At what age did you (or would you) give your child a cell phone? (Please include any contracts or conditions you gave your child with this use)
I have 3 teenagers..19,16 and 15. My oldest daughter got her first cell phone when she got a job. My son got his first cell phone when he got a job. My youngest doesn't have a cell phone and will not have one..only until she gets her first job. We look at having a cellphone, as a child, as a privilege, not a necessity. These cell phone plans are not cheap, so if you want one...then you must work for it, like us adults do. I believe it gives them a sense of accomplishment, to work for what they want. I will not pay for their car payments or car insurance as a teenager...so why should a cell phone be any different.
My oldest has had a cell phone since she was 9 and walked to school. I has a mom felt safer, she didn't really call anyone but her grandmother at this age. So there was no reasons to set rules other than don't loose it lol. Now she is 14 and loves her phone so rules are as follows.
1. If not thinks something is up she will check your phone (have not had to do this but don't think I wont)
2. Good Grades
3. No fibs
4. I must trust that you're making good choices
5. You must work for your phone (help around the house without complaining)
6. nobody is allowed to use your phone.
7. you loose it you buy a new one.
8. no using it at school, unless it's a 911 emergancy.
9. we love you YOU MUST ALWAYS ANSWER WHEN WE CALL
10 Follow those rules and your phone is yours... she follows them and we have never had to take her phone.
Every family has different needs when it comes to cell phones and frankly not all children need them at any given time. It is absolutely a requirement for them to have one once they are driving on their own so that we are in touch if something happens. Outside of that the "need" is determined by the child and any communication issues that may arise if they do not have a cell phone.
I personally find that younger teens may not need a cell phone on a regular basis if they aren't in after school activities year round so a pay as you go plan definitely makes more sense in this case. That said, many family plans do allow you to add up to a certain number of children for about $10 per month with a free (very basic which honestly is fine) phone.
We have a plan with unlimited texting and minutes for my own peace of mind. That said, I make it clear that we will watch what they use the phone for and will not hesitate to take it away if they choose to abuse it.
Overwhelming them with rules isn't the goal here, but keeping a realistic handle on what they phone is to be used for is, so they know up front that there is to be no use during school hours or when they are driving. That the phone is only a communication tool only.
Almost everyone over here gets the first mobile phone at the age of 6-7 when they start school and all sorts of after school activities. The plans for kids are cheap (I do not spend more than 5-10 USD a month). The plans include free texts/emergency calls to parent numbers as well as locating services (I always know where the kid is). But then again we live in a huge city (Moscow, Russia) where the phone is more or less a necessity. There were no conditions involved apart from one basic rule never to use it during lessons. All of my friend's kids also got their phones at the same age, No one has had any problems so far. The earlier kids get them the earlier they start using it properly - just as a tool. The sort of "playing period" does not last longer than a week - like with all their toys)).
I am not planning on letting my daughter have a cell phone until she enters high school. Pay as you go, she would have to earn the money to buy her card to add air time. They are good for emergency situations especially nowadays, pay phones are scarce.
Personally I would let my son have a cell phone when he is capable of getting a job and a car. I got my cell phone at 22 My first one ever! I don't like the fact there are 12 year old that already has the new I phone, and really seeing little 6 year old with the Nintendo ds really? What is this world coming to.. It's crazy!
My oldest daughter who is 16 got her first cellphone when she was in 6th grade; her first year of middle school. A lot of her friends were getting cellphones and she started spending the night with friends and it was really easy for me to contact her. My daughter who is 13 got her first cellphone in 4th grade. I know that is crazy but she was mad about her sister having a cellphone and she didn't. I had serious rules about her though. She had no texting on her phone. I let her buy a few games and I only allowed her to contact me and other close family members. It wasn't for friends really. Every night I would look through her phone too. She actually didn't have that phone for long because she was careless of it. So she didn't get another phone again until she was in the 6th grade and everything has been good since!
