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Views #464 | Low Intermediate 4

Children with Phones

A debate about children having mobile phones.
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Ruth: So Akane, what do you think about children today having mobile phones?

Akane: Mobile phones? Well, I mean, I think they could be a good thing, I mean for safety reasons.

Ruth: Really?

Akane: Yes if I was a parent I think I would feel safer knowing that my child had a mobile phone and I could get in touch with them whenever I need to and if something happens like an emergency then they will be able to use the mobile phone.

Ruth: You see I would argue that they’re quite dangerous actually, because children don’t really have the best attention spans anyway and often they could, for example, walk into the road whilst they were talking on their mobile phone and generally not pay attention so I don’t think they’re very safe.

Akane: Well that’s a good point but that could also teach them responsibility as well. If mobile phones are unsafe, I mean bicycles could be unsafe and toys could be unsafe, but that’s all part of growing up and I think that if you teach them responsibility, it shouldn’t be a big problem.

Ruth: But I think fewer children these days play on bikes than they used to; I think children are more dependent upon technology and I see that as, as a definite negative thing because children don’t play out as they used to before. They just stay in and watch TV and play on computer games.

Akane: True, true. I suppose so, but you know technology is a necessity in our lives and in the future if we want them to become competent in using technology and taking advantage of technology then I think it would be a good way to start.

Ruth: Don’t you think they are really expensive though? I mean, don’t…

Akane: Oh yeah, they are.

Ruth: If I was a parent though I would not want my child to be phoning people left, right and centre because it would cost so much money.

Akane: Well you could be right about that. They do cost a lot of money.

Ruth: Oh, I’m glad you agree. Well, yeah, like at least we agree about something now.

Akane: For sure.

Learn vocabulary from the lesson!

get in touch

I would feel safer if my child had a mobile phone and I could get in touch with them whenever I need to.

When you 'get in touch' with someone, you communicate with him by phone or email.  Notice the following:

  1. We have been trying to get in touch with him all day and he's not answering his phone.
  2. I will get in touch with you next week, and we'll make a plan.


If something happens like an emergency, then they will be able to use the mobile phone.

An 'emergency' is a sudden or urgent situation that you weren't expecting. Many times an emergency is when someone is injured and needs immediate attention. Notice the following:

  1. It was a bit of an emergency at work when the cash register stopped working.
  2. I have kind of an emergency situation at home, and I need to leave work early.

attention span

It can also be quite dangerous, since children don't really have the best attention spans.

Your 'attention span' is how long you can focus your attention on something. Notice the following:

  1. Many movies for children are very short, because kids don't have a long attention span.
  2. I am kind of distracted today, so my attention span is minimal.


If you teach them responsibility, it shouldn't be a big problem.

If a child learns 'responsibility,' he learns what he has an obligation to do and he does it without someone telling him to do it.  Notice the following:

  1. She does everything for her kids, and they are not learning responsibility.
  2. You learn a lot of responsibility when you start living on your own.

competent or take advantage of

It's important if we want kids to become competent and take advantage of technology.

A 'competent' person has sufficient skill or knowledge to complete a specific objective or task.  If you 'take advantage of' a person or a situation, you are using it for your own personal benefit.  We usually consider taking advantage of a person to be a bad thing to do. Notice the following:

  1. I don't know if I'm competent enough on the computer to figure that out.
  2. His friends are always taking advantage of him.

Vocabulary Quiz

touch • emergency • attention
responsibility • competent • advantage
  1. Sometimes he acts a bit dumb, but he is actually extremely .
  2. You can take your time.  This isn't an or anything.
  3. His parents taught him with money when he was very young.
  4. His span is normal for a child of his age.
  5. You should take of the situation and work the extra hours.
  6. It's kind of hard to get in with him sometimes, because he doesn't have a cell phone.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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