This is how children get in shape with phones and mobile phones

“Bye Bye?” The very little ones are still chatting and holding the building block to their ear, while the older ones are holding the ringing, flashing mobile phone. And most of all, of course, a real phone. From a very early age, children are fascinated by the fact that you can speak into a box and hear another person. And they observe in the adults: Such a mobile phone must be something incredibly important – the adults almost never put it down.

Therefore, even small children often show a little shyness when it comes to using the phone. But despite the fact that all this goes without saying, it is advisable to practice a few rules of order, especially with a view to more and more children having their own smartphone already in primary school.

“Children should be introduced to ringing step by step,” advises media educator Iren Schulz from “See! What your child does with Media”. The first step could be: The child is allowed to call the parents when the doorbell rings. The next skill: to call yourself, for example the saved number of the grandparents. Preschool age is usually a good time to allow children to pick up the handset themselves or press the handset icon when receiving a call.

Report on the phone with or without a name? experts disagree

Do they then have to report by name? “I’m unsure myself,” Schulz admits. For Joachim Auer, who as a business coach, among other things, practices making phone calls with young interns, the answer is clear: “Later in professional life, it is normal to use your full name.” So it could be taught to children.

The media educator emphasizes that the more the children are allowed to use the phone and the like, the more important it is to have clear rules. That mother’s work mobile is taboo for them, or that they only answer if the name of the caller can be recognised. And hang up when a stranger is on the line. “The decisive question is always what the children reveal,” says Iren Schulz: “So it must be made very clear that no images may be sent to strangers.”

Raising awareness of this is all the more important because images and videos have been used much more naturally in daily communication since the corona pandemic: Grandma was spoken to via Zoom, and there was a photo of the newborn cousin every day in Whatsapp family group.

The range of dangers is hardly predictable

Even small children are very skilled at handling the devices. “It is easy to lose track of the fact that they do not yet have an overview of the possibilities and dangers,” the media educator points out and recommends a very clear comparison for the child-friendly clarification: “We don’t just donate to any stranger, not even the apartment door.”

Banning everything to protect the children is not a solution, the media educator believes: “The older the children are, the more you can do without technical restrictions. The children are increasingly able to avoid them anyway.”

Deficit: Establishing a relationship over the phone

Instead of calling, many young people prefer to communicate via messenger services such as Whatsapp – and then go to the trouble when they have to talk on the phone again in training or at work, notes business coach Joachim Auer. He has the impression that many young people find it difficult to “build a relationship on the phone”.

In a professional context, however, it is often precisely this that is decisive: “Only those who win over their interlocutor remain positive in their memory. And therefore you may be able to get the desired order, a lower price or be able to conduct a complaint discussion profitably.» Auer therefore also practices the art of small talk on his courses: “Many young people can no longer master it.”

Practice small talk over dinner

This can easily be practiced at home with the family – using the same method as the media educator recommends: “It is crucial to always keep in touch,” says Auer: “Parents and children can, for example, tell what they are doing at the dinner table in the evening experienced the beautiful and positive things during the day.»

And without constantly looking at your mobile phone. The correct use of mobile phones and telephones also includes the possibility of leaving them where they are when it is not appropriate – in the metro, in restaurants and above all in personal conversations. However, this will only work if the parents also stick to it.

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