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What is a 9-year-old doing receiving calls for sex?

A 9-year-old boy’s grandmother has called in to a radio program, furious that her grandson has received a mobile number from a telco that used to be the phone number for a brothel. But what is a 9-year-old doing with a mobile phone anyway? And if a mobile is really a must, then why is he allowed to take phone calls from unidentified phone numbers?

With the risk of this sounding like a “back in my day” whinge about kids today and how they’ve got no idea what life was like back in what my friends’ kids call “the olden days”, a story like this makes me wonder what a 9-year-old is doing with a mobile phone in the first place.

Back in my day (here we go), we didn’t have mobile phones, we were making up dance routines under the shade of what we called the boobie tree, because it had bumps growing all over it that looked like boobs. We were talking gibberish about boys who were sitting just metres away from us but couldn’t understand the indecipherable words rushing from our mouths.

The only form of technology we had were our pet Tamagotchis, which beeped when they were hungry, tired or needed a loo break. We, or rather, our parents, didn’t have to worry about the unsolicited calls from men looking for sex because we’d been accidentally assigned the phone number of a brothel. We didn’t have mobile phones in the first place.

“All these men kept calling and… I tell you what, I was livid,” Western Australian grandma, Margaret, told Perth radio station, 6PR, about the phone calls her grandson received when he was allocated a number that used to be a brothel’s.

“It was such a shock because he couldn’t understand it and I couldn’t understand it.”

I completely get the fact that parents and guardians want to know that their kids are okay and that they are contactable when they need to be — a mobile is a great way to make sure communication is kept when kids are out and about — but aren’t there rules about how children use their phones? Don’t answer the phone if it’s a number you don’t recognise would surely be up there on the list of rules.

Even if the child wasn’t given the brothel’s phone number, there are a whole host of other situations that could arise from a 9-year-old having a phone. Perhaps he’d become open to handing out the number to other kids at school, which could lead to bullying, or even sharing the number with people in online chat rooms and social media sites. Surely a 9-year-old is still of an age when his or her whereabouts is able to be accounted for. Why, then, is a mobile necessary at all? What do you think? Does a 9-year-old need a mobile phone?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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