What's the right age for a child to have their own cell phone?

Jeannine - posted on 06/17/2009 ( 123 moms have responded )

5

24

0

My 9 year old daughter wants a cell phone. Two of her firends have one adn she wants one to text them. When is the right age for kids to have their own cell phone?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Betsy - posted on 06/17/2009

469

22

22

Mine don't get them until they start driving, and they get a basic one. If they want one earlier or want one with extras, they can have a job. I can't stand the lack of adults having manners while attached to their phone, and now starting kids with that habit at 8 or 9 yrs old, I really hate (esp face in the phone texting nonstop or at inappropriate and rude times). Our oldest got his first when he got his license. Our 12 yr old asked for one but we told her straight out it is not a toy, and we aren't started to train her with that rudeness now. When she is driving, she will have one for safety reasons. We see no reason now for safety reasons because we make sure we know where our kids are and how to get in touch with them when needed, so we haven't found a need for that reason. Driving is different. I don't want a child stuck on the side of the road with a flat and no phone. It will be the same for all the younger kids.

Melissa - posted on 06/18/2009

113

14

8

i cant see any reason AT ALL why a 9 year old needs a mobile phone- the "safety" reason doesnt sit well with me because at that age they are likely to be with a responsable adult not out on there own.



Who does a 9 year old call anyway? If you were to give a phone to someone in that age brackett i would suggesting having it blocked to ALL numbers except the parents home/work numbers and emergency numbers, because you couldnt trust who they would call/ call them.

[deleted account]

As a parent and now a grandparent I feel the world is moving too fast and we are allowing our children to grow up to fast. A cell phone is not a necessity. I don't see how any child having a cell phone is a good thing. We should be aware of where childern of a young age are at all times and who they are talking to.

Sarah - posted on 06/18/2009

25

33

4

The right age is when they can pay for it! My daughter is 12 & she's had her phone for 1 year. She pays for the extra line & texting using her allowance & babysitting money. My theory is that if your child thinks they are responsible enough to have a phone, they should be responsible enough to pay for it!

Laura - posted on 09/03/2009

13

0

1

All my kids want one. 11-9-and 8. I old them when they can pay for it they can get it. Not what they wanted to hear. We got my step son one because his mom has no phone and the only way to talk to him is through that. He does not use it other then that. I think at this age in my kids they are not able to keep there room clean, do homework ect they dont need a phone. I did not have tex when I was young we had 3 way lol.



Now if she is repsonsible do a prepaid make her do odd jobs for the money to buy it and then get the min. Make it a lesson its not fun when you have to do all that and tex eats up the min. Good Luck

This conversation has been closed to further comments

123 Comments

View replies by

Kathy - posted on 09/06/2009

688

32

24

I can't really say when is right for who to get a cell... when I was that age no kids had cell phones, but I do know that you can get ones that you as a parent have to program numbers into, I think its 3 or 4 numbers so that they can get ahold of mom, dad or whoever they need to. That way you know its not for social reasons, its for safety reasons. If that wasn't an option and I were to feel a child needed a cell for safety reasons I'd go pre-paid and keep it at a limit, and if they go over they have to pay for it. BUT thats only my opinion...

Karlee - posted on 09/06/2009

2

0

0

My son is 13 years old and I just got him his 1st cell phone this past year. Personally, I feel better knowing that he can call me anytime, from any place, anywhere. And likewise, I can reach him whenever I want. It only costs me an extra $10 a month for the added line and he knew from the beginning that he was limited to calling only people who had the same cell provider (so it's free calling) or he could text as often as he wanted because I have unlimited texting. He's been extremely responsible about following the rules of using it. If he didn't follow the rules...bye bye cell phone.

Lisa - posted on 09/04/2009

3

5

0

l don't like cell phones and kids,it can get pretty expensive and they don't pay the bills.If they had a job and showed good spending habits l would do a trial run.We carry one so they can call us anytime for now ,my boys are 16,18 and l still wont let them have one.

Jackie - posted on 09/03/2009

5

1

1

the right age for a child to have a cell phone is when they are old enough to help pay the bill, which means that they must be old enough to have a part time job and be responsible enough to handle the responsibility of having a phone.

