It's wifi era but kids' mischief with phone doesn't change

10 December 2018 - 08:37
By Mapula Nkosi
It's wifi era but kids' mischief with phone doesn't change.
Image: Stock It's wifi era but kids' mischief with phone doesn't change.

Believe it or not, there comes a time, when your own children, thinking they are much cleverer than you will try to pull wool over your eyes and actually swindle you.

I hear that in the good olden days of my sister's varsity years, many illiterate parents were duped into paying for books that were not part of the curriculum.

The famous one was when a young man made his parents to give him hundreds of rand for a book called Registration 101, a nonexistent title that the naughty young man made up just so that he could have extra pocket money that month to throw parties at school or take his lady loves out.

In my youth, the most common trickery we tried on our parents was to run the telephone bill during the day when they were at work, while pretending that you did not even know how to operate the phone in their presence.

Telkom soon put paid to this by offering the service of itemised bills at a nominal fee and that is how a lot of us were caught in lies we could not wiggle out of.

During those years the telephone set could literally be locked with a key, but a young enterprising mind invented a code to bypass the system and we were able to call even after the phones had been locked.

There was this sophisticated system of dialling either 5 or 10 zeroes to override the locked system that many young people swore by. A colleague confirmed it worked for her and she would calmly deny being involved when her mom asked why the bill was so high. Her standard answer would be: "I don't know anything. I thought the phone was locked..."

Just because your child knows your financial struggles doesn't mean they will not be susceptible to the tricks young people feel they can play on their parents.

What irks parents more is that many children, thinking they have covered their tracks, would lie outright when confronted with those huge bills.

I once heard of a case of a church member who was fired from work because their teenage son had used up the company's laptop data to download undesirable content. He used up to R2,000 on porn and his mom was shown the door.

These days it is all too common with wifi in our homes for our kids to wipe out data meant to last us a month in just a few days if you do not set out strict rules in the house.

With his smarts, my friends' 11-year-old son recently gobbled up 40GB of data in just a few days. She was so embarrassed she only found out a week later. She had invited people into her home when out of trying to be hospitable she proceeded to share her pin with guests, only to be alerted by the visitors that there was zero data to enjoy surfing the net. Since it is only her and her son staying in the house, there was only one suspect.

She was just about to strangle her boy when I reminded her about her similar exploits in high school when she invited all of us to her home to use her parents' phone.

Indeed, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Comment on Twitter @MapulaNkosi