what age should you allow a child to have a mobile phone?

Amao - posted on 07/24/2010 ( 46 moms have responded )

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what age should you allow a child to have a mobile phone?

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[deleted account]

It not the age. It should be based on how responsible they are and why they need one. If they take a bus to school or coming home alone. This would be a reason they could need one. This should be between the ages of 12-14.

Jennifer - posted on 01/19/2013

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I've worked in a call center for a couple cell phone companies and thought it was crazy how young some of the kids were to have a smart phone. I used to thing the parents were stupid for giving a 6 year old a blackberry and not expecting the kid to figure out how to download apps and music on it. My son was 3 years old when he learned how to use my iphone ( luckily it has a password to be able to download). When parents used to call in and state that there was no way their kids could have gone over their texting limits because they're in school all day and they aren't allowed to use their phones while they are in school, I had to hold back from laughing at them for being to naive. After working there I always said that if my kids ever get a cell phone it will be prepaid until they are old enough to get a job and pay for it themselves. I thought I would wait until my kids were 10-12 yrs old before I got them one. Well, that changed yesterday. I got my 7 year old daughter a prepaid phone from Verizon. She was going to go with a friend to spend a night at a church and I had never let her spend the night anywhere except 2 other times for Girl Scouts. It was $19.99 for the phone itself and I added $100 worth of minutes on it for it to last 1 yr. I blocked it from making any out bound calls except for the numbers in the contact list which only had my number and 911. Nobody can add contact numbers unless they have the password. I also blocked all incoming and outgoing text and downloads. I made sure to talk to her about 911 and explained that NOBODY not even her friends were allowed to touch or hold that phone. She had to keep it on her persons at ALL times. It worked out great. She called me whenever she got nervous or wanted to hear my voice and I felt better about her not being home with me. Once she got home, I took the phone back. She only gets it when she's going to be at a friends house or spending a night somewhere. If it gets lost I'll just pay another $20 and switch the minutes over to the new one. No big deal. To me it's how responsible your kid is. My daughter has always been a good kid and knows how to be responsible and follow directions. Start off with a cheap prepaid so you don't find yourself with a couple hundred dollar phone bills. BLOCK EVERYTHING for downloads and test it yourself so you can make sure the block is working BEFORE you give it to your child. Don't just trust the sales associates word for it. BELIEVE ME! It will save you a lot of stress in the future. Ask for a phone that allows to to block incoming and outgoing calls not listed in the contacts. Make sure you ask the rep how to also block those downloads that you see on TV that supposedly says free wall papers or ringtones. They are NOT free and will usually charge $9.99 on up for a monthly prescription. It's done by texting the number on the TV and most cell companies will NOT refund those charges because it's charges from a different company. Sorry this is long but I just want you all to know a head of time what to look out for before you give a child a cell phone.

Arla - posted on 08/31/2013

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If its just cause there friends have one. Then they should only get one when they can afford to pay for one.

Ariana - posted on 01/03/2013

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16, when they can drive. Otherwise they shouldn't be anywhere you don't know about and they don't really need one for 'emergencies' since they shouldn't be going off doing whatever.

You need your child to have a cell phone because they're in sporting activities? You know what your parents did when you were in sporting activities? They probably were either there, or they just let you be there on your own with all the other kids. Do you really need to be in contact with them that much? And as for 'knowing where they are' you already should know where they are. It's not YOUR responsibility to know where they are but THEIR responsibility to tell you where they are. You know what a kid does when they want to go somewhere else? They call up their parents from wherever and say, hey, can I go to so and so's place etc. I'm sure all their friends have a cell and they can borrow it from them.

Giving a child 12 or under a cell phone is ridiculous. They shouldn't be going anywhere far enough to need one. 13-16 year olds should not have cell phones, all it is is a major tool to chat with their friends at school and is actually a great tool for lying about where they are. A kid can easily text you saying they're at so and so's house when really they're at a party, you know why? Because they're contacting you from 'their' cell phone, whereas before the kid would actually have to call you from so and so's house and THEN go over to the party and be worried the whole time that you might call so and so's house and the parents would pick up saying you aren't there.

Like I said, give it to them at 16 when they're learning to drive and have it for emergencies.

If my kid asks me for a cell phone I'm going to get them one, but it's going to be one of those cell phones where it's got 6 buttons and they all have preput in numbers, like speed dial, so they'll be able to call me, maybe their aunts or uncles or whoever else is around who they'd need to contact in case of an emergency. Then I could badger them whenever I felt like without worrying about them sexting people or w/e....

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[deleted account]

My decision was based on my son coming home from middle school by himself. He was 11 1/2 at the time. He also plays sports so it is more of a convenience for me to have him call when he is home or ready for pick up. It is really up to you as a parent and why do they NEED it? It was a safety decision for me. I was a little hesitant on a smart phone due to the access to the Internet so we went with a regular phone for the first year. When he showed me he was responsible we purchased a smart phone. Good luck!

