Cell Phones

Maxine - posted on 05/16/2010 ( 205 moms have responded )

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At what age do you feel is appropriate to give your child a cell phone?

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Jessie - posted on 05/20/2010

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I believe it depends on the child-but my daughter didn't start using a phone until she was 16-mainly because there was no need for her to have 1 before that, ( I believe a child doesn't need a cell until they are spending more time away from home, other than just going to school ) but also because it was not in our budget, and she got a part time job when she was 16-but as long as it is used properly, and closely monitored by the parents, any age can be appropriate...

Sue - posted on 05/20/2010

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Depends completely on the maturity of the child! My 14 year old niece has one, and that's fine since her parents are great about seeing that she's responsible with it. My 14 year old son is jolly well going to have to wait awhile - I know very well he just can't handle it yet. He's still far too impulsive. Using the prospect of a cell as a teaching tool about money is also a fabulous idea.

Felecia - posted on 05/20/2010

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When they are driving or if they are in situations that require them to be separate from you for extended periods of time. This does not include school because if there is a real emergency at school, they will be able to get in contact with you.

Wendy - posted on 05/20/2010

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When my son is old enough to get a job, thats when he can have a mobile. So he's got a long way yet lol

Jodi - posted on 05/20/2010

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I just want to give another example of circumstances which may prompt people to have mobile phones for their kids, for the simple reason that I don't think everyone can judge circumstances.



A friend of mine passed away a couple of weeks ago, leaving behind her husband and 2 children (ages 13 and 10). Those boys NEED mobile phones. They have NEEDED them for a long time, because she has been ill for quite some time. Because family and friends have been (and continue to be) needed to help run around after the boys, their phones have been invaluable at times. For instance, tomorrow night, I have to pick one of the boys up from school and bring him back here for the weekend. At least I know he has his phone with him so if I can't find him I can call him. Believe me, many a time these boys have NEEDED their phones with a very sick mother and a father trying to keep the shit together.



So I guess my point is, when you decide to judge someone about this, just keep in mind that sometimes circumstances do deem them necessary, and unless you've experienced the necessity of it, you should reserve judgement.

Carla - posted on 05/20/2010

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I believe you give a child a cell phone, when he or she truly needs one. By this I mean, when your child is at the point that you must or are able to drop him or her off at functions and pick them back up later. If you are staying there, no point in having a phone yet? If your child would need to use a payphone to call you, then a cell phone could replace that inconvience. Until then, just a novelity, and a pain, as you have to watch out for all that texting! My first son got his when we were dropping him off at karate, around age fourteen, then running his two younger brothers to baseball, as we two parents were outnumbered! We felt we needed him to be able to contact us if and when he needed us. So it was a practical choice, not a luxury.

Ginger - posted on 05/20/2010

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When they start spending time out of your care and may need to call for help. When my son started middle school he started taking the bus to play basketball at the local park, We gave him a cell phone and an ATM card and kept a minimum of $20 so he could get money if there was an emergency.

Chris - posted on 05/19/2010

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yes, mine is a prepaid phone also. and it is great when on those rare days i let my daughter walk home. she has had to call me when there was trouble opening the door. or when she has a sleepover and i want to reach her. it's just so convenient. but she follows the rules, so it's a privilege and she deserves it. and so do i ... :)

Karen - posted on 05/19/2010

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My son got a pre-paid cell phone this year for Easter. He's 10 and we got it for him just incase he is out with us and gets seperate from us or when he starts middle school and attends after school functions where he may need to get a hold of us to pick him up.

Leslee - posted on 05/19/2010

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that was the best part. I could always get in touch with him. And he always answered. Made me feel good knowing where he was and with whom. It did help too when I needed to be called to pick him up.

Chris - posted on 05/19/2010

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depending on child, of course, but i would think that 13 might be okay. i gave my daughter one but she is only able to call ME at age 12 so that she doesn't have to stand in line to call me from school. and i can call her. i'll open up more options as she ages. she has been very good with the cell phone.

Leslee - posted on 05/19/2010

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My son got his in middle school. I think that's early enough unless you have children who walk to and from school,etc. And it is a privilege.

Shawna - posted on 05/19/2010

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My husband and I moved to a state where it's just us, no other family, so our children really don't have anyone else to call should they need something. Considering this fact, I gave both of my sons one of those prepaid cell phones when they were in 3rd and 4th grade. The phone is to be used to call us when they're out and need us or maybe if we're late picking them up from somewhere, we can call them (or vice versa) and let them know we're running late. The phone is for emergency use only and they understand that.

