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mobile phoneMobile Phone is a lesson that provides you with the opportunity to consider at what age a child should have a mobile phone. This lesson is centred around the theme Science and Technology from the IGCSE ESL curriculum which explores the way we use technology and science in the digital world. In this lesson, we will practice our listening and reading skills by learning how to choose the right mobile phone for your needs.

Exercise 1Exercise 2Exercise 3Word ListExtension
Watch a video about buying a mobile phone. What are the four things you need to look out for?

Click here to view transcript and answers

1. Operating system
2. Features
3. Durability
4. Camera


Choosing a mobile phone can get complicated so let’s take a look at simplifying that for you firstly
consider the operating system Apple or Android. Some people feel very strongly about iPhones while others are more interested in which phone has the best features. It’s really a personal preference so you need to decide whether you want an Apple iOS or a phone that has a Google Android operating system or Windows operating system.

OK next stop special features. It’s important to remember that the most important features are the ones that matter most to you based on what you’ll use your phone for. Different phones for different folks think about each of the following factors; screen size, do you want a bigger screen to see your photos or watch your videos on? Then consider battery life; are you a very heavy user? If so, you may need a portable power bank so you can recharge on the go. Also, think about a memory card slot to be able to add extra phone memory.  GPS capabilities and a stylus pen if you want to write draw or mark up work on your phone. All of these are available to make your life easier but you may not need them all, so just go with the ones you’ll use.

Now, durability of some phones have more delicate designs than others some are water-resistant and shock-resistant and can handle a lot more than the average mobile. Think about how robust different phones are and how careful you are with yours protecting. Your phone with a case or screen protector can save you a lot of heartaches whether you have are a bit clumsy or think you have a steady hand. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Finally, the camera on your phone the higher the number of megapixels the better the picture quality some cameras now have image stabilization that gives your photos and almost digital camera quality and some record Full HD quality videos. Consider the quality of photo you’re expecting from your phone and if you want a front and rear camera for video calls. And of course, selfies these are many factors to consider when choosing your mobile phone make sure the operating system, features, durability, and camera all suit your lifestyle if you need a bit more info about mobile phones and which one is best for you to read the full buying guide here.

Listen to a news report about what age children should have a mobile phone.

1. Sydney got a mobile phone to play games on.

2. Sydney dad's gave her his old phones as he was upgrading his.

3. Mercy's mother wanted to buy her daughter a mobile phone at an early age.

4. Brooke believes that young people can't deal with social media.

5. According to Richard Freed research, there has been an increase in the number of children coming to him with anxiety and depression.

6. Common Sense Media suggest that children can have a mobile phone at a certain age.


Click here to view transcript

It’s the time of year when kids are thinking about their holiday wish lists. So what’s a parent to do when a child, possibly a very young child, asks for a smartphone?

We hear that smartphones can be addictive, that screen time can hurt learning, but can’t these minicomputers also teach kids about responsibility and put educational apps at their tiny fingertips?

To learn more, let’s look at two families: one where smartphones are allowed for elementary to middle school-aged kids, and one where they are not.

Sydney Crowe is in sixth grade and has a smartphone. While she admits she mostly uses it for “playing games and watching television,” her mom, Patty, says that’s not why Sydney got the phone.

Patty’s main concern was safety. When Syndey was in fourth grade, the bus missed her stop enough times to really worry her parents. Without means to call an adult, she would walk to school near a busy highway.
That’s when Patty gave her daughter a flip phone. But Sydney never charged it — she forgot about it. To her, a flip phone wasn’t fun. “She wasn’t using the junky phone,” says Patty. So when her husband wanted to upgrade his iPhone, they decided to give the old one to Sydney as a hand-me-down.

Patty says she rolled her eyes at the idea of her child having a smartphone, but ultimately decided to allow it for one main reason: peace of mind.

On the other side of the debate, there’s Mercy Shannon. She’s 9 years old and doesn’t have a cellphone. She likes playing house, playing outside and singing on her karaoke machine.

Mercy’s mom, Brooke Shannon, like many other parents of elementary school kids, faced the cellphone decision early on. “They started asking for a phone in first grade,” she says about her kids.