My oldest daughter was 12 and my youngest was 11. My oldest daughter uses her phone mostly for school homework, and kid friendly games. My youngest uses hers mostly for the games. I feel more secure knowing they can call me whenever they are away from home or to call 911 if they ever have to.
My oldest got her phone at age 11. She is now 14 and doesn't have access to internet but has unlimited texting. The rules we have are no phone until chores & homework are done after school then no phone after 8pm or at meal time. This gives her time to communicate with us or she is glued to her phone and the constant texts from friends.
I gave my son a cell when he was old enough to go bike riding, scootering, etc. in the neighborhood with his friends alone. We live in an area with lots of kids, all friends with houses 1-2 streets apart. I guess he was about 10, 6 th grade. Every child is different mine is pretty responsible and trustworthy. Our agreement has been if he wants to go out with friends off of our street he must have his phone on him, charged, and if I call he must answer. If he can't find it, or its not charged (which can be often) he can't go.. It works well for us, he isn't much of a talker so he really doesn't use it to chit chat with friends, so that's not been brought up, but I see it become a problem with friends...
I think 12/13 is a good age, it gives them a sense of responsibility before they get their first jobs, and 12/13 is the exact age they start hanging out with friends around town later, it a safety precaution also.
My daughter was 10 when she got her first cell. She had a pay-as-you-go that was for emergencies only. Gradually, she was 'upgraded" to a contract plan but had some stipulations. The phone was for letting us know where she was, not to text her friends. She was allowed to text socially on weekends only. Our provider also allows us to see how many incoming/outgoing texts were sent, so she knew we were monitoring that.
Wowza, this is timely. We dumped our land line a few years back, and rely on our cell phones. Now my daughter is 9 1/2, and I'm starting to think it would be a good idea to give her a cell phone. I'd like to look into a very basic phone, and it probably won't happen for another year or so, but it would give me major peace of mind.
I think that's kind of a tough question to answer. It would depend on the child and the situation. To me, I think that if a child has a phone it should be for emergency use. I would have no issue sending my cell phone with one of my boys (ages nearly 10 and almost 8 1/2) if they were going somewhere without me and no one else had a cell phone with strict instructions to use it to call me/Dad or 911 ONLY, but I wouldn't even dream of buying them their own at their ages. Otherwise, I'm thinking if my child was old enough to drive and/or have a job, a cell phone makes sense for safety reasons, but there would be limits to its use (emergency use only to call me, their boss, 911, not to be used while driving, etc.) and abuse of that would result in loss of phone. If they want a phone to talk/text to friends, well, my opinion is that they'd have to be old enough to have a job where they could pay for the phone and any charges associated with said phone. Cell phones are great, but they are a privilege and not a right in my book.
My kids were each allowed to buy a cell phone with their 12th birthday money. Conditions were, it was a pre-paid phone, they had to pay for their own credit (extra jobs could be done to earn extra when needed), and they always had to keep a couple of $$ credit for an emergency call if need be. They are now 20, 18 & 16, the older two have fancy phones with contracts, the youngest one would love to, but until she is 18 and old enough to sign a contact herself, she is stuck to pre-paid.
My son is 14 and he has had a mobil phone since he started high school, I felt it was important for him to be able to contact me in an emergency and for me to contact him. He has to have it switched off during school time. It is pay as you go. I feel a contract is something that should only be taken out by someone who has the capacity to earn the money to pay for the contract. it is a very personal decision whether to give a child a phone - how responsible they are etc. Good luck
We are actually just contemplating this! Our daughter is ten and plays quite a few sports and is also being invited to many sleepovers. Already we have had more than one instance where she forgot to call us and we went over half a day without hearing from her (which is very nerve wrecking). After that happened, we talked about letting her use a cell phone for those times that she is at someone else home or is at a sporting event without us.
We are giving her an old iphone that we have and we are signing her up with the most basic plan with the understand that this phone will only be given to her when she is not with us. We'll see how it works out!
