

No mum or dad anywhere, myself included, wants to be the uncool parent but doing the right thing doesn’t always get us brownie points. I don’t know about you but I hate being judged and where parenting is concerned there are plenty of people ready to wag a finger at you and tell you ‘you’ve done the wrong thing’.

I believe there is something so important about the art of conversation face to face. I love chatting away with my daughter and even though sometimes its just nonsense I know she is really confident in expressing her feelings.

By no means are we perfect parents though and sometimes when Ava-Lilly is bored if we are out we will give her an iPad to keep her amused for a while, usually when we have forgotten her colouring book and pens. I remember being in a restaurant with my daughter and husband and feeling so sad for the little boy at the table next to us.

He was about eight and his dad barely spoke to him throughout the whole meal. He sat there on his phone and the little boy was playing games on an iPad. I wanted to tell the dad it’s a dinner table, talk to your child, make an effort, conversation is so important.

That kind of behaviour is lazy parenting and there is no excuse, why wouldn’t you want to chat to your kids at mealtime? How could being on your phone be more important than finding out how your own child is and how their day has been?Technology is an amazing thing but it’s not real and it I find it scary that some people actually prefer to live in a virtual reality than a real one. The safety issues with technology really frighten me, people being able to see your location, strangers being able to contact your kids and pretend to be someone they’re not.

A friend of mine who is a single dad tells me there are safety apps so parents have control over what their children can access. He also uses an app that tells him where his teenagers are at anytime although he admits his daughter hates that he does this, he insists it’s necessary.

For now I’m holding onto the fact my daughter is little and when the day comes she asks for a mobile phone I’ll just have to cross that bridge when it happens.

I’m hoping she’ll be a teenager when the questions asked but as some days she acts like she’s four going on 14, I very much doubt that will be the case.

Back to school ups and downs

So the children are back at school and if your little one has only just started like mine then you’ll know it’s a bit overwhelming.

My daughter is doing half days for two weeks before starting full time and it’s been a bit up and down so far.

All her friends from nursery have gone off to different schools so she making new friends all over again and I think she’s found it quite hard. I’m really proud of how hard she is trying though and this week she seems to be enjoying it more. Last week all I could get out of her was “Stupid school, I did nothing, I don’t like it!” which isn’t really what you want to hear. I’m loving having her at home in the mornings though, we have long lie ins then we paint and do jigsaws before she heads off at lunchtime.

I’m really going to miss her when she starts full time next week but I know she will end up loving it in the end and she’d soon get bored of me if she was with me too much! It’s a scary realisation that your little one is growing up isn’t it?

I think if I wasn’t pregnant with Baby number two I’d probably be really struggling with letting go of her.

As I know I’m about to start all over again with my son once he arrives at Christmas, I’m handling it all fairly well.

Perils of dating via internet

At 72 years of age TV presenter Anne Robinson has renamed the dating app Tinder ‘Desperate’.

After giving it a go she says it offers slim pickings and she doesn’t want to date someone bald with a moustache.

I think it’s brave of her to even give it a go to be honest, I couldn’t think of anything worse. I have two friends who have been on Tinder and absolutely hated it – one is 21 years old and says it’s a meat market and the other is in her 40s and says the guys on there just aren’t genuine. I’m an old fashioned girl who spent her early 20s believing I would have that ‘movie moment’ when I just bumped into the one and I’d know. It was exactly that situation with the first man I fell in love with but it wasn’t meant to be. I met my husband Chris when I went for a job interview to be a newsreader on the radio station he ran. He didn’t give me the job and I thought he was rude and arrogant! Months later he waltzed into the radio station I was working at as my new boss. It definitely wasn’t love at first sight but there was always something there.

As much as I dislike dating apps I think anyone who is genuinely looking for love no matter how old, is brave to try them. -It’s the hardest thing putting yourself out there and hoping to find love.