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Six-year-old calls 911 to report dad ran red light

Technically Incorrect: This story is just one reason why you might not want to teach young kids how to use the phone.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Not business as usual for the Quincy 911 dispatcher.

Quincy PD/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I know you want to shove an iPad into a one-year-old's hands so that you can have some time to Facebook your friends.

But have you thought through the consequences of your little ones being au fait with all gadgets and their uses?

I mention this only because of Robbie Richardson. He's six and he used a phone to report his dad to the cops.

The police in Quincy, Massachusetts were only too delighted to release the 911 call in which Robbie told the dispatcher: "Um, daddy went past a red light."

To add a little color, he explained: "He was in a brand-new car, my mummy's car."

Robbie, who was calling from a cordless phone at home, wasn't shy to add even more details. For example, dad was allegedly hurrying to the car wash.

The dispatcher was amused, but not too amused. He asked to talk to dad. So, as the Boston Globe reports, Robbie carried the phone to his dad and told them the authorities wanted a chat.

Robbie told the Globe: "I know how to call the police. Easy-peasy."

A Quincy Police Department spokeswoman told me dad wasn't given a ticket.

"We cannot issue a ticket based on another person's observations," she said. "A police officer must observe the violation to issue the ticket or give a warning."

It can be useful, of course, for kids to know how to call 911 in case of an emergency. But you have to think through all the potential ramifications of your kid's mental machinations.

Kids can be depressingly honest. Some even have a disturbingly draconian streak. You don't necessarily want them to communicate your every foible and habit, particularly to the authorities.

Still, Robbie's dad might listen to his son more carefully. Robbie had warned him in the car that he was going to call the police on him.