Pamela - posted on 09/14/2013

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In some states the schools require a child to have a cell phone in 5th grade due to all the shootings that have happened in the not so distant past as a way of being able to send out a mass text to students to either hide or stay where they are in case of an emergency situation at school. But yet the school system wont pay for said cell phones for these children. I would get a pre paid cell phone with unlimited talk and text with no web access for a child. This way you only pay one set price each month and don't have to worry about them going over minutes or messages.

Angelic - posted on 09/12/2013

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I don't think the answer should be a specific age. I think it should depend on why you are considering a phone for your child and are they ready for the responsibility.
For example: We got our oldest child his first cell phone at 10years old when he was finishing up 4th grade at his current school and would be riding a bus the following school year. We had moved from a small country town to a big city and I was terrified at the thought of my child taking a bus.
our second son is 31/2 years younger then his older brother and we just gave him his very first phone because he is an awesome child and the second one always grows up faster.
It comes down to your own reasoning. I would say for the first phone, I would not invest alot.
Good luck!

Emilia - posted on 09/07/2013

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My daughter is a sixth grader and we are considering gettin her a phone not necessarily a smart phone, though. All our other children go them 13 or older. It is only because her sister he and me are having trouble communicating.

Raven - posted on 05/16/2013

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i am not a mother yet but kids should be 13 before they have a phone that was the age i was when i got my first phone

Cheryl - posted on 01/12/2013

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When they are going to be away from you other than at school. And they should only get it then. They do not need a device that gives them the ability to communicate unsupervised anytime.

Ariana - posted on 01/08/2013

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You know, they have special phones meant to just call parents. They've made phones where it can only take incoming calls and can only call preput in numbers (like speeddial) and emergency number (911). If your child really needs to be able to contact you, you can always get them a phone like that. It lets you communicate but without the worry of everything else that comes with a cell phone.

http://mashable.com/2012/08/26/ownfone-c...

Shannon - posted on 01/08/2013

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First, I would like to ask Carly when the last time she even saw a payphone that was actually in working condition?

Ok, to Amao,

My daughter is 13 now and is on the swim team, but with this being her first year, there are no after-school meets. Next year, however, she will have some and also have competitions. That's is when i will get her one. Then she will be 14. That is also when I got my oldest daughter one. She was old enough to babysit and take her sisters to the neighborhood park, so I wanted her to have a way to contact me.

It is really up to you and how mature you think your child is, and whether or not it has ever been a problem to NOT have one. But you have to set your rules and they will have to follow them, or you simply take it back until they can comply. I wouldn't get it "just because" for socializing. That's what a home phone and internet are for.

Manda - posted on 01/05/2013

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My son who is 14 1\2 has a cell phone but with limitations. I know the password, who he contacts and I am able to read his messages if I feel the need to do so. He has no internet connection on his phone. He can make and receieve calls or text. I told him I can take the phone away for any reason as its not his phone because he didn't buy it nor does he pay the bill. It's more of a loan.

Dove - posted on 01/01/2013

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A child should get a cellphone when there is a need in the family for them to have one or when they are old enough to pay for it themselves. Whichever comes first.

In our family... it became a need when my oldest started 6th grade. MOST of the time she doesn't need it, but once a week she walks to the park near her school to meet me. Some days I'm there before she is, but other days I might not be able to get there until an hour later... and I can't predict that timing ahead of time, so I need to be able to text her if I'm running late. Also... once a week she is picked up by the youth group leader. Granted, I could contact HER instead of my daughter, but it's better for ME this way.

Jen - posted on 01/01/2013

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It depends on the child and the circumstances. In our house the rule is that the kids get a cell phone for Christmas the year they are in 7th grade, if their grades are satisfactory. To me, this is the point where they start being unsupervised after school, where they often ride buses to school sports and activities, and it's nice for them to have it. I could see giving one to a younger child if he/she was very responsible and there was a reason you felt they needed a phone. I also wouldn't hesitate to take the phone away from an older child if they weren't responsible with it. They don't ever really NEED a phone. None of us had them at their age and we all survived.

Karen Laverne - posted on 12/30/2012

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i think a child should have a cell phone when she/he can get a job and my daughter keeps asking me''when can i get my on cell phone and i want a touch screen!''and i tell her when you get a job to pay for your own touch screen cell phone then i will take you to the phone store and you can get the phone you want as long as you got the green!

