Conversation with Aamir
Yesterday (21/02/2012), I
had a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet Aamir Khan at his
residence. I was invited to talk about the work I do to prevent child
sex abuse. Aamir Khan came to know about my video on youtube (
and developed interest in that work.
I was seriously impressed
by his “normal” home, a study cluttered with lots of DVDs, books
and papers and of course two majestic cats. The Bentley standing in
his garage looked completely out of place with the normality in his
While we were chatting
about issues related to children and modern age, discussion turned to
cellphones. Some of the members of Aamir Khan Productions have
teenage kids and Aamir has three kids. Everybody was talking about
how cellphones are taking over their relationship with kids.
Everybody complained that all discussions with kids turn into
negotiations around what next phone to buy, what bill amount is okay,
should the phone be switched off at all, should internet access be
allowed on the phone, etc.
I am of the opinion ( I
am in a serious minority here, I know) that kids should not be given
phones at all till they finish 12th STD ( ideally, till
they earn to buy their phone and pay bills). All children use phone
to keep in touch with their friends, listen to music, swap video
files and surf internet. All this can be achieved by using home
I was surprised to find
Aamir Khan on the same side of fence as me ! He said that his son
Junaid, was given a mobile phone only after he turned 18 ! with the
same token, daughter will be given one when she is 18 ! as older
brother did not receive a phone before 18 she has no room to complain
and argue !
I am seriously impressed
with Mr. Aamir Khan’s fatherly instincts !
Many of us will argue
that our kids need phone for emergencies and to contact us. Aamir’s
kids probably drove around in chauffeur driven cars and may be had
bodyguards ! And the accompanying staff must have phones with them.
That is possibly true.
Now just think about last
6 months – how many times did your kid use a cellphone in a real
emergency? ( “mom, I forgot my geography book, please bring it to
school.” is not emergency, it is one lazy kid that can not be
bothered to be organised and one anxious mom who will run to help at
the drop of a hat !)
All kids have set
timetables, transport and some amount of money in their pocket. Why
do they need phones? In case they need help on the streets, they must
have enough social skills to get that help from passers by. To expect
daddy and mummy to run for every tiny little thing is going to make
them seriously socially inept.
Lot of parents use kids’
cellphones as a mobile tracking device. ” where are you?” and ”
what are you doing?” are the commonest opening questions in phone
conversations. Kids usually tell a lie in answer to these question
and you get a false sense of security. Some kids routinely switch off
phones, sending their hapless parents into panic.
Not having a phone means
your kids learn to plan their day and meetings, they learn to
communicate with people in advance, they even sleep much better at
night because their is no phone to receive text messages from
insomniac friends in the middle of the night.
Children who sleep
better, are taller, healthier and can concentrate better.
If you still think that
their are emergencies that your kids can not face with out a
cellphone, get help from a good counsellor
about your anxiety !
I rest my case !