Jeannine - posted on 09/02/2009

5

24

0

I ended up getting my 9 year old a cell phone. I was able to add her to my cellphone bill and we share minutes. She gets 200 texts per month. It is really inexpensive (less than $30 per month) and AT&T offers parental controls (at an extra $5 per month) so I restrict who she can get calls from, who she calls and that she can't access the internet from her phone. She has been very responsible about it all (so far)!

Barbara - posted on 09/02/2009

1

0

0

Quoting Betsy:

Mine don't get them until they start driving, and they get a basic one. If they want one earlier or want one with extras, they can have a job. I can't stand the lack of adults having manners while attached to their phone, and now starting kids with that habit at 8 or 9 yrs old, I really hate (esp face in the phone texting nonstop or at inappropriate and rude times). Our oldest got his first when he got his license. Our 12 yr old asked for one but we told her straight out it is not a toy, and we aren't started to train her with that rudeness now. When she is driving, she will have one for safety reasons. We see no reason now for safety reasons because we make sure we know where our kids are and how to get in touch with them when needed, so we haven't found a need for that reason. Driving is different. I don't want a child stuck on the side of the road with a flat and no phone. It will be the same for all the younger kids.


We agree with Betsy. Children don't need cell phones until they are going places without parents -- when they are driving. In special circumstances (like a trip to the mall with friends), children can be given a family cell phone for that occasion only so that they can call if there's a problem. That way one phone can be shared by all the children.

Ann - posted on 09/01/2009

2

0

0

Well my daughter was about 9, she spent the night with a friend and was left alone in the room during a storm, while her friend got in bed with her mom, i felt so bad for her and decided that if she ever needed to call me she could. She is 13 now, has had her phone for 4 years and is very responsibile with it.

FRANCES - posted on 08/31/2009

16

17

0

Well, I believe that a good age is 12 years old as long as they seem to be somewhat mature and responsible enough. I gave my daughther her first cell phone when she entered the 6th grade. And it was a good time for me, only you know if it would be a good time. She is now 15 and no lost phones, only upgrades of course.

Joanne - posted on 08/29/2009

1

0

0

I have 3 boys, 13, 11 and 7. As soon as the boys are able to go out and play with their friends without being watched I believe it is time for a cell phone. I want to be able to reach them anywhere. My 2 boys got them for their 11th birthday. They agree do chores every Saturday and behave and be respectful always. Then they can keep their phone. It is a great way to teach them responsibility and accountability. Good luck.

Ann - posted on 08/29/2009

1

4

0

Allow her to call her friends on home phone - with a time limit - too young for cell phone - phone is not a toy and should not be treated as such.

Shawna - posted on 08/29/2009

1

11

0

My daughter is 8 and has wanted a cell phone for a year. She had a pre paid phone and lost it 2 days later, so I knew she was not ready at that time. She rides the bus this year and so far, the bus has been over an hour late getting her home. I'm a big worry wart, and I thought if she had a cell phone, I would at least know she was safe. I work for AT&T wireless and they have a feature called Smart Limits. It allows the parent to set limits for texts, calls and downloads. It also allows you to block #'s, and time of day (so they can't text/ call during school). I've seen outrageous charges on customer's bills due to their kid's text use- this feature is a great way to avoid that. Anyway, I agree with the mom's comments that the child should learn about responisibility by helping to pay for the phone each month. That may make it a lot easier to take better care of it. :) Good Luck!

Chrissy - posted on 08/29/2009

19

32

3

It depends on the child...you have to ask yourself??? Are they responsible enough? Is it for safety? Is it just becasue their friends have one? THen weigh the pros and cons and you will see the right answer. My childern were 12 years old, and they got a basic phone for emergencys only...nO TEXT, no WEB......and then when they got older, in High school....I slowly added features.

Eileen - posted on 08/29/2009

2

5

0

Starting high school. They're more responsible. I bet a 9 yr. old will lose their phone 10 times before high school even begins! If you give a child a cell phone younger, it's definitely a status thing.

Edna - posted on 08/29/2009

1

16

0

I am a concerned Grandmother of 2 grandaughters,ages 9 & 8 who both want one already!