Natasha - posted on 09/11/2012

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I thought about this same question because his father and i are no longer together and often when i call to talk to my son if he is with his dad his father will not answer the phone in spite of me.. as a result i start going crazy because i can not get in touch with my child... I would also like to give my son the option of being able to call me anytime for anything and not have to ask his dad for permission as he may tell him no. My son is 5

Clarissa - posted on 08/17/2010

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I have a soon to be 10 yr old who ask me bout a phone, because he seen his cousin with one. I told him No. I think when they start be responsible with the minor things, then I will consider letting him have a phone. Most of all when they get their first job, so they can pay some on the phone bill or buy minutes. My son can,'t hardly keep up with his wallet, not ready for a phone.

Betsy - posted on 08/17/2010

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On my daughters 8 birthday she took her money and got one! After she proved she could take care of one I then put her on my plan!

Charity - posted on 08/15/2010

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i bought a tracphone for my daughter for when shes away from home. shes only 6. but when i have to let her leave im more comfortable knowing she would have a way to call me or someone else thats trusted. we taught her how to use it i put house, me and my husbands cell numbers her grandma and aunt. so she would always be able to get ahold of someone. its not a toy to her i dont let her "play" with it. she knows its strictly for when shes not with us in case of an emergancy. and thats how we handle that. i figure i can get by with using it like that for a few more years til she starts leaving me all the time lol. then of couse she'll be old enough to "have" it all the time. but i like the tracphone thing because it gives her limits so we wont be hit with a surprise bill or something.

Sue - posted on 08/14/2010

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Both my boys got 1 when they started secondary school. I dont feel they need it before about 12 and that's a good age but maybe if in later primary they start to stay late for activities etc its not such a bad idea. My brother in law just wanted to get my 6 yr old one for her birthday and I was horrified lol!!! he mean't well bless, but who would she call and who would be buying her credit? although she does like to walk around the house on my old phone pretending. : )

Cynthia - posted on 08/13/2010

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my 5 year old has had a phone since birth. i put in his bag when ever he isnt with me. now that he is 5 he understands that it is for mom to call him or for him to call mom. idk if he even knows it will call anyone else but idk about a preteen having a phone. i guess its ok as long as they respect that it is a privilege.

Kelly - posted on 08/12/2010

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My son is 9 and has a "park/school" cell phone. He really wanted to start riding his bike to school alone last year, and after months of pleading on his part, I agreed to let him on the condition that he called me when he got to school. He also likes to go with friends for bike rides and to the park, and it's comforting to me, knowing that if there was an emergency or a problem, he could call me at home and I could respond accordingly.

Melanie - posted on 08/12/2010

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Carly while I agree there is a fine line between protecting you kids and being over protective- the world we live in now is not the same world we lived in growing up. Used to kids could play in the yard by theirselves and so forth without worrying about something happening. This world is so full of sick sick people. Due to the rate of child abductions a parent should never ever underestimate the sick perverted pedophiles lurking, watching and waiting for their next prey. I dont believe in cell phones for young children, but I do agree with giving your child a cell phone once they are involved in extra-curricular activities and such.

Jane - posted on 08/11/2010

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I keep a spare cell phone for emergencies. I give it to my child to call me when is she is ready to be picked up from school functions (and I go to 99% of these) or if there is need to get her early. She is not permitted to call friends or text with it. If her friends need to speak to her they can call our house phone.

Michele - posted on 08/11/2010

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My daughter was 11. She was more active in after school activities and sports and I work so staying connected was important. We went with a kajeet phone because they are affordable and I love the parental controls. We set up her phone to not make/receive any calls during school hours except from mom and dad. And no calls/texts after bedtime! We pay $14.99 a month for 60 anytime minutes and unlimited texting. O loved the service so much I became part of the Mom Sales Team. You can save 15% off any phone by going to my landing page at http://www.kajeet.com/michele

Lisa - posted on 08/06/2010

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I think that depends on the child, the maturity level is important. Some 13 yr old are mature and can use a mobile phone responsibly, where another annot. i think its a personal decision onthe parents behalf becuase they know their kids the best

Jennifer - posted on 08/06/2010

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Carly, for your information there is a violent sex offender that lives just down the street from me. When I was 14 I was raped and that's how I became pregnant with my 6 year old. His sperm donar as I call him follows me from town to town. He knows what my son looks like, SO FOR HIS SAFETY I got him a cell phone. You don't know the reasons why we get our kids cell phones and you definitely do not know how I parent my children, so please don't tell me that my child is overly protected.

I don't see how giving a child a cell phone for emergencies is overly protected. It's better safe than sorry. The only time my son needs to call me is if t here is an emergency. I don't feel that I am being overly protected either by knowing where my kid is.

Rachel - posted on 08/06/2010

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Honestly I dont think it shopuld be a social thing based on coolness and age.It should rather be wether or not you think #1 your child is responsible enough and #2 wether or not they really need it.
My son is actiuve in sports. He will be 13 in December. We are getting him a phone because I have 3 younger children and cannot be in the same place all the time ;)

Princess Monica - posted on 08/06/2010

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IF THEY ARE OLD ENOUGH TO GO ANY CORNER SHOP THEY CAN GET IT FOR THERE SAFETY.

