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Kids in Italy: Bambini with Cell Phones

25 Oct

Yesterday I was walking down Via del Corso and I ran into a group of school kids on a field trip—probably about 7 or 8 years old. While distractedly following his classmates and teachers down this busy tourist street, the kid in front of me was furiously searching for something on his Motorola flip phone. You can see him here holding it in his right hand.

Maybe I’m just a big prude; maybe I’m totally behind the times. But this “kids with cell phones” thing has never gone over very well with me.

Alessandro has two cousins who are school-age, one who is now 11 and the other who is 13. Back when the 11-year old was only about 7, at Christmas, we were talking with Ale’s uncle about the fact that his cousin had already gone through two or three cell phones (not because they had broken, but just because newer models had come out). We said, “Kids that age don’t need cell phones.”

His uncle’s response? “Oh, there’s no harm done. They just use them for sending SMS text messages back and forth during class. Anyhow, think about it: you wouldn’t want your kid to be the only one in the class without one, now would you?”

Wow. I was opposed to this response on so many levels.

But perhaps I’m the only one. Actually maybe Ale and I are the only ones. He agrees with me that kids don’t need cell phones, at least not until they’re of the age where they’re going out on their own. But here in Italy I have seen so many kids with them. I don’t know if I’d say that a majority of Italian kids have their own cell phone, but I definitely think it is a big trend.

Back to Alessandro’s cousin, flash forward to earlier this year. We’re out to lunch at a restaurant and his cousin pulls out his umpteenth cell phone since age 7 (remember, he’s now 11, a ripe old age in terms of cell technology). He’s totally focused on the screen, which is definitely larger than your average, and much more high-tech looking than my cheap but super-efficient €47 Nokia. We start talking about a soccer game coming on TV later that afternoon, and his cousin starts laughing and says, “Look!”

He flips his cell phone around and proudly shows us how it’s not just a cell phone, but also a TV. “I can watch the game on my phone!”

Mamma mia.

I’m really curious to know if this is really the wave of the future… am I going to be the only parent whose kid doesn’t have a cell phone in 1st grade?

So back to the bambino on Via del Corso…when his school group sat down in front of Parliament to take a breather, our kid took a call on his mobile.

What could possibly be so urgent during a school field trip that a kid needs to take a call?

In this blog post (I’m assuming written by a teacher) from a blog about scholastic life here in Italy, regarding the use of cell phones in class, it says: “I ragazzi si alzano con la scusa di aver bisogno del bagno, in realtà lo fanno per rispondere alla chiamata della mamma.”

The kids get up with the excuse that they have to go to the bathroom, when they’re actually leaving the room so they can respond to a call from their mom.

Hmmm, maybe cell-kid’s mom was just calling to ask how he was enjoying Rome. The post goes on to say: “…i cellulari creano una infinità di problemi, i genitori lo sanno, ma sono i primi a difenderne l’uso.”

…cell phones create infinite problems, parents know this, but they’re the first to defend their use.

I’ve actually read this in several places—that whenever the proposal is brought up to ban cell phones from use in class, the parents tend to send up a protest.

Apparently there’s a directive from the Minister of Public Instruction Giuseppe Fioroni that bans cell phones in class, and gives teachers the right to take the cell phone from the student if used during lessons. To have the cell phone back, the parents theoretically would have to see the school principal. I have no idea how much this is actually enforced, but my gut feeling is that this probably doesn’t go over too well with parents here, and thus, I’d be curious to see just how many Italian teachers actually enforce it. I usually make a point to try not to generalize, but in my observation it seems that many parents here are a lot less disciplinarian in general with their kids than what I’m used to seeing back in the States. Actually, I could write an entire post about “Italian kids behaving badly in public”, but that will have to be for another time.

In any case, I’m thinking that most (if not all) people reading this post grew up just fine without ever having a cell phone. Is that now a thing of the past?

I’m curious to know what you think…is this just an Italian cultural phenomenon? In your opinion, is it appropriate for kids to have cell phones? If so, at what age should they get their first cell phone? If not, at what age would they be able to get one?

What about the model? Do you think it’s ok for them to have one of those special kid cell phones that only has buttons to call mom, dad, home, and emergency? Or is it ok to always have the latest model, changing whenever a cooler one comes out?

If you’re a parent, have you faced pressure from your kid to buy a cell phone? Or, have you done so and do you find it useful? Are they allowed to have cell phones at school?

