Should I get my 11 yr old a cell phone?

Andra - posted on 11/13/2009 ( 24 moms have responded )

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He doesn't need it because he is always near a phone or a responsible adult with a phone, but he thinks it's cool. "All the kids in class have one." I don't think he's responsible enough for one nor can he pay for it. Am I being mean or is he just being selfish?

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Abigail - posted on 12/04/2011

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I didn't get my first cell phone until i was 13 because of the geographical area we lived in wasn't the best. Which I feel I was responsible at that point and and able to decide what was constituted as an emergency .So I would say it should be established to the teen or child when it is needed and figured out on a time line or the basis as to when he can have one.When it is appropriate. That way he doesn't feel like hes getting the short end of the stick and you don't have to feel unwarranted.

Angela - posted on 12/02/2011

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Many parents find that mobile phones are a godsend and a quick & easy way to get hold of their kids. I'm in favour.

Teresa - posted on 11/25/2011

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You know your child. If you don't think he's ready for it than don't get him one. I survied my school years, up through high school, without one. He can too.My frineds had things I didn't.

Angela - posted on 11/18/2011

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Why not try him with a Pay-As-You-Go (prepaid) phone on the understanding he pays running costs himself (earning money from chores, using his allowance etc ...), It's a great way for him to learn budgeting.

Just like phones on monthly billing his phone number and the IMEI serial number of his handset can be registered with his network. Warn him that phone calls can be traced (even if the phone and the SIMcard are NOT registered) and he shouldn't let anyone else use/borrow his phone as HE will be the one who has the responsibility if another person uses it in the wrong way.

I wouldn't get the kind of phone that has all the latest gadgetry & applications either - just a basic one. A fancy one may have him as the target of bullying/theft. And a phone of any value isn't something to be showing off, it's something to be used for its intended purpose and used discreetly to avoid conflict with others. Kids love to show off - this isn't something you show off! He should also take great care of it and keep it securely about his person.

Remind him that this is a test of his maturity and responsibility before you get him the phone and you will remove it from his possession if he doesn't abide by what you say. If he's happy to agree to your terms & conditions then go ahead & get him one.

Paula - posted on 10/30/2011

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Yes i would and MINE ( 11) has a touch screen. I let her have it whenever she has unlimited texting calling i also don't check her phone .... I think mothers who spy on their children and check their phone and have to check who they are calling is a lack of trust!..Thats just me though...:) hope this helps!!:)

Holly - posted on 11/17/2009

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You are doing the right thing and quite possibly the sanest mom I have heard from in a while. He is not mature enough for it. He cannot pay for it. He doesn't need it. There you have your answer. Getting him a phone for any other reason than it being necessary starts you on a slippery slope to always giving him something "because the other kids have it" which is not something you want to start doing this soon:) He is not being selfish either. He is just learning to want what his peers have and this is a great opportunity to learn a life lesson from his mom about need versus want. By the way, my 11 yr old son and I had this same conversation a couple months ago. Good luck!

Sheree - posted on 11/17/2009

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I teach and I watch the kids and each one is different. The one thing I can say is that you need to teach them how to behave on the phone before it is given to them. Text messages...they get forwards from friends and sometimes they are rude and hurt peoples feelings. They also prank call ...even the good kids do it and upset people. Also, most are very irresponsible and lose them all of them time. Anyway, I am telling you all these things that are NOT good but my daughter is 11 and she has one. I have also had to deal with hunting for a phone and then wondering if I was going to have a crazy bill. I do like her to have it because when my plans change...which is frequently I can text her where to go after school to be safe.

Brandi - posted on 11/17/2009

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i think fi a child shows responsibility then they should be able to have a cell phone just for the simple fact like many others have stated for safety. They just want to feel a lil grown-up i dont see anything wrong with that and i think having one may teach ur child a lil more responsibility. I would suggest track phone or other prepaid sevice so u can limit the calls and he/she can do extra chores around the house to earn extra money or a phone card. phone cards would make great gifts and rewards for good behavior. but at the same time if they go wild they lose their minutes and have no one to blame but themselves. i think its a great way to teach a child responsiblity and earn trust. every child is different but id say at least give the child the benefit of the doubt, break down the rules to him and give him a shot.