Liset - posted on 08/29/2009

3

18

0

I think that any child that is allowed to walk to school by him/her self or is allowed to play in the neighborhood or walk to friends houses should have a cell phone. now as far as texting my daughter just got texting this year and she pays for it out of her allowence she is 13.

Cynthia - posted on 08/28/2009

5

13

0

Firefly is a good cell phone for a 9 year old. My son had one, you can program it so she can only call certain numbers and/or receive from certain numbers. Good item, there is a 911 button, a mommy and daddy button..... It lights up when it rings. Downside, my son felt it became babyfide. You can also roll over minutes not used.....

Sonia - posted on 08/28/2009

4

1

0

I don't think there is a right age for every child. Every child is different. My 11 year old daughter wants one, but she can't keep up with her purse, shoes, backpack, etc. I'm not about to give her a cell phone with her lack of responsibility right now. We are working on it though. I would say that when they can use it responsibly and keep up with it responsibly then they could be ready.

Sonia - posted on 08/28/2009

4

1

0

I've never been one to try to keep up with the crowd, but I gave my children each a phone when they turned 12 years old or graduated into junior high, whichever came first. With all the threats on school shootings and sexual misconduct in schools, I wanted my children to be armed with something they could use to get help. They keep it with them at all times, but it is always on silent during school hours. It is to be used strictly for emergencies. My kids are very trust-worthy at this point in their life, but they do know that I will randomly check their phone for incoming and outgoing calls and texts during school hours. They also know that their free social time on the phone is limited or restricted if the rules are violated at other times, such as during school. My oldest daughter is now almost 17 and has had a cell phone since she was 12 years old. I have not had one problem with the misuse of the phones.

[deleted account]

My older son...starting about 7th or 8th grade, we "loaned him" a phone whenever he would be out (at a football game, for example) and when he started driving we gave him a phone full time. We gave our younger son a phone earlier, at age 12, because he was going to spend many hours volunteering at a zoo, and we needed to be able to contact him for pickup times. He does not use it much for social calling or texting.



There's no right age. I wouldn't have given them the phones for social reasons, just for safety and peace of mind.

Belinda - posted on 08/28/2009

4

20

0

It comes down to what they need it for, we have just purchased a phone each for my 12yo and 10yo, the only reason they need the phone is because they have just started catching the bus to school. It is a safety measure so that we (my husband and I) know that they are safe and sound and have made it to school. At all other times the phones are switched off. Kids have to feel safe and know that they have direct contact with their parents should something go wrong. Personally if the phone was just to text her friends i would not be purchasing one. Hope this helps

Jodi - posted on 08/27/2009

4

3

0

They can have a phone when they can pay the bill themselves. I believe having a phone also opens up more avenues for bulling. I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to keep up with everyone else. My teens know if it is an emergency the school or sporting function will always have an adult present who can call.

Tiffani - posted on 08/27/2009

1

2

0

My husband and I have purchased my children cell phones, with a lot of fear and worry.....but...I must say that it was the best thing we have done. Occassionally, they have been released from practices early, or encountered storms requiring a quicker pick up than planned. My kids are 7 and 9....and I have never regretted this purchase. On more than one occasion, it came in handy when they were at a friends house and they just needed to "talk to mommy or daddy" in order to feel better. Also, I think that the option to text allows them to communicate things that might go otherwise unsaid (texting is less confrontational and less intimidating).

--- - posted on 08/05/2009

369

2

15

when they are old enough to work and pay for the bill as well as sign on their own contract without a co signer. IMO a 9 yr old does not need a cell phone, especially for texting. Kids are growing way to fast these days. if it is a safety issue I would let them borrow mom or dads phone.
I am in my twenties and I don't have a cell!

Krissi - posted on 08/05/2009

1

7

0

I have to agree with OVER half the women on here, there is NO reason for a child that young to have a cell phone. I know where my daughter is at all times, so again the whole "safety reasons" doesnt sit with me either. My husband and I have decided to make our daughter (9yrs old) wait until she actually has a reason for one and she can pay for it herself. (Although I admit, it gets kinda of annoying when her little friends who DO have their own phone, call my phone ALL the time! The thought of allowing a pre-paid phone has crossed my mind! But as annoying as it is...we are sticking to our guns! :)

Kendra - posted on 08/05/2009

22

9

0

I think its silly and unnecessery to have one that young! I think when they can drive and get a jobto pay the bill they can have one.

