Harry Potter and the Mobile Phone Dilemma

Can anyone else believe spring has sprung? Ok the weather where you are may not be as nice as it is in the UK right now (a sunny 26/79 degrees), and its unlikely to last here for very long but it is still Springtime and it’ll soon be turning into summer!  The year is going by too quickly! Lauren is now 11 years old and becoming quite the young adult.  She turned 11 weeks ago and the change is now quite profound. Gone are the days of large parties at soft play warehouses. These days its all sleepovers and slumber parties.  This year we did, as a family, visit Harry Potter studios.  It’s something Lauren really wanted to do and both Jane and I are fans of the Harry Potter universe so we were happy to go.  I am not going to say too much about the tour itself because if you haven’t been I don’t want to offer any spoilers. It was a fantastic day and Lauren was overwhelmed by a lot of it.  She was lucky enough (as it was her birthday) to open the doors to the Great Hall. We visited the Gryffindor common room, Privet Drive and Digon Alley. The tour is exceptionally detailed and has props, costumes and sets from all 8 of the movies. It gives visitors the chance to see how the films are made, visit the sets, and there are some great green screen opportunities for photos too!  If ever you do plan a visit to the studios, the one tip I will give you this: Your tour time is the time you may enter the studio tour. You may arrive early and enjoy food and drink at the studio cafĂ© or a coffee from Starbucks. You can also view the Studio Shop (the largest of the shops) with its range of wands, special Harry Potter sweets and merchandise.  However you might want to hold off spending your entire budget until the end. The tour also finishes here so don’t panic.  Inside the tour, The Forbidden Forest and Platform 9 ¾ both have their own smaller shop with gifts, apparel and souvenirs unique to them and not available in the main shop.

Welcome to Hogwarts
When your tour begins there is no upper time limit!  Relax, take your time and enjoy the experience. Once you’re in you can be there until closing time. People who had been previously told us to plan 3-4 hours, but as always with the Barnsby family we took our time and spent the entire day there!  We had been warned about the prices in the shop by lots of people, but my own personal view is that the prices in the Harry Potter Studio tour were on the whole, quite reasonable and in line with other places for genuine quality merchandise and certainly in line with other attraction merchandise apparel. Personally I am always offended when a cheap ballpoint pen is £6 or a notepad £18.99 but this is the same at every attraction in the UK (if not the world). The wands, robes, clothes, artwork and other genuine Harry Potter merchandise seemed to be the same as other places I’ve looked.  If you’re a Harry Potter fan you could easily go broke in the shops very quickly, but the shop can be found on the tours website so just plan ahead. 

Anyway, I remember saying I won’t say too much and as usual I have rambled on!  I will sum up by saying the studio tour is a fantastic day out for anyone that enjoyed the Harry Potter movies or books. Further details of the Warner Brothers, Harry Potter Studio Tour can be found here:

WB Harry Potter Studio Tour 

Just chilling in the Gryffindor common room
Mr Potter I think you have some mail!

The other hot topic in our house is Mobile phones. Laure is desperate to have one! She is actually beginning to be singled out for not owning one!!  It is a need I just don’t understand, as she is 11! Everybody she could ever need to call is usually in the same room as her! (To my non-British friends, it’s a cell phone, but I am British so I’m sticking with calling it a mobile!).  At what age do you think it is OK to have a mobile?  Seriously please tell me! Comment below because I’m no longer sure! Mobile telephones weren’t available in the high streets until I was 15 years old, and I didn’t have my own for several years after that! 

My concerns are not unreasonable. Its not just a phone these days; it’s a target for steeling or being damaged, it’s also a gateway to the world. Social media apps and the Internet suddenly become something in her hand rather than something that is monitored by Dad.  How do I monitor or limit what she sees and uses when she has it with her in her pocket all day every day?  There is a HUGE amount of peer pressure for kids to have phones and social media accounts. I know that the very large majority of usage is fine, it’s the small percentage that isn’t ok that worries me!  Why on earth would anyone say its ok there’s only a 5% chance my child will become a victim of something terrible.  NO!! How about I’d like it to be a zero percent chance?? 

It’s also not just the apps and Internet concerns I have. It is another screen for Lauren to stare at! I already struggle to get her to pick up a book voluntarily.  I see so many people (adults and children alike), miss the view and the memory as they are watching it through a 10inch screen.  Most of you will know I am a he Disney fan and that we have an Instagram account.  These 2 things are a lethal combination because there are so many things you will want to film or photograph when you enter a Disney property. If you don’t keep a check on it you could very easily spend your life savings on a Disney vacation only to watch the entire thing through your phone.   

Of course, having said all of this I will most likely give in because I don’t want Lauren to be singled out. Likewise I don’t want her to fall behind with understanding and using technology and apps because I withheld her from having a phone. As I type this I realise this isn’t a new dilemma. In my days of being 11 (many, many years ago), it wasn’t a phone it was Nike or Reebok trainers. If anyone knows my brother feel free to ask him about the Gola football boots!! I am sure it will be a dilemma for Lauren in decades to come. Maybe Lauren will be telling her kids they aren’t old enough to own a space ship or a ray gun??...Or maybe I watch too many movies. 

I’d really like to hear from you all.  If you have any thoughts on what age children should be allowed a phone, if you’ve been to or are planning a trip to Harry Potter Studios or if you just want to say Hi, comment below or follow us on Instagram @daddylifeuk.  We just past 1000 followers on Instagram and are holding a giveaway specially for our Instagram followers so be sure to enter (giveaway closes 14thMay 2018).

The daring duo
            Until next time, I hope you have a great day.

Ian B xxx 

Lauren opening the doors to the Gt Hall


  1. Such a great blog post! Photos are just way to cute. As for the cell phone part, I've heard of parents doing "Parent contracts" with their kids. They set rules and consequences if they don't follow through. I think especially for a 11 year old to keep a close eye on and I would take the phone away at a certain time once she is home.
    I have a preschooler so dont have much experience as a parent in that topic.

    From IG: Disney_Pray_Love1

  2. Harry Potter Studios sounds amazing. Glad you enjoyed! As for the phone, I agree. It's ANOTHER screen. I'd hold off as long as you can.


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