Toni - posted on 11/17/2009

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It would depend on if he is walking alone or something like that. I will be getting my eight year old a jitterbug phone because she can only call certain numbers and the bill is always the same and she can stay in touch with my oldest daughter who is out of state without being on my phone all the time.

Sharon - posted on 11/17/2009

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I dont think you are being mean at all! Ive worked as a customer service rep for a cell phone company for about 2 yrs now, and let me tell you..i dont know how many times ive had parents calling in complaining about their cell phone bills for their kids' lines!! These people scream and curse at me b/c they just CANT believe their "responsible" little suzy or johnny would EVER go over their minutes or use 5000 texts or download 15 ringtones/games at 2.99 each in 1 month but let me tell you they do!! If you decide that your child must have a phone for emergencies i would suggest a pre paid phone for now and maybe a regular one when they are teens and have a part time job or something....just a thought..sorry for the ranting! lol : )

Crystal - posted on 11/16/2009

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I wouldn't get my 10 year old daughter one but my mother-in-law thought she needed one. She talked it over with us, she was going to put it on her plan. My daughter helps her around the house to pay for it. She has lots of restrictions with it. It has been kind of nice for her to have this though just for the simple fact that if she get's in trouble, it is the first thing to go and she HATES that. She has been really watching her grades, her attitude..... It has been nice for our family. Just think about your pros and cons. Every family is different.

[deleted account]

I would not get him one just because he wants it. My daughter who is turning 10 next month just got my old tracphone and she is only allowed to use it in emergencies. We gave it to her so she can call us if there is ever a problem because she is on a long bus journey as we live pretty far out of town. She has never misused it or taken advantage of it. At first she did not even want it even though the other children her age have them but we told her it was for her to use in emergencies only and if there is ever a need to call either her father or myself or 911. I do think it helps them learn to be responsible and my daughter knows if she wants to use the phone for anything other than emergencies she has to use her allowance for that.

[deleted account]

If you don't think he is responsible enough, then no way. I really can't see a need for an 11-yr old to need a cell. Once he is in extracurriculars or places w/o adult supervision, but not now. Stick to your guns!!

Carla - posted on 11/15/2009

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Did NOT mean to offend you, Lisa. Each child handles responsibility differently. My comment was prompted by watching the majority of children, including my own grandchildren.

Vickie - posted on 11/14/2009

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i regreat getting my 13yr old a cell phone it's been nothing but trouble since he got it ,and now it is taken away , and the same with his own computer my mother got him last yr for x-mas nothing but trouble , i wish things was the way it was when i was growing up with nothing like cell phones and computers, we always found something to do out side and had fun but now all kids want to do is play games , or talk on their phone , and text ,play on com , they need to outside playing , using their amagination

[deleted account]

I would like to make a statement in defense of those of us who allow our children to possess, use, and enjoy cell phones. Please don't read attitude into this, but I really feel that some comments have been made on here that are unfair. First of all I am not "that mom", and my children are both very responsible! Oh...and I definitely don't give into my daughters classmates peer-pressure. My husband and I make decisions based on our daughters, and what we feel is best for them and us.

As I posted earlier, both of my girls have had cell phones for years. However, they are both responsible children. They carry 3.5-4.0GPA's are active in church & athletics, do household chores, and have never been in trouble at school or elsewhere. We originally got the phones for them b/c we lived in a rural area, and everywhere outside of 1 mile from us was long distance, however the cell phone plan was cheaper than the household plans. Also, they were in athletics...practices sometimes let out early and they needed a ride. (I don't expect them to use up someone else's minutes.

I resent the implication that children with cell phones are not having family time, eating dinner, or spending quality time with their parents. I can guarantee you my husband and I are with both our daughters 85-90% of the time. (or were until the oldest went away to college 800 miles from home...incidentally with a cell phone that we pay for) Please don't judge parents who allow cell phones to be had by their children, it doesn't mean they are less connected, or involved, or love their children any less than you. Maybe their safety beliefs are different than yours, or maybe they just believe differently about the topic. I think this is a subject that many will just have to agree to disagree about.