And, last but not least, how do you think the Italian public would react if an elementary school teacher did something like THIS?

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35 Responses to “Kids in Italy: Bambini with Cell Phones”

  1. Enrico October 25, 2007 at 6:10 pm #

    One of my co-workers talks 2-3 times a day with her kid on the phone; working in an open-space room I can’t help hearing what she says… “come va? che fai? ci vediamo dopo…” I’m sure the kid will grow up to be like the guy in the video… totally screwed up.
    Enrico

  2. finnyknits October 25, 2007 at 6:18 pm #

    Cell phones are obviously the future and they’re not going away, but people are just rude with them – kids and adults alike. Ringers going off in meetings, in class (funny video) in school rooms – that’s ridiculous. I’d like to see it become like smoking; if you have to do it, go outside on your own time and do it.

    And at school? At 7 years old? Please. What 7 year old can hold a friggen phone conversation anyway? These are kids being coddled by smothering parents.

  3. André Wegner October 25, 2007 at 6:59 pm #

    In germany it is the same as in italy.

    What you have to understand is that a cell phone or the next future tool will be simple description of what is technical possible. It may contain a playstation (as those portable play tools in the 80ies, what was the name again), an mp3player, a tv, a telephone, WLAN internet acess etc..
    And of course it will be necessary for kids to develop competencies in this area.

    BTW:
    The video is a fake, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYwpxU_G4Z0

  4. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 25, 2007 at 7:21 pm #

    Enrico: Waste of money! And annoying for co-workers.

    Finny: I’m ok with adults and their cell phones, I’m used to people using them everywhere and it doesn’t get to me that much… usually people are fairly courteous about it. But I just can’t get over why young kids need them. But then again I think maybe this is an old-fashioned mentality… maybe I’m out of it…with so many kids that have them, I’m apparently in the minority as far as this thinking goes.

    André: I agree that kids should develop competencies with technology. But why does it need to be at the expense of classroom instruction? Also, a cell phone to me isn’t the same as developing proficiency with things like the Internet, email, etc. I can hardly see justifying giving a young child a TV-equipped cell phone by saying that it’s developing some technical proficiency that is urgent at that age, esp. when a TV is simple to use and found in pretty much every household (and most certainly a household that would give a child a phone like that). Plus, it’s not hard to learn how to use a cell phone, so when the child is of the appropriate age, they can learn how to use it quickly, it’s not like they have to practice with it from a young age to be ready for when they get older. I just still can’t think of any justifiable, legitimate need for a young child to have a phone other than to use it as a toy. There are other means for communicating when it comes to emergencies. If the child is alone at 7 years old and out of the range of a land line or an adult who can help, what exactly are they doing?

    I think it comes down to what Enrico mentioned, and I agree, in my opinion there’s no reason for a parent and child to be talking throughout the day and during lessons, just to say “How’s it going, What are you doing,” etc. Is that even healthy for the child, in terms of developing autonomy? Any emergency situation can be communicated through the school’s office.

    BTW, I love the video you found… I had no idea it was for an ad… as an advertising graduate I think it’s great. It’s still funny when you watch the first version though, trying to imagine that it wasn’t a fake. It kind of seemed fake though because the person filming it didn’t make any noise or react after the teacher threw the phone, which made it seem like they were expecting it.

  5. Janavi October 25, 2007 at 11:49 pm #

    There’s a big thing going on here in NYC, because the Mayor wants to ban cell phones in the schools.(he’s also the one who banned smoking in public,which is as far as I,m concerned the only good thing he has done)And most of the parents are objecting to the ban for security reasons, which I can understand,tho during the attack on the World Trade Center cell phones didn’t work-but they are also concerned about attacks in the schools. But basically I agree with you Shelley-hell I don’t even have one.(I have tried but have always had too many problems with them)I think the kids want them to be cool.

  6. rohanknitter October 26, 2007 at 3:04 am #

    Well, I’m with you. I can see the usefulness of kids having a cell phone with them in certain situations but I think it’s gotten all out of proportion. Our soon-to-be-driving 15 yr old just got a cell phone. Neither of the younger boys have them, and they won’t till they are driving too. I don’t know about first graders, but I know my nieces and nephews have all had a cell phone by age 10. The schools around here supposedly confiscate the phones if they are out during class time, but my sil is a teacher and she said her biggest problems arise from kids using their phones and ipods in class. I think a lot of it for the kids is a peer pressure/status thing. We homeschool so we escape a lot of that.
    I imagine there is a big “cool” factor to having a cell phone. We’ve also had kids in car accidents around here because they are texting each other on their phones WHILE THEY DRIVE. Scary!