I have 3 children 15, 12, and 10, they all have cell phones. Back in 2010, my daughter and I were in severe car accident and my 2 boys were home. They had no clue that why we were so late coming home as Dad was bringing us home. If they had a cell phone I could of called, another incident that happened is that my little girl was a parade during the summer, there was a guy who came into the parade drunk with a police chase ran baracades at 90mph, and smashed into the walgreens cement that holds the sign, going heads on into the parade, no one was seriuosly hurt, the police gave them a heads up to get out of the way. my daughters dance group was only 2 blocks from that point , she did NOT have a cell phone , but the teacher did and called the parents. Thank God! when the car hit, all the parents were at the end of the parade, the kids were in a park having snack and were all safe. i would say as soon as they can start understanding what a cell phone is , you can purchase just those basic trac-phones and have nothing on it but basic calling, and sit down with them and tell them that its for emergencies only, like if they missed the bus from school etc.
First things first. Jr. must learn to talk and dial a phone number (he's only 18 months right now!). Many children probably don't need a cellphone until they are in middle school (when they become more dependent on peers, visit friends more, are more independent). But, some younger children (8, 9, 10) may need a basic cellphone to call home in an emergency if they walk a distance to school or have other independent responsibilities. When Jr. is given a cellphone, there will definitely be some boundaries regarding appropriate calls and minutes available for usage. If he exceeds his monthly minutes, he'll probably need to work off his bill!
My 8 year old has a very basic cell phone. No touch screen, or apps, or games. It can make calls and receive calls, and only recently can she text. She has only the numbers of family members. We bought her the phone for emergencies but she still uses it to call her grandmothers.
My girls are way too young (1 and 5) to even consider this, but I did get my little cousin a cell phone at 16. He was in sports and had a lot of away games so it was for him to call when he needed something or needed a ride. I think I will wait until my girls are about 15 or so before they get a cell phone and it will be a prepaid one. They will have to work (chores and things around the house) to be able to buy minutes. Every night at approximately 9 pm all cell phones will have to be left in a bowl in the kitchen until the following morning . Also, there will be no cell phones allowed during meals or family gatherings. If they break the rules, it will get taken away.
Just a 911 phone maybe at 13. With a GPS tracker.
We have 2 little boys that are under five so it's not really a pressing issue for us at the moment. But our needs will be very different to the majority of others because of our locality. We live on a farm nearby a very small, tight-knit community so I can't see it being a necessity for them when they are of the age to be considering it. I would say in all honesty, it will probably be when they are starting high school having to attend school away from our home town or in boarding school. I'm hoping to be able to demonstrate to them when they are at an appropriate age, how things cost money, through pocket money and learning to spend your earned money wisely.
We're looking at getting my nephew one of those GPS tracker phone watches right now. He's only four years old (and my son won't need one this early) but it's so that we know he's safe when he's with his mom. The watch has four buttons that can call home, but it looks like a normal watch. It also alerts the parents as soon as it is taken off the wrist. I feel bad, but his mom has a tendency to not bring him back and deny the visitation that he is supposed to have with his father. If his father wins custody we'll be buying one of these four hundred dollar watches.
For my own son, probably around the age he's old enough to stay at home alone, we'll get him a firefly phone that only calls mommy and daddy.
We dropped our landline so my son has had a cell phone since he was 9yrs but it never left the house. But now that he is riding his bike to/from school I feel better if he had a cell phone to call for help if needed. His phone only cost $9.99 a month so it was way cheaper than a landline.
He has not had any problems at school as the school is okay with cell phones on campus, they designate times when the kids can use them.
I dont think he needs one but since he is home alone and riding to/from school I need him to have one.
Every kids is different we waited until we felt he was ready to use one also. He is 12yrs old and in 7th grade.