Margaret - posted on 08/02/2009

2

0

0

I did not stae myself clearly. The young mother was the product of our society. Her illness and her family's disfunction made the right phone call for help impossible. I called for compassion for one another. You are all very young, and none of us know what the future will be for us and our children. I have seen society, family unit deteriorate since JFK. Gadgets are contributing immencely to this deterioation. Parents mean well when they allow phones etc, etc...however it gets out of hand before you know it. The gadets become an addiction, and it affects evryone around them. Not everyone guides their kids as Corrine Strickler states. Most don't. Just say no. Yes, Corrine whether you realized it or not this is very revelant to what happened in Texas.

Teresa - posted on 08/01/2009

5

20

0

Our oldest child, our son got his first cell phone when he got his first job and had his drivers license, it was prepaid. I did not even have a cell phone. But I realized I liked the idea of him having one if he was out driving, he also has juvenile diabetes so it made me feel better. My daughter got her first prepaid when she was I believe in the 8th grade, when she had people to call. We eventually decided that a family plan would be good so we now all have phones. I agree with the rudeness of people talking and texting on them when they are in a conversation with someone else. I get aggrivated when I am having a conversation with someone and they stop to text someone I feel like I am intruding or something. My daughter who is now heading off to college is constantly getting text messages. I am very happy she has one to take to college. As for one comment that we used to get along without them that is true but I do believe that life is much easier sometimes that we do have them and our mothers probably wished they would of had them when we were little. Altough my own mother used to get aggravated at people calling her on the home phone all the time.

[deleted account]

I agree with Lisa form Canada,

I think that 9 yrs old is too young to be out on their own anywhere, even the local park. A cell phone is not something that kids need. Where are they going alone that they need that kind of safety? We have two cell phones in my house and the second is in case my 13 yrs old is going out with a friend or for my husband to have when he is out. . Otherwise she uses our landline to call friends and IM instead of texting. When she gets a job she can have her own phone.

There are some good reasons that kids need them and I think that what feels right to you is going to be your answer.

Keli - posted on 07/31/2009

1

24

0

My 10 year old son has a cell phone he uses for travel, sports, or even if he is running around with his buddies on bikes. When I started him out with a cell phone I bought a pre-paid version. I wanted to see how he would handle the minutes and care of the phone. He is very responsible, and so after a year and a half of buying minutes and watching for minutes not to expire before use I felt the cheaper way to go was to add him to my plan. He does not use many minutes and he is only really calling myself or his father, but for sporting events where only one parent is available splitting time between multiple fields is difficult. My kids are 3 yrs apart so there is no way of combining teams. With the coaches supervision I can leave my oldest and trust he will contact me when I need to be there to pack up and head up.

Jenny - posted on 07/27/2009

1

16

0

In this day and age when families are so diverse and divorce rate is extremely high, I recently got my 11yr old son a cell phone when he moved in with his father. He lives 1hr and 15min away from me and I wanted him to be able to call me whenever he wants without having to speak to his father. We get along but sometimes I just want to be able to talk with my son without having to go through dad. It is also nice when he is home with me and he wants to go to his friends house I can get a hold of him whenever i want. I make him do chores to pay for it and I also monitor all of his incoming and outgoing text messages. He is well aware of it also. I let him know right off the bat that if I found out he was using it irresponsibly it would be taken away. So far so good:)

Jen - posted on 07/26/2009

14

1

0

My 12 year old step daughter and 10 year old step son both have phones. It's almost necessary since they are in two different households, but I still have reservations. When my sd first got her phone she was told she had unlimited texts. Unfortunately, it was only unlimited to other people with the same service/carrier, and her mom only realized that when she got a $1200 phone bill for one month!! She has since changed the plan, but now my sd is CONSTANTLY texting!!! I mean non-stop. I find it very annoying and rude, and I've had to ask her to put her phone away when we are around other people. I also worry about "sexting", but my husband doesn't think he needs to check her texts, that it is invading her privacy. I feel that a 12 year old using a phone paid for by her parents doesn't get privacy like that, but as the step parent I'm not in a position to do anything. There are a lot of things you need to consider. I don't think a 9 year old "needs" to text her friends.

