‘On The Couch’ With Jasminda


Dear Jasminda,

My son is 14 and wants a Smartphone. Apparently all his mates have one. I just don’t feel it is necessary at that age. What do you think?

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Mrs PK, Lemon Tree Passage

Dear Mrs PK,

Kids love a bit of independence don’t they. They like to have all the gadgets so they can Snapchat and TikTok and whatever else they have to do. I can assure you it is not so they can keep in contact with you, and it definitely isn’t so you can reach them. I’m thinking back to when I was 14 and we had two absolutely brilliant options. The first was the phone plugged into the wall with a cord that only stretched about a metre. I’m pretty sure it was designed by helicopter parents so they could eavesdrop whenever you called your friends. Our phone was in the kitchen (yep, just one phone for the entire family) so when my parents wanted the conversation to end, they just started unpacking the dish rack (note, no dishwasher) until I gave up and went and wrote a letter to them instead.

‘What on earth happened when you went out?’ my kids often ask me. Well then you had the pleasure of a pay phone (there are still some of these relics standing). If you wanted to be picked up or chat to a friend you had to stand in the phone booth and if someone else wanted to use the phone, you had to speak quickly. These phone booths were often vandalised and you couldn’t put your coin in the slot because it was full of chewing gum. Now I’m not saying there were no advantages to this system; the main one was our parents could never reach us. Until we got home, there was absolutely no way of knowing where we were or if we were okay. This system also didn’t have that annoying little tracker app that parents have now, so you could feasibly say you were in Salamander Bay, when you were actually in Darby Street, Newcastle and they’d be none the wiser. That was until they said they’d be there in 10 minutes to pick you up and you had to do some quick thinking, which is why our generation is so quick thinking and devious.

Carpe diem, Jasminda.

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