Posted on January 19, 2017

The terrible thing about growing up with mobile phones

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growing up with mobile phones bullied

Whenever I see my niece and nephew – only 18 months old and all cute and cute babbly – they’re usually trying to grab the nearest mobile phone in reach. They know to touch the home button on an iPhone and take a photo.

When I was younger, mobile phones weren’t really a thing until I was about 12. People just didn’t have them. Then pay as you go phones started to come out and a couple of girls at school had them. We were amazed at the 9 different ring tones the massive Motorola had and would all crowd around black and green display wishing we had one, too.

growing up with mobile phones bullied

I was finally allowed to buy one when I was 13. It was Christmas and I begged and begged my Mum for a phone. She didn’t get me one for Christmas, but let me buy one with my Christmas money from Sainsbury’s. You had to still play line-rental on pay as you go back then. So for £15, you would get a month of line rental and about £7 credit to call and text. Texts were about 33p a go back then!

After I got home, I texted my brothers. The usually ‘guess who’ type texts. Loving the fact they didn’t know it was me on the other side.

I used my phone for mostly showing off. Like every other 13-year old in our year. We couldn’t afford to text at 33p a message and call at 50p a minute. We would all live our ‘delivered’ messages on, which send you a message to say a message had been delivered a few minutes later, in an attempt to look more popular than we actually were.

growing up with mobile phones bullied

One day I was at home doing homework and I got a text message. It said something like ‘Is this Corinne?’ (although they probably spelt my name wrong, fucking idiots). I replied ‘Yarp, who dis plz?’. They replied ‘Im gna knck u out silly slag’. Or something along those lines.

I spent the next couple of weeks going to school shitting myself. Worrying that someone was going to start a fight with me. You see, I was the opposite of hard at school. If someone would have come up to me and punched me I probably would have curled up into a ball and cried. Hell, I probably would do that now. I’ve never punched anyone, really. Apart from accidently elbowing my boyfriend in the face while trying to get comfy on the sofa. That’s about as close as I’ve come to knocking someone out.

Nothing happened. Of course. it was probably a bunch of girls who had a new phone and wanted to terrorise some weak people in their year group, like me. One of them likely had my number so though it would be ‘a rite laff’.

That was 17 years ago in 1999. Internet was only just starting to be installed in people’s homes and the best thing you could do one a mobile phone is play snake. No Facebook, no Twitter, no iPads.

You hear so many stories about school kids being bullied by their peers online. Stories on the BBC news about teenagers killing themselves as they’ve been bullied on Facebook. Had naked photos of them messaged around their year group, had the piss taken out of them in one of those ‘viral photo meme’ type posts. Stuff gets around. School people can get to you even when you’re not around. All our presence can be everywhere.

I love the Internet, I love my phone but if I had a child, I would be worried about their mental well-being. It’s all good trusting your child to use the Internet properly, to not go in chat rooms and give personal details to strangers, but nothing you can do will protect them from someone in their school sending them abuse and making them fear for their safety while walking home on an evening.

A lot of you are younger than me and have probably grown up around Facebook and mobile phones.

Have any of you ever experienced abuse from your peers?

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15 Comments

  • Reply Jessica January 19, 2017 at 8:23 am

    I got my first phone at 14, and sometimes I still think it was too early. I’m thankful for the childhood I had, away from it all. Internet was just starting like you said and it was great. Nowadays, when I see the influence of Facebook and mobile phones on young kids, I’m worried… x

    Jessica — NinetyCo 
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  • Reply Rachael January 19, 2017 at 10:01 am

    I’m always surprised how young kids know how to work phones, I didn’t get a phone till I was 14 and probably still didn’t really know how to use it!

    Rachael xx.
    theteacozykitchen.blogspot.co.uk
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  • Reply KizzyDoll January 19, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Phones are great these days. But, the fact that no one can go anywhere with out theirs is a bit scary. People younger than me who haven’t lived in a world without them literally sometimes don’t know how to function without one. On them all the time. Not everyone is like that thankfully, but I’ve seen many who are and it doesn’t make sense to me. I’m glad that I lived before them, it’s a great thing to have, but it doesn’t complete my life x
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  • Reply Candice January 19, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Ahhh it’s amazing how phones has taken over our lives – I can’t survive a few hours without mine before I get all jittery!! it’s really bad