Carla - posted on 11/14/2009

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Cellphones are a great tool--and a great temptation. If there is a legitimate reason for him having one, there should be specific times he can use it, and when not using it for that purpose, it should be in your purse. I personally feel people are using cellphones to replace having face-to-face interactions. Instead of being on the cellphone all evening, come sit with the family and play a game, or even just sit and watch TV together. I agree with your premise that he should pay for it. That would greatly curtail any abuse, or at least after he got his first outrageous bill, he would curb his dialing fingers!

Michelle - posted on 11/14/2009

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I would stay off the Cell phone train for now. If you can't pay for it or if hes not responsible enough, what r u teaching him by getting him one. 1. Its ok to live out side your means if you really want it. 2. You don't have to ever make your own way in the world cause someone will always bail you out. My 11 wants one 2 and his best buddy just got one adding more pressure on me. But he will live with out it. Get your son a DSi for chirstmas..it does everything!! but make phone calls. You can even email or txt with it... And all the kids in his class dont have one.. Take another look when he turns 13?? Give him something to strive for.. We have 2 cell phones in our house (Dad and mom) and we can hardly pay the bill. I see so many moms buy cell phones out of guilt for some reason or another. Do you want to be that mom? Cause then you'll that that kid.

Kathleen - posted on 11/13/2009

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Personally, 11 yr. old does not need a phone. In our family, we have 3 kids at 3 different schools. It's a great way to communicate with each other...in case of pick up times, etc. They have a pre-paid plan...no contract. So they cannot go wild on their phone....very limited texts and calls. Works for us.

Sarah - posted on 11/13/2009

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My son is 11 also and is always asking for a cell phone. Some of his friends do have cell phones, but my answer to him is when you need one we will get you one. I think my son would be pretty responsible (he shows that in many other areas) so I don't have a question about that. My thing is why should I get you something you don't need. There will be a time when it will be needed. He will need to call me when he is done with practice or all those situations to have one when he starts driving, so the time will come. Just as he uses the line "all my friends" I use the line "when I was....we did not have cell phones". I think the battle is always going to be there between how you want to raise your child versus how others raise theirs. I always say I care about you and I know that some of your friends are allowed to use or do such and such, but it is my job to do what I think is best for you. We have also had that discussion over myspace and facebook. There will probably become a time when that will be allowed, but at his age it is not, even though he does have friends that have their own pages.

[deleted account]

My daughters have had cell phones for years. My youngest got her first phone at 9 years old, my oldest was 11. They got them the same year in their Easter Baskets. I believe in our society today it is necessary for the kids to be able to make contact with parents, or the authorities at any time. My girls have been very responsible with their phones, and they know that they can't have them out in school, or church. It gives them the ability to call w/o having to worry about using someone elses minutes, or messages. I always want my kids to be able to reach me. I also like fact that the phone service provider we use has GPS tracking, so I can locate them if I ever need to. In our society today with child abductions, and Columbine type attacks at schools, I don't want to miss that important call b/c I didn't think it was a necessary item for them to have. In my opinion, cell phones are an element of protection, just like mace. They are there if needed. However, for children, they need to know and understand their plan, and what is included. If they go over, there needs to be consequences. It will help develop responsibility also.

Alison - posted on 11/13/2009

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He's not selfish per se, but young and misinformed. I was 25 before I had my first cell phone. I'll consider it when my girls are 16. Stick to your gut and stick to your guns! ;)

Holli - posted on 11/13/2009

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I say no. Kids don't need cell phones until they are at a point where they may need you and wont be around a phone... Like if they are in extracurricular activities, driving, etc.

And If your son is in extracurricular activities and such I would say if he did get one he would only be allowed to have it with him when he was going to these activities and there may not be an easily accessible phone, and he would be limited in who he could call (You, Dad, an extra family member or emergency contact just in case)... That would be it.

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