Raquel Morcantelli and her daughter Paige, checking out their phones.
Raquel Morcantelli and her daughter Paige, checking out their phones. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Safety in (phone) numbers

A NEW study shows safety is the number one reason parents buy their children a mobile phone.

An independent survey of 1250 Australians commissioned by Optus found 64% of surveyed parents listed safety travelling to and from school as their main reason.

Lismore mother of two Racquel Morcantelli agreed, saying gave her peace of mind, particularly when her children go to and from school and when they are staying with their father, and vice versa.

"Paige is turning 18 soon but I think I got her one when she was 12 - we got the package so she could ring us whenever she needed to, but she never did," she said, laughing.

"It was a bigger decision back then but as we share parent, it was also for family contact. If she needed her Mum's ear for anything, or her Dad's."

Paige spent $50 buying her first phone from a friend who had successfully convinced her mother she too needed one.

"I was so excited, but it was one of those 'bricks'. I mainly played games on it," she said.

"My boyfriend has a smart phone, but I think they are stupid.

"What if you lose it on a contract? You have to pay heaps. I've just got an old one for texts and calls when I need it, but it does run out of credit.

"My 14-year-old brother loves them though. He's got an Android, but he still thinks it's not good enough."

Following an explosion in mobile phone ownership from 2000, at the last Census count in 2006, 82% of 14-17-year-olds owned mobile phones, while more recent studies put that figure closer to 90%.

The largest take-up was with 18-24-year-olds who registered 94%, while 25-39-year-olds clocked up 91% and those over 55 rated 66%.



  • Let your child know they can call or text you at any time.
  • Familiarise your child with the speed dial function on the phone.
  • Store the numbers they can call in emergencies.
  • Program your own number into the phone and save it under the name ICE (in case of emergency).


What is the right age for a child to get a mobile phone? Leave a comment below.

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