  7. Dorina October 26, 2007 at 4:27 am #

    My oldest daughter who is 13 has a cell phone. But then she’s going all over the city already. I like being in touch with her. But my 7 year old and 11 year old don’t have them. I don’t want them talking on phones all day! Of course, we don’t have a TV either 🙂

  8. squiggy October 26, 2007 at 8:23 am #

    I’m with you on this one shelley. i find it totally unnecessary for a 7 year old to have a cell phone, and why on earth would parents think it’s okay to call a child during school hours?!? that’s just disturbing. i think cell phones come in handy for kids in middle school (meaning kids who start going out on their own), but using them IN class is a huge no-no. Cell phones should be shut off as soon as they enter school, actually maybe schools should try to get cell phone reception banned inside of the building, that way if some sneaky kid tried to use it, they wouldn’t have a chance. how’s that for technology??? They’re in school, they should be learning, not txting or yapping on phones- come on!

  9. Kataroma October 26, 2007 at 8:24 am #

    rohanknitter – actually that’s a pet peeve of mine when I used to live in the US – I don’t think that anyone under the age of, say, 18 has any business driving. I was amazed when my ex boyfriend (from a town in the Pacific Northwest) told me that he was given a car for his 16th birthday to drive to school as it was “too uncool to take the bus.” (!!) It always used to annoy me the way they banned alcohol for under 21s “to cut down on drunk driving” – but they had it the wrong way around – they should ban driving, not alcohol, for teenagers.

    Re cell phones – I imagine they would be useful in some situations. For example, I remember my babysitter often being late to pick me up from the afterschool program when I was a kid and if she’d been able to call me it would have calmed my anxiety a bit. And a few times I got lost on the bus when I was a kid and being able to call my parents would have been very handy!

  10. SWT October 26, 2007 at 8:31 am #

    My kids go to a Catholic school here in Rome where cell phones are banned and they mean it! (even Gormiti trading cards are taken away from the kids if they bring them to school!). There is NO need for children to have a phone before they are of an age when they go places entirely on their own and then only for emergency purposes–not SMSing friends in class or watching the latest game! Shelley, you talk about developing autonomy in kids but I’m afraid I don’t see much of that in this culture. No jobs, no making your bed in the morning, no dressing themselves and drying their own hair after swim lessons. People are shocked that my 8 yr. old has to set and clear the table for dinner every night and soon will have dish duty all to herself!

  11. Robert October 26, 2007 at 10:08 am #

    I would be opposed to kids having cell/mobile phones too, for the simple reason that it is simply another distraction for them.

    I do get the logic of the kid being contactable, and in turn being able to contact the parents but some rules should be laid down as to when and how the phone is used – and no, the most modern technologically advanced telephone is completely uneccessary.

    In Irish schools (and I gather in most South African schools) kids are not allowed to have their phones on in class, only during breaks.

    When I lived in London the daughter of a friend of mine was mugged by school kids (she was 16 herself) for her mobile phone. Just a few weeks ago the son of a colleague of my mom was stabbed in the face with a broken bottle for his phone (this was in South Africa). Again he was attached by kids of school going age.

    So from the potential crime/assault point of view I am also opposed to kids having cell/mobile phones.

    I loved the video by the way – would like to see more of that happening (especially in cinemas after the movie has started and idiots are still taking and making calls on their phones…

  12. Jeff October 26, 2007 at 10:13 am #

    Shelley,
    I have to agree with you on this one. The kids should be relating and communicating with the adults around them, not just with the parents. My kids age will be well into double digits before they have a cell phone. But, that’s a long way away for me. I’m not even engaged, yet. Kids will probably be required to carry a GPS locating cell phone by the time I have a kid!

  13. KC October 26, 2007 at 11:18 am #

    Shelley, I assure you will not be the only parent whose kid doesn’t have a cell phone in first grade. I think that they are too costly and they don’t encourage autonomy or maturity at all- as you noted most of the calls come from hovering parents. (I find it outrageous that parents would call children during school hours just to chat, or that they’d be fine with their kids sitting in class, playing with their phones!)