Leigh - posted on 07/26/2009

285

25

21

When they can afford to pay for it themselves, whether or not that means they have to be of age to get a job, or to use their own 'pocket money'. That way when they lose it, they realise what it takes to own a personal possession that needs to be looked after.

Tammy - posted on 07/26/2009

1

0

0

I am a mom of an 18 yr old and a 13 yr old. both got there phones when they each finished 6th grade. It is nice to be able to get in touch w/ the younger one when he is out and about in the neighborhood. He has several houses he is allowed to go to and I can always reach him with the phone. My 18 yr old is another story. I have found inappropriate pictures and text messages on his phone when he was 16, kids have enough temptation out there, cells just make it that much easier to have access to it. It's a tough decision, which has to based on you and your child. Just take into consideration all these post here. Each mom has made some really good points.

Ma. Doloraida (dolly) - posted on 07/26/2009

1

20

0

my son, 8 years old has a cellphone, but he is not yet particularly interested in it nor using it very much. i only have his yaya to bring it when i will need to call him about something or has an activity that needs confirming. i have no problem communicating with him when he is in school because the school is nearby, so you see there is really not much need for him to have a cellphone. but for those who live far and uses a school bus for their children, a cellphone i think, is a must but make sure it is the cheapest one. afterall, you only need to communicate with him or her.

Kimberly - posted on 07/24/2009

2

3

0

My seven year old daughter has had a cell phone for a little over a year. Let me state that the reason for this is becuase I turned our residential phone off last year and it is a internet line only. I did this in a effort to household expenses. However, my concern was for her safety in case their was in emergency in our home. I am since upgrarded her phone to a family plan so she will always have calling time. She does not know her number and not calling friends to talk. I have placed the important numbers in her phone and this also allow her the opportunity to call her Dad whenever she chooses and he can do the same. She takes pictures and we forwarded them to her Dad. This system work for us.

Wendy - posted on 07/24/2009

3

8

0

It does depend on the child and why you think they need one. I got one for my son when he was 13. I had started school and was in the band. He had band pratice after school and i wanted him to be able to call me if it let out early . Plus trips. I remember being on a trip with school someone got sick and we where 2 hours late getting back. My mom was so scared and mad. i didn't want to wait the 45 min in line at school whne we got back to let her know we wherer ok. It's nice to now your child can call you if something happin on a trip to let you now hwat was going on.

Sabrina - posted on 07/24/2009

2

15

0

My daughter is eight right now and has had a phone for about 3 years. But I think our case is different than most. She visits her father on the other side of the state. He doesn't have long distance. This is how she can still communicate with friends, family, and others outside of his very small town. She has shown great maturity with it. She knows the rules (hours it can be used, not allowed on during church or after school activities or dinner) and knows not to answer unless it shows up a name from the address book. If we weren't in this situation, I am confident that she would not have one yet, just because there would be no need for it. You know your child best. If you feel that their is a need, there are lots of ways to ensure that it is used properly...and it's always easily taken away if the privelege is abused.

Andrea - posted on 07/24/2009

1

5

0

My daughter is 8 and I have a phone for her, but she doesn't carry it with her. I have it for when we go places like the state fair or large theme parks so we can get a hold of her in case we get separated. I have at&t with unlimited text, free mobile to mobile and tons of minutes, and since it was only $10/mo to add her to the plan, I figure it is worth the cost :-)

[deleted account]

My kids are grown and I have Grandkids but I see NO REASON for a 9-year old to have a cell phone. At 9-years old when there are with friends I would hope that a responsible adult was supervising. Kids today don't have much to look forward to because it is given to most of them on a Silver Platter. They do not know the value of earning or waiting for anything.

