Book Review: A book that talks to kids about how to use cell or mobile phones in an appropriate way.
A short overview of this book
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.
An overview of the book
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:
- Don’t let it take over your life
- Don’t talk or text whilst riding your bike, walking, moving around
- Don’t use your phone to hurt others
- Don’t text too much and forget how to talk to people
- Make sure your messages pass the ‘Grandma’ test before you press end (if she wouldn’t approve then delete it)
- 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.
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.
What’s the ideal age for this book?
Cell Phoney by Julia Cook is ideal for children between the ages of 8 – 10 years of age.
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You can find more books like this in my extensive list of Sex Education Books for Children.
Have a look through the book