    I think the “how would you feel if your kid was the only one…” argument carries too much weight here. I’ve had discussions about discipline with my husband (and I’m not talking about anything strict- just stuff like chores to teach responsibility, etc.) and every so often, he says, but our kid will feel bad because she’s the only one. I don’t get this need by ADULTS to cave into peer pressure felt by their children.

    I loved the video! When I taught (university level) the ringing of cell phones drove me crazy! I used to take the phone from the student and answer it, telling the person calling that they had interrupted my lecture and that they had made me very angry with the student they had called. That usually only had to happen once or twice a semester before everyone figured out that they needed to turn their phones off (which was class policy anyway.)

  14. thomps October 26, 2007 at 11:29 am #

    Not just NYC but several school districts in the US are debating banning the cell phones from classrooms. There have been instances of cheating on tests using text messaging. I have no problem with the phones being locked up in school lockers. When kids are at school the school authorities are supposed to be taking care of them and are responsible for security. When the kids are going to and from school then they can have their phones and do whatever Mom and Dad find acceptable. Several states here in the US are also mulling over laws to levy fines and tickets on people driving while talking on a cell phone, whether its with the receiver held up to your face or using a headset. As to cell phone etiquette don’t get me started. I’ve heard far too many very personal conversations in the history and cooking sections at my local Barnes and Noble bookstore. Some of the stuff makes me blush!

  15. sonyaustraliana October 26, 2007 at 12:11 pm #

    It’s been interesting reading all the comments as it is a problem I must deal with daily as a teacher in an Australian classroom. Yes mobiles are an added distraction that the typical student doesn’t need during a lesson. I think that in order to manage things there needs to be a co-operative effort between parents, students, teachers and the powers that be. I have found that declaring a ban on things only adds momentum to the problem.

    Kids are so ‘plugged-in’ to their technology because they haven’t been offered any other worthwhile alternatives that challenge their immagination. Society has allowed the huge corporations to train a whole new generation of consumers that will guarantee future profits.

    I think we can only teach by example and show our children how to use their mobile appropriately.

    OK I’ll hop off my soapbox now.

  16. Elizabeth October 26, 2007 at 12:28 pm #

    My 18 and 19 year olds are already of another cell phone generation. Back then, kids got a cell phone and a bus pass as a rite of passage for their 13th birthday.
    We found that they needed enforced “de-tox” time (like family vacations) with no technology around. They would pick up their phones when they got back, but knowing that you actually can live without being on call 24/7 to your friends. My older son often changes his sim card to a number that only we have when he needs to chill out.

  17. Clodia October 26, 2007 at 1:33 pm #

    sonyaustraliana Says:
    “I think we can only teach by example and show our children how to use their mobile appropriately.”
    Exactly.! At least kids don’t vent their personal problems in front of everybody on the streets, buses, doctor’s offices, everywhere you name it, as the majority of grown ups do when they are on their cellular phones. Taking on the children is so ridiculous.
    I don’t understand why some people like to live in the past and worse, drag their children back to it…

  18. Gina October 26, 2007 at 1:43 pm #

    Shelley, you would be just as shocked here in New York City. I see pretty much the same scenario on our streets on a daily basis.

    Recently, the NYC Board of Education (or was it the City Council? I can’t remember) tried to place a ban on children bringing cell phones into schools, and parents FREAKED out. Why? 9/11, they say. They MUST be able to be in touch with their kids at all times in a post-9/11 world.

    I think it is more about indulgence…indulging kids who want the phones, and indulging adults who want either reassurance, or are to willing to give kids anything they want.

    (hey! – how’s that for my first comment ever?)

  19. cfb26 October 26, 2007 at 2:24 pm #

    Responsibility: that is the key word here I think. Children (12yr+) should be given cell phones by a parent/guardian who is willing to teach them to act responsibly with them.

  20. J.Doe October 26, 2007 at 2:39 pm #

    I agree with you giving cell phones to children as young as 7 or 8 is not a good idea, but I think tha by the time they are a little older, say 12 or 13 they should have them to keep in touch-just not be able to use them in school.
    While I was working in a school in the US several kids had sort of a cell phone where they could only call home, 911 and a few other numbers. I think this is more useful for all kids under age 18 though.

  21. nyc/caribbean ragazza October 26, 2007 at 3:03 pm #

    Shelley it’s just as crazy here in Los Angeles. I try to avoid all malls after 12:00 p.m. because the packs of tweener girls, with their $800 Marc Jacobs bags and yapping loudly on their cell phones are a pain. Of course the kids are just copying their parent’s behavior.

