Kids – they’re a chip off the old block, eh?
Mine certainly are. We gave Millie her first mobile phone at the weekend – before everyone starts shouting She’s only nine! or We had to make do with a stick and a hoop in my day! I should point out that this phone doesn’t have a sim card.
So, technically, it’s not a phone.
And we didn’t buy it – it’s the Lovely Melanie’s old phone – the one that was dropped down the toilet, was fixed thanks to my insurance, then got slightly damp again and stopped working as a phone. I mean, it worked fine except that it wouldn’t make phone calls.
It wasn’t worth selling to the usual recycling companies so we just held onto it. I bought the Lovely Melanie a brand-new phone for her 40th birthday and we talked vaguely about letting Millie have the old one…at some point.
Then Millie’s CD player broke. She didn’t use it very often, having discovered that her favourite songs are on YouTube, so most mornings she’d use my phone or the tablet for music.
Which gave me an idea: modern CD players seem to have a half-life of roughly six months and, in a house that’s fully networked, seem a bit, well, clunky. Couldn’t we just buy a networked music player? Or something?
Wait! We’ve got some Bluetooth speakers lying around somewhere… and… if we had an old phone…
I wiped the phone, of course; installed a new and better ROM (CyanogenMod 10), put a password on the Play Store so she can’t download anything that costs money (we’ve had “the talk” about in-app purchases), and a content lock on YouTube and Google in an attempt to avoid any awkward questions about hardcore pornography.
Millie was over the moon, of course. I handed her the phone and Bluetooth speaker, and explained what it was for and how to play music using it, but she quickly realised what this actually meant: SHE HAD HER OWN FRICKIN’ PHONE!
Just like me she then spent the next 24 hours getting it looking and working exactly as she wanted – customising the launcher, changing the wallpaper and downloading lots of games. There are still rules on when and where she’s allowed to use it, and I shall be keeping an eye on what she installs, but it’s lovely to see her taking after me with her enthusiasm for technology.
This morning she asked about a case for it, and her little face lit up when I showed her the limitless choices on eBay (and my face lit up when her first choice wasn’t a pink one!)
Amber’s not asked for a phone yet, which is just as well – she’s too young anyway, and we don’t have an endless supply of old phones and Bluetooth speakers lying around, but it’s only a matter of time…
I’ll be interested to hear what other people think about nine-year-olds having a phone…