Ben is almost, but not quite, a teenager and since changing schools at the age of 10 (3 tier school system of primary, middle (obviously) and high) and having to get on a bus to go to school (we lived in a one horse village (actually there were lots of horses, this being the hunting/shooting/fishing area of Staffordshire) pretty much only one bus though) he's had a mobile phone ever since.
His newest has just arrived, he saved up for it and paid over his hard earned cash (pocket money, and so not really earned...it does get reduced for poor behaviour though) to me, as the Amazon account holder and person with credit cards and bank accounts. This was on Sunday and today it's arrived.
His 6th mobile phone in almost 4 years.
Rather excessive wouldn't you say? I guess the number is so high because of moving countries and also because he's grown up and is suddenly interested in music and so the phone is no longer just for calling people, oh no, he wants a phone that creates a good sound, has a large memory - which he's enlarged already by buying a memory stick thingummy (to store all the music) and that also has a good camera (this one, he brags has 8.1 megapixels & HD video; 'what's your iphone got mom?' I shall be hearing I'm sure) so that he can take embarassing photos and then tweak them and make them more embarassing.
His previous phone, the one that is now (as I type) being ruthlessly and callously culled for its contacts (he didn't think to save them to the SIM card) has lasted well over a year, although it's demise has been long in the planning.
Children these days are frighteningly technologically aware, whenever I can't get satellite tv to work or the Wii or the playstation I call Ben, he can usually fix it straight away and is more likely to come when asked than Simon (actually there is a greater likelihood of him being home than Simon - but that's another story) The children of the noughties have grown up with computers and tv's with remote controls, they think nothing of using a microwave to heat last night's cold chicken so as to have a tastier sandwich and will happily pause a live tv programme for a quick wee rather than waiting for the ad break the way I remember having to do.
I remember Simon setting up the record player to copy stuff we only had on vinyl (we must have boxes and boxes of vinyl stored in our cellar, it seems rather hard hearted to bin it all) and Jasmine especially, being amazed by this thing that made music, and Simon being not so pleased when her bouncing around to the music made the needle bounce!
Jas has been banging on and on since maybe Christmas about having a mobile phone, and I've been refusing for several reasons;
- it will get lost, quicker than you can say 'where's your phone?', in her pit of a room
- Ben was 10 before he had his first one and needed it in case he got stranded without the bus
- who's she going to call (Ghostbusters!) it's not like all her friends have handys* yet
However, I'm starting to rethink my decision (although I haven't told her this yet), kids here are given a lot more freedom earlier than in the UK - I don't think there is necessarily any difference in the safety between the two countries, but maybe, just maybe the UK has gone a little over the top, this means that kids walk to and from school alone and now Jas and her friends are starting to walk between each others houses (and also to and from the ice cream parlour (you have no idea how integral a part of German society the ice café is)) and so to know she's at the end of a phone would give me some peace of mind, I need to think about this a bit longer...
*mobile phone = handy = cell