Tuesday 10 December 2019

'There is no need for children under the age of 10 to have a phone'

Tough call: Siobhan with her daughters April and Robyn. Photo: Bryan Meade
Tough call: Siobhan with her daughters April and Robyn. Photo: Bryan Meade

Arlene Harris

Siobhan O'Neill White has four children and while she is no stranger to social media herself, she believes a mobile phone and access to the internet has no place in the life of a young child.

"In my opinion, parents of children under the age of 10 should always know where their child is, so there is no need whatsoever for them to have a phone," says Siobhan, who runs parenting website mumstown.ie.

"Of course some people disagree with me and are happy to let their children out of their sight as long as they are contactable, but I don't believe they should go anywhere, whether that be online or in the real world without their parents until they are much older. So while my 14-year-old son, Mitchell, has a phone, I have no intention of letting his sister Robyn (12) have one for a good while yet as she has absolutely no need for it."

The Dublin woman, who is also mother to April (10) and Summer (6), says she allowed her eldest to have a phone when he was 12 and has since realised the error of her ways.

"We gave in to Mitchell when he wanted a phone and Robyn has been pleading with me for one since she was 10," she says. "But having seen how much it robs him of time playing games and using his imagination, I definitely won't be allowing her to have one as I do believe girls are more engrossed with social media than boys.

"So, yes, of course, it is tough having to say no to my child and it would be much easier to just let her sit staring at a screen all day, but it is our job as parents to make sure we protect them from bad influences both online and in real life."

Irish Independent

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