[deleted account]

My son is 10, and he just got one. I got it for basically the same reasons the other parents said. Sports, and during the school year there are times his home by hisself with his 8 year old sister, and he can call me to tell me that they are in the house.

Carly - posted on 08/06/2010

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Wow, parents are really paranoid nowadays. Every generation before this one has gone without cellphones and we all survived just fine. You don't always need to be in touch with your kid, there does come a time when you need to step back and trust them. And contrary to popular belief, kidnappers and pedophiles are not lurking around every corner, that's just media induced hysteria.
Enjoy overprotecting your children. Enjoy it more when they are 30 and still dependant upon you because they never learned to deal with certain situations themself.

Jennifer - posted on 08/06/2010

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My son got his first phone a year a go. He is 6 years old now. He only has a tracfone(I don't believe in getting kids fancy phones). He has to have it on him at all times, in case of emergencies. No one is allowed to have his phone number except my family. He only has certain numbers in his phone. Now days kids as young as four should have one because of all the kidnappings and what not happening. I want my son to be able to call me if anything ever happens. I am also trying to teach him how to text, because if he is kidnapped and that is the only way he can get ahold of someone without the kidnapper knowing than he needs to know texting. But you get your kid a phone whenever you feel is the right age.

Shelley - posted on 08/05/2010

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I was a big believer in making my kids wait for a cell phone. Not only was I not wanting the extra expense, but I also knew that once they have a cell phone, the communication switches from the house phone to the cell phone, making it much harder to stay on top of what is going on in their lives. Kids don't have to talk on the phone in the kitchen where everyone can here. In fact, you lose access to who is calling them and how often. Then, once the texting starts, all bets are off. And unlike facebook, where you can at least see what is going on, phones are very private.

On the other hand, the cell phone is very convenient for me. I love that I can call at any time, and that they can call me at any time In fact, they can call anyone at anytime. So if they are in an uncomfortable situation, they can make a call. This makes me feel they are a little safer in the world. And it makes it so much easier and quicker to respond when plans change.

Bottom line, I've changed my mind and support cell phones for kids. But, this requires lots of education and setting limits and responsibilities on the part of the parents. One more step in packing on all the skills we need to pack on them so they can function independently.

Terri - posted on 08/05/2010

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My daughter is 8 and active in competiton cheerleading squad..I would never change her HAVING a cell phone. This lets me be able to let her know if I'm running late or if her practices has gone over the time limit.or how she is doing. of course with great power comes great responsibility..you have to teach your child the importance and the correct way to use a cell phone.. I personally have blocked certain apps on her phone...but she is only 8 and but very mature for her age. good luck all of you on your decision to allow a cell phone for your children..It is dependent upon you!! =)

Kathryn - posted on 08/05/2010

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Carly, while agree that people are on their cell phones too much you have to realize that pay phones are few and far between. My daughter's dance studio has a phone, but the soccer fields have no phone.

Cathy - posted on 08/04/2010

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I think when they genuinesly have some reason to call, or someone to call! My dd had one about aged 9, as that was when we (cautiously) allowed her to start going out of the house on her own( only to the shops nearby!). My 7 yr old wants one but has no-one he would honestly need to call, so he wont be getting one yet.

Mary - posted on 08/04/2010

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my daughter is 11 and has had a cell phone 4 several yrs. i initally started her out with a prepaid phone and recently added her 2 my plan. i like the fact that she will be able to contact me or her dad at any given point when she is away from home whether she is with relatives or friends.

Carly - posted on 08/04/2010

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Never, I'm a firm believer that most people don't need cellphones, especially kids. That kind of technology is the downfall of society, people don't even say hello on the street anymore because their nose is in their gadgets. A couple of quarters puts my mind at ease just fine.

Kenda - posted on 08/04/2010

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my four year has one but can only use so much of it.he can only call 8 poeple and they have to be on his comtacts and speed dail and he can not answer to any call that is not his contacts.thats all that on his phone.he loves it and we did it for a reason

Kathryn - posted on 08/04/2010

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When you start dropping your child off at after school activities. My daughter is still young enough that I stay at dance class and soccer practice, but she will have a phone the first time I drop her off and leave. You might also start off with a simple phone such as firefly. That way your child can only call the people you program into the phone and will not be able to text.

Jennifer - posted on 08/03/2010

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I have been going back and forth on this one too. Do I make her wait until she is 13 or let her get one when she is 10. My daughter is also very active in sports and Girl Scouts. I am thinking towards the 10 year mark.

Angie - posted on 07/24/2010

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I never thought I would want to get my child a cell phone until they got into high school but that has changed recently. My 12 year old daughter is very active in sports at school and outside of school. It's nice for me to be able to contact her when she is away from home. I also like her having a way to contact help if something were to happen.

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