Cindy - posted on 05/19/2010

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Interesting topic, my oldest is one, so this isn't an issue for me yet. Things have certainly changed since I was a kid/teen and it hasn't been very long. There use to be payphones everywhere and they actually worked, so as long as you had some change you could call home or whoever. Now payphones are few and hard to find. I think it is great that parents and kids have a way to always be in touch if needed, because we live in a very scary time and that is somewhat a piece of mind.

Colleen - posted on 05/19/2010

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I've got to say that I hated seeing Children at my sons Primary School talking on their Mobiles. I was one of these mothers that didn't belive that Children should have mobiles. We live in a Family orientated Neighbourhood and I found that my son (Aged 10) started heading out a lot more over the weekends and after school to play with the Children in the Area. In todays society I feel as though we should know where our Children are at all times. I purchased a new phone for myself and gave my son my old one and put it on a 6 month prepaid. I only put $30 on it every 6 months to keep the number running. Even though it's not often that I call him at least I have peace of mind that I'm able to if needed. He knows that he's not to make calls unless it's an emergency, if he needs to talk to me he hangs up after 2 rings and I call him back. This phone does not go to school. If there's an emergency at school the school will call.
Purchasing a Mobile for your Child does depend on the circumstances. I have been a single Mother since my son was born so I have found being without him when he's not at school is hard.
I wish you all the best and I'm sure with everybodys wondeful comments you'll find the best solution for your family

Joy - posted on 05/19/2010

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I have read many of your comments about cell phone use with kids, and I do understand what you are all saying. I can't say what age is appropriate for cell phone use with children, but I do know as an educator, that there is a huge decline in what they can produce in a classroom because of their lack of social skills now that they are provided with technology to communicate, rather than good old fashion, sitting and talking with someone. I can understand that we live in a much different world than what most of us grew up in, but as a parent, we need to make sure that we will monitor the use of cell phones. Whether we have a valid reason for providing them with a phone, I believe we need to monitor how much they use it and for what. I have a step daughter that is constantly texting, and is so absorbed in that world, that I often have to remind her that she needs to put it away. She mainly uses it because it is the "IN" thing, and has gone through way too many phones for someone as young as she is.
Whatever age you decide to allow your child to have a phone, I hope that you will know when the phone needs to be taken away when it gets out of hand, if that ever happens. Trust me, if she lived with my husband and I, the phone would have gone a long time ago. My 17 year old has one and is responsible, but he doesn't have texting on his phone. I firmly believe that although a child may need to be in possession of a phone, texting is not a necessity, it is just an extra feature. Some children over use it, and as a teacher I can see the down side of it.
Good luck on your decision!!

Kate - posted on 05/19/2010

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Let children be children let them enjoy childhood. When you feel and know that your child is responsible then you can allow your child a cell phone. It can be handy in the sense of emergency so it is up to the situation.

Ana - posted on 05/19/2010

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I think middle school is a good time to determine phones, elementary school is too young for the responsibility in my opinion.

Katherine - posted on 05/19/2010

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Very interesting conversation, but I don't see any mention of a couple of very important issues. First of all, radiation. A child's skull is still soft and the radiation goes right through and poses a much higher risk of brain tumors. Check out these two links I pasted, and goggle for yourself in order to learn more about it. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articl...
Secondly, none of us grew up with cell phones, it's too much responsibility for kids, and this is their time to be kids and carefree. I really feel that many parents use these phones as baby sitters when they should be with their kids. I agree with Kerri Witte, adults need to be more involved with their kids. I refuse to buy my children cell phones until they start driving, and even then it will be limited. They need to develop strong social skills first and I don't think texting promotes appropriate social skills. Think hard about this one because once you give them one you will probably not be able to take it back if you change your mind. The radiation alone is enough reason for me.
Good luck!

Donna - posted on 05/19/2010

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When they know how to use it properly and it's best to buy pay as you go so you don't end up with a huge phone bill. I wish they had cell phones when my kids were little.

Beth - posted on 05/19/2010

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I made my oldest wait until he was 13, but I also thought about his responsiblity level. He took good care of his Ipod, which he received at age 12, so I knew he was ready. I think it has a lot to do with their responsibility factor.

Andrea - posted on 05/19/2010

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I am an over-protective mother so I bought one of those prepaid virgin mobile phones, for her to answer when she goes to her dad's or at anyone else's... she gets to talk to me whenever she feels as if she wants to come home... and I don't have to go through other people to contact her...my kid is only 4, will be 5 in august... judge if you want...

