When I was very young, I had a mobile. And many children today have mobiles too.
However, the mobile I had was one of those things that hung from the ceiling above my cot. The mobiles that the mini-people of today have are the bleeping, bleating, thoroughly annoying kind.
A report I saw today says 91 percent of 12-year-olds have a mobile phone. As if this wasn't shocking enough, the report also informed parents that they probably shouldn't be giving kids mobile phones because of the possible health risks.
Hello? Had this not occurred to the parents? The truth is mobile phones have not been around for long enough for us to fully understand the long-term health risks. If we find out some years down the line that there are no risks or only minimal risks, then we'll forget all about it. But until then, surely the best approach is a cautious one?
But there is another aspect of the mobile-phones-for-kids debate. If you want your kids to grow up with few manners, an obnoxious attitude and a complete disregard for others then let them have the damn phones. Mobiles cost money to buy and run – most 12-year-olds don't have a job, the last time I checked. So how are we going to teach the youth of today the value of money if we let them have these things, which after all serve more as status symbols than anything else?
We all encounter people using their mobile phones in enclosed spaces within the earshot of dozens of complete strangers every day. But it doesn't get any easier. If I wanted to be exposed to people of limited intelligence having inane conversations at the top of their voices then I'd watch the round-the-clock coverage of Big Brother. So why encourage our children to think this is acceptable behaviour?
It may be difficult to justify denying your brood a mobile phone when all their friends have them, but it isn't a bad parent who makes their child go without luxury items – a bad parent is one that allows their kids to develop loathsome, antisocial habits.