We have told my 9 year old that phones are not for discussion until she is a teenager. Then and only then it will be prepaid. With a set amount each month, this has yet to be discussed or negotiated :)
We are considering a cell phone for my 10 year old. He is now old enough to be left alone, at least for short periods. The problem is that my wife and I have dropped our land line in favor of our cells. Right now I just leave him my cell phone. If I'm just running out to do groceries its not critical that I have my phone. As I leave him home longer I'm going to want my phone back. So we are looking at simple pay as you go phones. It would only be for emergencies and for me to be able to call him and check up on him. Later if he wants to do other things with it, ie call friends, text ... I would expect him to pay for the usage out of his allowance. If he wants a smartphone with all the bells and whistles and a data plan he would need a job and a lot more maturity.
My children will not be allowed a cell phone until they are of age to have a job and pay for the device themselves. It is a big responsibility for a teen to have and they should also understand the financial side of them if they have one.
What age will my child give me back my cell phone???
I wanted to stay traditional when it came to parenting. I couldnt imagine handing my son a cell phone under the age of 15, BUT in society today (schools, public places, friend's homes) I would definitely reconsider. As soon as a child is old enough to know how to work a phone I would allow them to have a phone (NO TEXT) just minutes to call for emergency use. Of course children will use a phone recreationally but I refuse to allow my son to have text message due to the simple fact that text messages are not "convenient", but simply a way to be indirect about situations (kids will be kids).
So on the side of recreational use: just discuss it with your child. i BELIEVE THAT HIGH SCHOOL would be the perfect age (14-18).
Our eldest children are only in 3rd grade. I suspect that when they are in middle school (6th grade) we will give them a cell phones, most likely with texting. I'll monitor their usage and possibly put some restrictions on it, but at that point I'll want to reach them at my convenience, not just theirs. However, their may be restrictions by their schools or afterschool programs, so we'll have to decide when the time comes.
Kids and cell phones are a hot topic. I feel that middle school is an appropriate time for a kid to get a phone. That is when they start wanting to do things with friends, have extracirricular activities they may be involved with, and they start wanting to talk on the phone a lot more. My daughter has been asking for a cell phone since she was in first grade. My answer was a big NO. It surprises me how many kids I do see at the elementary level carrying around phones. I know we live in a technology fueled age now, but younger kids should be more worried about recess than checking their phones.
I will never give my child a cell phone. If my child wants a cell phone then they will have to get a job to pay for it themselves. We are willing to put them on our plan, so that it's cheaper. But we will not pay for it. My husband didn't have a cell phone until he was an adult and could pay for it himself. My mom got me a prepaid cell phone when I was a senior in high school. Before that my parents always gave me one of their cell phones if I wasn't with a friend that had one. I don't see any reason for my child to have one if he can borrow one of ours or if we have his friends' cell phone numbers. If my husband and I could survive without them growing up, then our children can too.
We got our middle school girls phones this year. But not for all those "in case they need to contact their parents" reasons - but b/c I understood the peer pressure to have one. I know - bad parenting. Put it on the list of the mistakes I have/will make with the kids. More on my decision making here on my blog -- http://slackermomof4.blogspot.com/2012/01/blame-it-on-jeans.html
But there are a few conditions
- it stays on the kitchen counter at night, no phones go to the bedrooms after bedtime
- we (mom & dad) can check the messages, texts, emails when and if we choose
- not to be used at the dinner table at home or in a restaurant, not at church
- they can be taken away at anytime - not doing well in school, not keeping up with other must-do activities (piano practice, reading, chores)
- oh and please please don't get it taken away at school - they will never see them again.
I am a divorced mom, and would love to give my 8 year old one of the simple 'kid' cell-phones if I felt she was responsible enough to take care of it. They only have few programmable buttons - mom, dad, 911, etc. I think these would be useful for kids to be able to get in touch with either parent in a split-home situation. Other than that, my child can have a cell phone when two things happen: 1) She has to be responsible enough to keep up with it and 2) She has to have a need for it. For example, an after-school practice that doesn't always end at the same time. Or, an after-school job from which I would need to pick her up. I received my first cell phone at 15, when I started my first job, so I could call my parents and let them know when to pick me up (I closed a restaurant, which could take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour). I plan to follow something similar with my kids.