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We gave our daughter one going into middle school since she will be walking 2 blocks each day. We just want her to be safe.

Candice - posted on 05/19/2010

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When they can pay for it themselves! Mobiles were'nt always around and we got by in the 'simpler' days. I am 27 and only use mine for an emergency or if I need to contact someone when I'm out.

Sarah - posted on 05/19/2010

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It completely depends on the child and their level of maturity. I do think that there is actually a lot greater of a need for chidren to have cell phones nowadays then there used to be. When I was younger kids didn't NEED cell phones, but almost every family had a house phone as opposed to many only having cell phones. Additionally, you used to be able to find a payphone EVERYWHERE, gas stations, grocery stores, parks, malls, movie theaters, etc. Now it is extremely rare to see a payphone that works. We used to carry change to call if we needed to, now how are kids supposed to get ahold of their parents? I refuse to keep my kids so sheltered that they don't have the freedom to go some places without me so they will need a phone at a younger age than I did! For us, probably not before 11 or 12, but every child is different.

Alexandra - posted on 05/19/2010

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I would have to say no earlier than 5th grade... granted they do good in school.. responsible when it comes to picking up after themselves and getting homework done... OR like most have said til they can pay for it

Shawna - posted on 05/19/2010

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College. This giving kids cell phones as 10 year olds and14,15. I say when they can pay for their own phones then it is OK other than that no cell phone!

Lisa - posted on 05/19/2010

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My kids will get a cell phone the summer before highschool, (which is 18 months or so) unless something changes. They will have to pay the bill out of thier allowance. I think it is important that kids, have both freedom and responsibility, and a cell phone is a excellent tool that can be used in the pursuit of both, safety and back-up when exploring their freedom, and the responsibility of learning to pay the bills.

Angela - posted on 05/19/2010

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Interesting debate. There is some good science showing that heavy use of a cellphone is correlated with cancer. (non-ionizing radiation), and that this risk is more pronounced in children a) because they will be using cellphones longer than the rest of us and b) because they are still developing.
That said, the immediate safety concern is valid. I would give my son a low radiation cellphone when he begins to have very regular activities away from adult supervision. I guess around 14 years old? I would limit the minutes to prevent excessive use and explain the primary purpose is to stay in contact with Mom and Dad with "some" use with friends. If he fails in the primary use for Mom and Dad, then I would restrict the minutes further or remove the phone until he gets the picture.
Sound reasonable?

Jeannine - posted on 05/19/2010

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I have four children, 4, 7, 14, and 17. My 17-year old is not responsible enough for me to trust him with a phone that I purchase. Since he is too laze to get a job, and often loses something as basic as his house key, he does not have a phone.

However, my 14-year-old daughter is a source of mixed information. She has several before and after school activities which often make it necessary for her to use her phone to find a ride home or let me know where she is. We live in a small town, and her school is in the next town over, so walking is not an option.

I once was adamant that a child under 15 did not NEED a cell phone. Since age 9, she begged and begged for a phone because "all of her friends" had one. However, as my chlidren matured, I have found it a convenience for me. I broke down and got her a phone for Christmas after she turned 12. I want to allow my child the independence she has developed and has shown responsibility for. At first, it was a major issue, and she was calling me all the time. So, we set boundaries, and I have since changed to where she can text me anytime because it is less bothersome when I am at work or school. She has been known to overuse it when she is at her dad's and he has the right to take it away from her. A right he doesn't often use, but knows that he has.

My 7-year-old does not need a phone. I don't see him as being a responsible person with one. I believe he will be at least 12, if not 15 before the discussion even comes into play. I think that people who give cell phones to children before they are 12, are not being involved in their children's lives. They allow their children to control their own destiny before they are old enough to understand what it is that they are controlling.

Children want boundaries. They will never ask for them, but if you don't set them, they will learn that they can do whatever they want, and will stop asking you for your advice.

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I don't think that there is any magical age that makes a person ready for a cell phone. Our children are all different. One is away from us quite frequently while another is not. One is very resposnible and doesn't lose everything given to her while another is constantly losing, breaking or forgetting something. the decision for a phone should definaely be based upon the needs and responsibilities of the child.

Leah - posted on 05/19/2010

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Not until they are in their mid teens and can pay for their usage. I see absolutely no reason for a child to have a cell phone. It is utterly ridiculous and partly to blame for the way children are today. Maybe without cell phones they will actually learn to speak proper English, communicate with people verbally and spend more time reading a good book or finding inventive ways to have fun. Just my opinion!!!!