    Kids in elementary school do not NEED cell phones, unless they are a latch key kid…and I would hope at that age you wouldn’t be.

    Maybe a ban on using the phones during class would work. You can keep the phone in your locker. One of my co-worker’s kid has had a phone for a while, she is 13. She is constantly calling our office for dumb reasons. I didn’t have a cell phone growing up and I never called my parents at work unless it was an emergency. My parents would call us during their breaks to check in and that is it.

    I understand that kids have to be tech savvy but this constant need to be SMSing is distracting and annoying. There was a study saying American kids are spending so much time communicating by texting their verbal/grammar skills are getting worse. If I were a teacher I would ban phones from my classroom and wish some helicopter parent would step to me about it.

  22. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 26, 2007 at 3:14 pm #

    Thanks for all of your comments, I’ve enjoyed reading this discussion.

    Just one point I didn’t really understand, from Clodia: this post wasn’t intended to “take on the children.” I agree with both you and Sonya that obviously it’s the parents who are making these decisions and financing the purchase of the cell phones, and of course every family can manage this however they see fit. If a family decides it’s a necessity for their child, that’s their decision, but in my opinion it might not be the healthiest choice at such a young age.

    I don’t think that it is necessarily “living in the past” or “dragging your children into the past” by prohibiting an elementary school child from having a cell phone, to use simply as a toy, especially during class time or during school activities. I’m sure the teachers have a cell phone that parents can use for emergencies on a field trip, for example. In my opinion children should to be taught that they don’t need to rely on technology to get through every single minute of their day…I believe it can truly cause more stress than they need at that age. I still haven’t seen one legitimate reason why it’s an absolute necessity that one can’t live without at that age.

  23. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 26, 2007 at 3:17 pm #

    NYC: Good points. I was a latch-key kid starting at age 6, but I went directly from school, to school bus, to home, and once at home I had the land-line phone to call my parents if there was an emergency. So I never felt that I was out of reach of help if I needed it. I was the same as you, I just called my parents at the office if I had a problem or emergency, and they would call me and my brother to check in.

  24. Mrs.W October 26, 2007 at 9:11 pm #

    Okay–I’m not a mom, but I do have some kiddos in the family and friends circle, and do have an opinion on this one. In certain circumstances I think a kid with a cell phone is okay. Like when mom & dad are divorced and the kid is back & forth between houses. Or while on a field trip, or if there is a strange drop-off/pick-up situation where one parent/grandparent drops johnny off at school but another picks them up. However, this should be a phone that is NOT USED at school, and carried only for an emergency. After all… kids do get lost, and at least here in the US, payphones are pretty much non-existent now. That said, I agree that the kids need to learn how to focus on the teacher, learn to enjoy quiet time (hello, ADHD?) when they don’t have to be busy ALL THE TIME. So I’d say that one of those specialty phones would be ideal for a youngster–limited use, specific numbers, no games.

  25. Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita October 26, 2007 at 9:20 pm #

    Maybe he was making a very important business call..hahaha
    Kids only need phones if they are going to need to call their parents in an emergency, I think.
    That teacher in the video was a bit immature. Certainly there are other options. Why are kids allowed phones in school anyway?

  26. Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita October 26, 2007 at 9:23 pm #

    oh..it was a fake video. oops.

  27. lorraine@italianfoodies October 26, 2007 at 10:47 pm #

    My little bambina Alessia is only 1 and I dread to think what will be happening in 10 years time!! Here in Ireland all the kids have phones from as young as 5 or 6!! What amazes me is how much they know about them, a 7 year old put me to shame the other day, I hadn’t a clue what she was talking about when telling me about her new phone:)Just found your blog and love it!!

  28. Marie October 27, 2007 at 3:18 am #

    When I was in high school, pagers were the thing. And they were not allowed on school property, even turned off, because it was assumed they were related to drug trafficking. It’s amazing to me how far things have come. I think it’s good for kids to have phones for security purposes, but beyond that, I dunno…

  29. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy October 27, 2007 at 1:59 pm #

    I don’t think kids need cell phones in class – they can turn them on after and if their parents need to get a hold of them, they can do it “old-school” style and call the school and get patched through to the classroom.

