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cover of Cell Phoney by Julia Cook

Cell Phoney by Julia Cook

Cell Phoney by Julia Cooke is a book for school aged children about using mobile/cell phones safely.  It teaches six rules that will help to keep children safe when using mobile/cell phones.

Cell Phoney was written by Julia Cook and illustrated by Anita DuFalla. Every family is different, but eventually, your child is probably going to end up with a phone of their own. Books like Cell Phoney, are a great way to pass the message onto kids about how to use their phones safely.

Please note that this article contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.

This book, tells the story of a little girl, Joanie, who has finally got her first phone. Her mother sits her down and explains that even though it is only a phone, that phones can hurt people and take over your life.

The 6 rules are:

  1. Don’t let it take over  your life
  2. Don’t talk or text whilst riding your bike, walking, moving around
  3. Don’t use your phone to hurt others
  4. Don’t text too much and forget how to talk to people
  5. Make sure your messages pass the ‘Grandma’ test before you press end (if she wouldn’t approve then delete it)
  6. Only send photos that are clean – if you wouldn’t display it on a billboard then you should delete it

Joanie signs her mothers contract of use, and  heads off to her room to play with her new phone. Slowly she begins to fall off the rails. She ignores her father at breakfast as she is too busy texting her friend Martha. She then walks into a tree on her way to school – she was too busy texting to watch where she was walking. She sees her friend Gerald picking his nose, takes a photo and sends it to all her friends. She doesn’t listen in class because she is too busy texting.

Over the course of a day, she lets her new phone take over her whole life. And eventually, she turns into a cell phone herself. Her mother sees her and calls her a ‘cell phoney’ (hence the name of  the book). She then wakes up and it was all a bad dream.

Cell Phoney is a fun casual story that is a great way to be able to start having a conversation with your child about how to use phones safely. It is probably best used with kids who are happy to read picture books. You could read it with your child, or just pass it to them, and say ‘Have a read of this and tell me what you think’.

What I love about picture books like this, is that it gives you the opportunity to start a conversation with your child. Plus the book gives you the words to use, so if it is a topic that you aren’t too sure about, then the book does the work for you. And you don’t need to remember all the facts.

Also, don’t forget that kids learn more by watching what you do, than by what you say. So there is no point telling them how to behave responsibly on their phone, if you aren’t as well. It is up to you, the parent, to role model the responsible behaviour that you expect.  And it is probably easier to start this when they are still too young to have their own phone. Which means that by the time they are old enough to have their own phone, they will already know about responsible usage.

Video review

You can also watch a video review of Cell Phoney below.


In summary

Cell Phoney  by Julia Cook, is a good little book for younger kids who are still okay about books with pictures. It provides an entertaining story about what happens to a girl who becomes ‘taken  over’  by her phone, and discusses 6 rules that are designed to help kids to use their phones safely.

Buy a copy

You can buy a copy of Cell Phoney by Julia Cook  from Amazon or  Book Depository or Booktopia.

Other sex education books

There are a lot more sex education books out there, that talk about a range of other topics.

You can find them listed in this new FREE parent resource: Sex Education Books for Children: a Parent Guide.

Make sure you go and check it out. It includes a lot of sex education books that will make talking about sex (and puberty), a whole lot easier!

And before you choose a sex education book, like Cell Phoneyby Julia Cook, you want to make sure that it is the right book for you and your teen! There are a lot of books out there and what is right for me may not necessarily be the right book for you!

About the Author Cath Hakanson

I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and to empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. You can join my online parent support group here and visit my shop for helpful resources.

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