Mum Furious After Daughter Has Phone Taken Away From Her During Sleepover!
A mum took to the internet recently to ask for advice after she was left furious that her daughter’s phone was taken away from her during a sleep over.
The 10 year old was asked to hand over her phone at bedtime and her mother says that’s unacceptable. She wanted the daughter to have the phone with her in case she became anxious and wanted to come home.
As a guest in someone’s house are you expected to follow their rules or should you be entitled to do what you want with your electronic devices?
It seems to be a pressing issue at the moment with another mum site tackling the same argument. One mother wrote into the chat forum of Essential Baby with this question:
Trying to figure out what to do here.
DD wants a sleepover party again this year for her birthday. There will probably be 6 girls staying over.
We are very strict compared to most of DDs friends’ parents and don’t allow any phones/devices upstairs/in bedrooms at night. DD isn’t allowed any social media apart from iMessage and we restrict the times she is allowed to use that as well.
How should I handle the sleepover? Her friends are likely to be texting pretty much all night and face-timing, plus they all have social media apps and will take photos etc and post them. They are also known to prank call in the middle of the night (other kids only I think). I don’t trust most of them based on past experience. DD told me her friend took photos of her in her undies the other day. I am worried about what could happen if they have phones overnight. I don’t want them posting inappropriate photos online.
I’d like to ask them all to leave their devices at home (they are unlikely to co-operate with this). I could also ask for all devices to be handed over for safe-keeping overnight.
Or I could refuse the sleep-over this time.
This really is a tough call. While I can understand the host of the party wanting to have some sort of ‘control’ over what the kids are doing on their devices overnight, I know that if my daughter was at her first sleepover for example I would want her to be able to contact me should she start feeling anxious of uncomfortable.
With so many horror sleep-over stories I know I would want my child to feel safe wherever they were – especially at someone else’s house.
Some of the responses to the mum’s phone dilemma included:
This is probably what I would go with if I was worried but my teen DD has had a lot of sleepovers, here and at friends houses and none of them have had a phone ban, we personally haven’t had any issues but they are all good kids.
For me, I like that my daughter can text me asap if she is uncomfortable in any way so I can go and get her, we have a code word.
ETA I think you need to make it very clear whatever you go with so the kids and the parents can decide what they are comfortable with.
One argument that came up however was that children will not always have access to their mobile devices and we shouldn’t expect that they should either. For example a lot of sporting events and school camps ban mobile phones and iPads in a bid to stop children disengaging from one other or having access to unsavoury information on the internet.
One mother had a great suggestion to the no-phone at sleep-overs dilemma by suggesting it’s requested clearly on the invitation beforehand.
I like this wording. It presents the issue in a “positive” way (“we’re having an unplugged party” rather than “we’re having a sleepover – no devices allowed!”)
A positive spin sends a clear message to both children and their families that that is the kind of party it is (anyone who can’t cope with that can of course choose not to attend)
I think if the invitation also includes clear ways children and families can contact each other if needed (ie your phone numbers) then it’s a bit hard for ppl to say your position is unreasonable.
I like PP’s idea of turning wifi off too.
ETA To me the term “unplugged” implies “we’re getting off the internet and social media, we’ll be doing other fun stuff instead”, where as “no phones” gives the impression that you are restricting access to a child’s flexibility to make calls etc. Subtle wording makes it feel a bit different (to me as a parent anyway, can’t help you too much with getting a tween in the right headspace to get on board)
What are your thoughts on the issue? Have you banned devices at your house during a sleepover and how do you feel about your child having their phone taken away from them?