Lizanka - posted on 05/19/2010

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i would say when the child is about 8 or 9 years old, depends of how mature & responsible the child is. a cell phone is very often a neccesity especially in ny.

Conni-ann - posted on 05/19/2010

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I AGREE WITH YOU 100% WE ARE TALKING ABOUT A PHONE HERE. PRIVELAGES FOR A PHONE? WHY IS EVERYONE SO OBSESSED WITH PHONES? THE CHILDREN SHOULD BE LEARNING AND DISCOVERING AND BEING TAUGHT HOW TO SOCIALIZE AND ALL THAT OTHER STUFF. INSTEAD THEY ARE TURNING INTO ZOMBIES. I THINK THE PHONE THING IS WORSE THAN THE DAMN VIDEO GAMES!

Conni-ann - posted on 05/19/2010

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sometimes im sick of a cell phone. it gives me anxiety always ringing all the time. and the truth of the matter is, if they didnt take all the pay phones away, we wouldnt need cell phones. I feel you only need them for an emergency.But back to the question,I dont feel a child needs a cell,she isnt gonna be out of my sight any way. if she is it would be with a family member. and if she needs me in school she will call me from the office. i think kids today are to involved with texting and all that stuff. they should go out and play and explore like children were meant to do.

Alice - posted on 05/19/2010

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Consider the radiation that cell phones emit and do you want your child exposed to it. See CNET for articles or do a google search. The skulls of children are thinner and therefore their brains are more likely to damaged. Wait until they are teenagers for this reason.

Lacy - posted on 05/19/2010

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I think that they could have a cell phone once understand that money doesn't grow on trees and they have to work for what they want.

Becky - posted on 05/19/2010

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When they are old enough to go places on their own, our kids will likely get a cell phone for emergency use. So probably around age 12-13. It will probably be a pay and talk and won't have text or internet on it. When they can pay for it themselves, if they want to get one with text, etc, they can, but I won't bail them out if they go over on their minutes. And once they can drive, if I ever catch them texting and driving, they'll lose both the phone and car privileges!
I don't think a young child needs a cell phone, because they are always going to be either with you or with another adult who likely would have a phone if they needed to use one to call you or whatever.

Carolyn - posted on 05/19/2010

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ok well i read some of the posts. I put my 2 boys on my plan with limited access and i meen limited all they have is calling in and out i restricted the Internet. I put a block on the phone all they can do is call me or the family on there phone and they are fine with it. He is 11 he was 9 when he got his first phone for prepaid i gave him 2 years to shoow me he is responsable and he is on my plan now, but i manly got them for emergency reasons only. so both kids are good on emergency contacts they are safe. That is the only reason they got them.

Bree - posted on 05/19/2010

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I started my kids with a prepaid phone at age 12 for times when they are away from me. When they are home, the phone goes in a kitchen cabinet. At 13 I got them a phone with an unlimited plan to use with their friends. I think that the childs maturity has more to do with it than their age, but most kids don't NEED a cell phone. I have 6 kids, and I like the idea of a "community phone" that whatever child would be away from me, they could take it.

Tammy - posted on 05/19/2010

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I agree...it depends on the circumstances. My son is only 8 but I did get him a cell phone. Having said that, let me explain: I am divorced and my ex and I share 50/50 custody. There are times my son would like to talk to me when he is at dad's or talk to his other grandparents (my parents) and dad is not always around etc...or wants to know what Zachary is doing with the phone etc. Zachary's father and step mom only have cell phones so there is no phone inside the house. I got it for him for safety and so he can make calls when he misses family. HOWEVER there are blocks on his phone. He can only call and receive calls from people I choose for him. Same with texts. The phone does not work at all during school hours. It has turned out to be a great idea, and he has learned more responsibility.

Yalina - posted on 05/19/2010

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I always tell my daughter that she can get a cellphone when she can pay for it.

I don't think she will need it until she goes away for college.

Ingrid - posted on 05/19/2010

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As a high school teacher, may I just say that I wish cell phones had never been invented?!?! The kids use them CONSTANTLY. I spend time every day either confiscating them or reminding kids to put them away. And frequently their response? "That text was from my mom/dad about picking me up after school." or something like that. Now granted, they are lying part of the time, but please parents! Train your kids to keep their phones OFF (they completely believe that the vibrate setting is the same thing) and don't call them or text them during class. They are completely baffled when I tell them that back in my day (which actually wasn't that long ago, I'm only 35) if there was a family emergency parents just called the school directly and the message got to the classroom moments later. I swear to them that old fashioned methods like that still work:)

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