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

  • Reply Anca January 19, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    I’m so lucky. I had my first phone at 17 and that because my mother mixed up the boys I was dating and got upset with her. Luckily in those days phones didn’t have cameras and facebook wasn’t even an idea. :)) Should I say my phone was big as a brick? :))
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  • Reply Mary January 19, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    This is something I worry about with my children. I was one of the first kids in my year group at school to have a phone which I paid for out of my own money and sneakily bought one time I went shopping in the city without my parents. Kids nowadays will never know the pain of having to condense a message into so few characters! Haha! I work as a teacher now and every single day at school someone in my form group (year 8) has had an issue that seemed from their mobile. They’ve all had their phones since primary school! Crazy!
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  • Reply Erin January 19, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    this honestly gives me the fear, my mum works in a high school and sees it all the time! It can do SO much damage, ruining self confidence, nothing is secret online! 🙁

    Back in my day (2005 when I was 15) I had 3 phones.. yes 3! I had a Nokia which was my contract, It had 300 mins and 500 texts, I would use the texts up within about 8 days… (obsessed much) I then had a Samsung pink flip phone and my older Nokia phone both with o2 Genie Sim Card (HAHA OLD SCHOOL) which I would then top up £10 on each to get my Free 300 texts on each to use up. Texts were 10p when they ran out. So over the course of a month I would use about 5 mins in calls and 1,300 texts. Having multiple phones would also help if one got confiscated at School. I cannot believe I am admitting to this, I feel so old lol.

    Erin || MakeErinOver
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  • Reply Akaleistar January 20, 2017 at 2:28 am

    When I was a teacher, I was amazed how many pre-teens had phones. They don’t need them!
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  • Reply Aimee Cottle January 20, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I was speaking about this with my partner the other day. I worry a lot about our kids growing up with Facebook and the internet. There’s so many ways now for bullies to get to you. But there’s not much you can do. I think I will restrict the time and sites my kids are allowed on to the best of my abilities (you can’t always control them, unfortunately) and explain to them about cyber bullying. And just try to foster a relationship where they can come to me if they experience it. And god help anyone who bullies my children! Haha. I had a nasty experience when I was 16 and had my first phone. I was on it all the time to my then bf, but one day he turned nasty and he would ring me shouting abuse down the phone, leaving me VM messages telling me to kill myself, and getting his friends to do the same when I started ignoring his number. It was a horrific few weeks, and I eventually told my mum who cancelled the contract and got me a new phone and a new no. Even now, 10 years on, I get scared if a number I don’t know calls me!
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  • Reply ramblingmads January 20, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    I got my first phone at 16. Nokia brick, snake champion etc.

    A ‘friend’ gave my number to some random who sent me weird texts for a bit at 17. I told him where to put himself, but that was about it.

    The kids I worked with a few years ago all had phones (they were primary school kids) and there was a lot more bullying.

    There doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of education around keeping yourself safe – they give their numbers to everyone.

  • Reply Nikki O. January 21, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    I totally relate to what you are saying. I was bullied from middle school to my freshmen year of high school and some of the rumors were spread through social media it sucked.
    I remember getting my first phone ( Nokia) in highschool and i was so excited, but with that phone came misunderstandings in communication. Phones/ social media can be great, but when it comes to communicating and getting accurate info across about a situation it can lead to problems if not careful.

    Nikki O.
    herdaringthoughts.blogspot.com

  • Reply Kaitlynn Marie January 22, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    I got my first phone, a hand me down from my mom, at 13 for Christmas and we didn’t add more time to it that I know of. I had one girl threaten me via text but I was the “city girl” and everyone was automatically afraid I would beat them up for some reason. I mean, I was kind of an asshole and I did slap a girl for calling me a cunt but I rarely did anything to deserve being feared. My niece has a phone (my old iPhone) with no minutes, she can just use wifi, and she does the smartest thing a kid can do. If someone starts harassing or bullying her, she blocks them.
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  • Reply Lucy January 23, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    I had to wait years to have a mobile and when I got one it was so archaic that you could only just about call on it. Times have definitely changed. Technology has wonderful possibilities for young people but education about appropriate usage and keeping safe has to start young Lucy x
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  • Reply Kezzie January 23, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    I worry about this too! And with good reason. We had to do a 5 hour online NSPCC course to do with mobile and e-safety and it was all full of horrible incidents that have happened to children and all sorts of stats.I felt thoroughly miserable after it although I know how to educate kids of 5-11 on it!!
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  • Reply Rebecca February 5, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    I am so glad I grew up way before mobile phones. They came in to play when I was in the last year of High School and so we didn’t have to worry about people taking horrid pictures and snapchatting it to the whole year as they didn’t even have cameras on them then. Also glad I grew up before Facebook, myspace etc
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