Thursday, 16 June 2011

Is it okay to get kiss-marks on a cell phone?

Littletree, awesome-saver that she is, has been saving up to get herself an MP3 player. The particular one she wanted was $75, and she’d worked really hard to save enough for it. Then we happened to notice in the Post Office one can get pre-pay cell phones with MP3 players built-in for much cheaper than just buying a simple MP3.

My goodness cell phones are ridonkulously cheap these days! And I discovered that if Littletree has a pre-pay phone on the same network as I’m on, I can transfer credit from my phone to hers in increments as little as $1, so if she’s out and about, I can give her some emergency call money without having to fork out for a whole recharge card (but if she wants to have credit for making calls or texting, she has to buy that herself). Littletree was ecstatic with the idea!

That sealed the deal and we went into the shop to get one! Well, after an evening of Purple and I discussing it – I had this mental block that went something along the lines of “but she’s only 8, that’s far too young for a cell phone. if she has a phone, she’ll look like a spoiled kid, and what does she even need a phone for”. Purple wisely pointed out that if she’s buying it herself with her own saved pocket money, then it’s not spoiling. And she is of an age to start going out with friends around the village; having an emergency phone to use is a wise idea. and it’s cheaper than the MP3 player she was going to buy anyway.

We went back into the Telstra shop to check out all the available models.


So we got a Sony Ericsson Cedar (I thought the model name was entirely appropriate for Littletree). Plusses of this phone were that it takes standard 3.5mm headphone jacks (so Littletree can use any headphones she likes and not have to fork out for specialised ones); it has expandable memory with a MicroSD slot that takes up to 16GB; It’s got great rural coverage (important where we live); a 2MP camera; and it’s partly made from recycled plastic… all for $59, with $10 included credit.

In our local Telstra Dealer they are having a special this week that includes a $30 recharge voucher in addition to the $10 that comes with the phone – since I needed to recharge my phone credit anyway and I usually buy a $30 voucher, that meant I could put the credit on my phone and Littletree could get the phone essentially for $19. Bargain!


So she’s all set up now with her own cell phone. Good Lord Love a Duck! I’ve become one of *those* mothers.


So far, this phone is perfect for a kid’s first phone, or for anyone wanting a cheap phone as a back-up or whatever. The MP3 player works well, the camera is better than I expected it to be. Two-thumbs-up. And Littletree’s literacy is improving now that she’s learning how to text, so it’s educational… right?

Well, she is learning how to use a cell phone, at least. And her first cell-phone-usage-related question?

“Mama, is it bad for my phone if I get spit on it?”

“What??? Why would you spit on your phone?”

“Well, I gave it a kiss, and there’s a kiss-mark on the screen now. Is it okay to kiss the phone?”



  1. Oh my heart melted when I read the last bit of this post. What answer did you give her?

  2. At first I thought the post was about a long distance relationship :P
    Hope LT enjoys learning to use her new phone.

  3. I told her: yeah, it's probably okay to kiss the phone, but no tongue!

  4. LOL! I think that at least 3 times/week I find myself looking in the mirror at "one of those mothers" many compromises, but with so much love.

  5. I don't see anything wrong at all with the way you've gotten her a phone! I think she'll love it and treat it better than most adults treat their phones... that's for certain!! I think that "one of those kids" would have been screeching for a phone, stomping around being horrible & then whinging when it wasn't the latest greatest model that their friends have!! Believe me, we're surrounded by them here.

    My son turns 10 next month & if he actually was out & about I would activate my pre-pay phone for him to use. We don't have a house phone/land line & I haven't seen a public pay phone in YEARS- so it would be impossible to find one if he needed to call someone. Plus it's a great way to KNOW you can reach your kid if you need them for an emergency!

  6. We have been giving serious thought to getting Ry a phone sooner than later. He wasn't going to be able to have his own until age 10. But he's run into a couple situations where having a phone would have been handy.

    I think it's fantastic that she got it herself.

  7. It's true - I'm really glad she bought it herself. And it does give some peace of mind.

  8. Oh, what a dilemma! But I think you've made the right call - no pun intended. I have those emotional, mental blocks about kids and mobiles too, but the sad disappearance of public phones clinches the issue for me. My biggest concern now about kids and mobiles is that they are a double-edged sword when it comes to literacy and interpersonal communication issues. As an English teacher, I am seeing around me a generation that has difficulty communicating without a screen interface. I would feel the need to have discussions with the child about those issues to feel okay about giving them a mobile phone. Lucky for us, LT is already a bilingual little chatterbox! I will be interested to see whether she chooses to use textspeak or wants to use standard spelling.

  9. well, so far, she's unaware of the existence of "txt-speak". Actually, she's been texting for a while, because if I get a text while I'm driving, I'll have Littletree read it out to me and then type in my reply for me.
    And at this point, she doesn't really have any friends she can text on a regular basis.

  10. I can personally vouch that kissing the phone will not harm it. Kels little guy jammified my phone the other night and it survived a good washing down the next day. Good luck with the phone bills! I have been putting off getting my boys phones although they had one just for when they were out and about for a while there. Adem is 13 now and his sister informed us this week that she is giving him her almost new phone as she just swapped to an Iphone. GREAT. I am not looking forward to more bills. One of the joys of having adult children is their habit of butting in on parenting decisions! I was hoping not to give him a phone until he actually needed it!

  11. Mrs K, the beauty of a pre-paid phone is no phone bills. Pre-Pay almost always works out cheaper than having a plan, like I said, I only spend $30/month on my mobile and I never ever run out of credit - I always have at least $10 left at the end of the month, and with Telstra I can transfer small amounts of my credit to Littletree's phone - as little as $1, so it won't be an added expense at all. :)

  12. Mobile phones in Australia have been referred to that way (mobile phone). Why is that people have to Americanise this by now referring to them as "cell phones". The incidence of this occurring has increased significantly in the past couple of years.

    I would just like to know why?

  13. It's got me beat why an 8 year old requires a mobile phone in the first place.

  14. Thanks anonymous (1), the reason we call it a "cell" and not a "mobile" is because we're not even a native-English-speaking family, and in the country we came from, "cell" is the most common. Actually, "Pelefon" is equally common, but I doubt many people reading this would know what that means. Though I do generally agree with you on the stance against Americanization of language. I like my Colour with a U in it.

    And to anonymous (2), an 8 year old doesn't need a mobile phone at all. Nor do the majority of grown-ups, but most of us have become dependent on them. Littletree's father doesn't have one at all, for example. But if you read the post, you'd see that in this case, she didn't really want a mobile phone, and doesn't really use it as such: she wanted a portable MP3 player, and this phone just happened to be cheaper than the MP3 she wanted, and with better features. It's telephone capabilities are just a bonus.

  15. This is the awesomest story ever!

    And you can't be one of those moms... they buy the phone for their kids not make the kids buy it themselves. Good job with the responsibility training ;-)


Thanks for your lovely words, witty banter and entertaining discussion :)