Brooke felt pressure from her children, yes, but also from other parents. So she started an online pledge that she calls “Wait Until 8th” to create a community of parents within each school waiting to give their kids smartphones until at least eighth grade — when most children are out of elementary and nearing high school. So far, more than 4,000 families across the country have signed the online pledge.

In addition to wanting her kids to have a break from screens, Brooke worries about the effects, specifically, of social media.
“Children just don’t have the brain development at this age to be able to navigate the tricky social situations that come with social media,” she says.

That isn’t just a parent concern. Richard Freed, a California-based child psychologist and author of a book on the subject, wanted to research the topic after seeing an increase in the number of children coming to him with anxiety and depression.

His suggestion? Put some ground rules in place. “I want parents to understand how remarkably powerful and seductive these technologies are,” he says.

Many agree that there’s no magic age to give a kid a smartphone. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on kids and technology, says rather than considering the age of a child, focus on maturity. Some questions to consider are:

Are they responsible with their belongings?
Will they follow rules around phone use?
Would having easy access to friends benefit them for social reasons?
And do kids need to be in touch for safety reasons? If so, will an old-fashioned flip phone (like the one Sydney never charged) do the trick?

Deciding At What Age To Give A Kid A Smartphone by Claire McInerny

Read the review of a mobile phone.

Here are the words and phrases covered in this lesson about mobile phones:

  • brain development
  • camera
  • cellphone
  • delicate designs
  • digital camera quality
  • durability
  • educational apps
  • megapixels
  • memory card slot
  • mobile phones
  • online pledge
  • operating system
  • portable power bank
  • quality videos
  • screen protector
  • smartphone
  • special features

1 You see this announcement in an English-language magazine.

Reviews wanted:
New Smartphone

Have you recently bought a smartphone? Write a review about the phone explaining why you bought it, how easy it is to use and if you would recommend it to others.

Write between 150 and 200 words.

Task-specific success criteria:

  • Introduce your smartphone – start with the facts: basic cost, availability, network courage, plans etc.
  • Body – breakdown your review into categories giving your opinion such as calling, messaging, camera, navigation, security, web browsing etc.
  • Include the phone’s drawbacks along with its better features – a lot more trustworthy if the review is balanced.
  • Reach a conclusion by giving your overall impression of the smartphone and your experience of using it, along with encouragement to try it out. It is helpful to say who it would be suitable for such as a business person or teenagers, etc.

2. The use of mobile phones is as antisocial as smoking. Smoking is banned in certain places and so mobile phones should also be banned. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

  • An opinion essay requires you to state your opinion (usually ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’) on a given topic.
  • You need to provide reasons and supporting details to convince the reader of your answer.
  • There are two common approaches to write an opinion essay: one-sided and balanced.
We add activities and exercises regularly on various themes, so why not bookmark our site, so you can come back to practice anywhere or at any time of the day.

Explore the way we use technology and science in the modern world

Here you will find exercises to practice for the reading and writing section of IGCSE ESL examination for either the core or extended papers.

Exercise 1 (Questions 1 -4) - Short answer exercises

Exercise 2 - (Question 5) Gap-filled exercises

Exercise 3 - Matching

Exercise 4 - Multiple Choice

The more words you encounter and understand, the broader your day-to-day vocabulary will become. So, our IGCSE ESL Word searches are an excellent way to help to reinforce spellings. Word puzzles require not just a good vocabulary and a knack for spelling, but the ability to think logically and strategically. In the case of puzzles like our IGCSE Crosswords, it’s crucial to spell linked words correctly to be able to complete the task.
Learning English requires not just a good vocabulary, but a strong foundation of all skills to communicate well. Here we provide activities for the IGCSE ESL for all the skills required to be successful in this examination.
Levels Links:
Learn English with our free material for different levels of English. We add exercises on grammar and vocabulary as well as whole text activities on a regular basis. In addition, we provide test practise activities for students who are preparing for the Cambridge Assessment English Main Suite as well as the English Language B for the IB Diploma. The material will also support students studying for the Cambridge Advanced courses.

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