    I am already horrified that my niece had one at 12…I don’t know what I would do for my kids. That “everyone has one” argument didn’t work for my parents with Guess jeans and things like that!

  30. zeva October 27, 2007 at 6:02 pm #

    “I could write an entire post about “Italian kids behaving badly in public”….”

    OOOOH, please do, Shelley! I’ve noticed that myself and wasn’t sure if it was just my impression or not. I’ll be eagerly awaiting that post! (=

  31. qualcosa di bello October 27, 2007 at 10:15 pm #

    hi shelley! this has been our family’s personal take on the issue: at 15 the child is able to have a cell phone on our plan (we share substantial minutes, as it is our only long distance & all our family is long distance) IF they have a part time job to cover overage (has happened!). if a child is dissatified with his phone we provide he may pay the difference to obtain the “cool” phone (only 1 of the 3 took this option & he takes the best care of his phone).

    For our younger son, we gave him a needs only phone (no minutes for incessant chatting) for use when he is out socially.

    now for that phone in the school issue…we homeschool & use of the phone for anything other than school business decided/monitored by me (long distance college calls or procuring info through an interview being only exceptions utilized), is strictly prohibited from 7 am til 3 pm…that way there is no rushing through work to use the phone.

    other families have considerations for safety that we have not had to address, but i will say that having a cell phone carte blanc “because everyone else has it” will not fly with me! children really need to learn to use their things wisely, most especially their time & their words.

  32. Kelli October 28, 2007 at 1:24 am #

    Wow! You touched a nerve here, eh? Look at all these responses.
    In a nutshell, when I have kids, I want to live like the Amish. I don’t want my kids to know about Britney or her vajajay, cell phones, my space or spend heir time on video games. I wnat them hike, know the zoo, be familiar with the museums, travel, cook, be artistic.
    A girl can dream.

  33. Shelley, At Home in Rome October 28, 2007 at 12:16 pm #

    Mrs. W: These are good observations for things I hadn’t considered. I hadn’t even thought about the fact that public telephones are becoming very scarce. There were a few times when I was a kid waiting for my mom to pick me up, and I used a payphone to call her… but sometimes even a payphone wasn’t an option since maybe she was on the road so had no access to a phone. So I definitely can appreciate the convenience of the cell phone in these circumstances.

    Lorraine: Benvenuta! I can’t believe kids in Ireland have cell phones at 5 or 6. I guess this is becoming a pretty common thing.

    Marie: I had forgotten about pagers! I think I might have known one person that had one in school… but it’s true that they were associated with drug dealing, I do remember that.

    Sara: Guess jeans! Blast from the past. My parents were the same way.

    Zeva: I might do… I’d have to be kind of careful so as not to tick off a bunch of people, but… we’ll see 😉

    Qualcosa di Bello: Sounds like you have really thought this out with your family, which is great. I think if kids have healthy boundaries they are more likely to respect having a cell phone as a privilege, not a necessity. Plus you’re working in teaching them responsibility and value of money at the same time with the part-time job. I think that’s great.

    Kel: Amish! Well, it’s a good intention, but when my parents lived in Delaware, Ale, my brother and I went out to “Amish country” and had to laugh about all the technological advances they were using and how the “Amish village” was like a little Disneyland for tourists. But I can’t remember if I saw them using a cell phone!! 😉 However there is still a portion of the community that uses horse and buggy, traditional clothes, etc. I’m against cell phones as toys for little kids, and I hate television and video games. Man, our kids are going to be big nerds. Ha ha! (For anyone who is worried about my kids “suffering” for this: luckily Ale will play video games and watch TV with them… they won’t be totally deprived…)

  34. Lauren October 30, 2007 at 5:36 pm #

    Funny that you mention this. I figured it was a strictly American phenomenon. Sad to see it’s all over the place. I personally think it’s the parents’ fault, not necessarily the kids. The kid probably didn’t go buy the phone himself. (Don’t get mad–I don’t have kids yet, but when I do, I’d definitely blame myself if I allowed my child to have a cell phone at 9 and he was talking on it all the time, even during the school day.)

    I do understand that cell phones can be a good thing for a child, especially for emergencies. But during the school day, and during a field trip–no excuse, in my opinion.

  35. grazielli February 27, 2008 at 11:49 pm #

    what do you meen us italian kids r badly behaved?? i am one and wen feeld trip coms we leeve fonse at scool! dont no y kid in foto had his but we leeve fons at scool or turn fonse off

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