Should Singaporeans Give Their Kids Handphones?

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Kids, particularly tweens and teens, are big fans of handphones. However, many Singaporean parents are uncertain when it is proper to give their kids a phone. Unlike other parenting issues, most of us can’t recall how our parents handled this situation when we were kids.

For many Singaporean parents, a handphone appears to be just another item that their children want them to get, such as an iPad, Xbox, Wii, or a new laptop. Teens and tweens are likely to have diverse perspectives on the hand phone issue. Getting a handphone is a step toward independence for them. It is also frequently used as a status symbol among their peers.

Because some schools prohibit handphones, your child may not be able to have or use one when they are most likely to be away from home. Other schools allow students to hold and use hand phones during recess.


Arguments for getting the Handphone:

One of the best reasons to get your child a phone is that it allows you to communicate with them at all times. For example, your child can inform you that a gymnastics lesson or badminton training has ended early.

If your child has a phone, you will be able to contact them immediately in the event of an emergency. This added sense of comfort & protection and is perhaps the number 1 reason a parent should consider getting their child a handphone. It can be your sole lifeline to your kid in the event of a real tragedy, like the MRT breaking down or natural disaster.

A handphone can be a useful tool for keeping track with older teens, particularly if they are driving. You can know your teens location is by using a phone with GPS tracking.

While the major reasons to consider getting your child a handphone are security, safety, and convenience, there are other advantages as well:

  1. Keeping your child from feeling left out when so many of their friends have handphones. (but FYI, succumbing to peer pressure isn’t a good idea)
  2. Your child will learn responsibility by looking after their phone, avoid losing it, and attempting to maintain their handphones post-paid or pre-paid plan.



Arguments for resisting the Handphone:

There are a variety of reasons to avoid giving your child a handphone, particularly during the tween years.

It is going to Cost you.

Handphones can be quite costly. Extra charges may apply if you exceed your time or data limits, purchasing of apps & games, or internet on Data. That doesn’t include the expense of a replacing a phone if your children misplace theirs.

Out of your control.

Although a child’s freedom provided by a cell phone can be beneficial, it can also be detrimental. Your child will have another method to communicating with the outside world, which you will have little control over. Most handphones provide total Internet access as well as a wide range of apps that are considerably more difficult to regulate than your home computer.

The handphone is open for the outside world to communicate with your kids. A sex offender could use the anonymity of text messaging and social media to engage and seduce your child.

We all know how distracting handphones are for drivers, but they may also be a major distraction for kids crossing the street on foot, resulting in possible accidents and injuries.

Altered Behavior.

Your child may also face consequences if he or she sends, posts, or receives illicit images while using a cell phone. Alternatively, if a classmate takes their phone and uses it to make inappropriate calls, your child may be accused for them.

Time to Make a Choice.

Ultimately you as a parent must decide if your kids truly need a handphone. Before you buy, make sure that he or she is capable of handling the responsibility. Consider placing some restrictions on your child’s use of the handphone.

Consider the following scenario:

  1. Purchase a pre-paid plan with a set quantity of minutes so you don’t have to pay a lot of unnecessary fees.
  2. Look for a handphone that allows you to set limits, such as turning off data access. You can also limit incoming & outgoing calls to specific numbers on some phones.
  3. Let your child use the phone only on special occasions, such as when they aren’t near another phone.
  4. Install a GPS tracker app on your Childs phone to reveal their whereabouts so you can quickly locate them if necessary.
  5. Discuss major mobile phone issues like cyberbullying, the dangers of distracted driving, cell phone etiquette, and cell phone use guidelines at school.