Tracy - posted on 07/24/2009

8

22

0

Hi ! Both of my children have had cell phones for 7 years now.Their ages were 11 and 8 when they got them... Why so young... When they are out in the neighborhood I can locate them. if we are seperated in a store, mall, grocery, anywhere I can locate them.. You can also "track " their locations, texts, etc. I have STRICT rules about time and when it is appropriate(not in school) but bring it and turn it off. Also my rule #1 if I call and you don't answer I WILL take it away.. They have ALWAYS answered. and it has come in handy countless times.. You must be careful to tell them NOT to give it out to just anyone and Never, Never post it or text it to anyone they don't know. I would have a preschooler have one for these reasons ! just remember everyone you as the parent must monitor everything and all will be well ! Good Luck.. Oh and by the way don't by the fancy new ones.. they always break or drop the first ones and always take the insurance !!

Amy - posted on 07/24/2009

16

26

1

There is also the whole pay & go phones too. Still think they need to be older, but also if they are having to pay for their own minutes & texting with their allowance or job, then they would have more respect & responsibility. Then if the minutes are out, they are out...but 911 still works!

Have we seriously moved to an age that we need to "track" our kids instead of actually knowing where they are or being able to trust them? I can't remember much of why any child needs a phone at all when they spend most all their time during the day with their peers in school & activities. What happened to down time & family time? And what happened to just talking to your kids over dinner or on the way home from school? "I don't know" is not an answer, nor is silence....

Sorry ...on a soap box.

Jammie - posted on 07/24/2009

24

6

3

I got my daughter at cell phone at 11. She is now 13 and without her cell phone because she couldn't keep her grades up. Then gave her a set of rules to along with it. Rules like she can only use it on off peck times, must keep grades up, and I need to know everyone she is calling on the phone. She has lost the phone while out on a class trip. But it is up to you. If the only reason she wants one is because her friends have one the no she is not ready for the phone. But if you do decide to get the phone remember to set limits. I am all for no texting until they can pay the bill. But most companys do have parental controls for cell phones. But pick the right company, ATT charges $5 a month for the parental control which I think is a little much for something that should come with it. But what ever you choose to do make sure it is right for you and your child, and look at all the pros and cons, including health issues before going out and buying a cell phone.

Monica - posted on 07/24/2009

5

1

0

I waited until my daughter was a freshman in highschool. There was absolutely no reason for her to have a phone before then. I always knew where she was. The only reason she wanted one is because of all her friends. She is now going to be a senior and all the texting drives me nuts. Kids don't even talk to each other on the phone anymore.

Martha - posted on 07/24/2009

2

8

0

WOW I have just read all the previous posts and it was like a book that all pretty much said the same thing...but 2 things caught my attention....1 - out of all the posts only 2 mentioned health concerns and everyone mentioned safety concerns....to me they both go hand in hand the reason we are getting cell phones for our kids is to keep them healthy and safe, but do you realize getting a cell phone is hurting their health? The second was the amount of people who are second guessing the environment where their children go. I understand that there are a lot of crazy people out there who pray on kids...I lived thorugh Bundy at UF and all of these girls had land lines....if there is a preaditor and their intent is to get your child they need to know more than how to dial a phone as these girls didn't have time to dial their phones and I don't think a cell phoen would have been any quicker, we should be teaching our kids how to defend themselves the first thing they need to do is run to the nearest MOMMY find the nearest woman with kids and hold on...Teach them to scream make noise stand out don't blend...predators don't want attention so draw it and they will most likely leave, teach them to note things like hair, clothes, things like that...waht's goign to happen when they call you and say some man asked me to get in the car and can't tell the police what the man looked like...It's your call about the cell phone and everyone has their opinions and ideas about the criterion for gettign one, I am just suggesting it be coupled with some education....explain the health risks, learn how to be courteous to others and know that it is not your safety blanket.....many of you have talked about the good old days without phones and I truly miss that, but what I don't miss is being stuck in the middle of no where with no link to home....I ask a question, when did you let your kids use the computer and why, were they playing games or learning their ABC's?....we have all embraced the computer as a tool and taught our kids how to use it...anymore with the iPhone and many other PDA's your cell is a pocket PC and is looked at as an extension of it. My point through all of this is to educate your kids and when you fell they are old enough to understand all of the important things you feel using a cell phone enables then they are old enough to get one. Thanks for reading my post!

[deleted account]

i think high school is a good age.
primary school kids should either be with mum or with someone safe watching them!

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms