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It's Life It's Parenting

What age should kids have a cell phone?

September 8, 2017

My son is 11….he has a cell phone but it wasn’t because of some great conversation that we had. When my hubs died the cell phones were in my name so I was under contract. It meant either breaking the contract and paying $200 bucks or keeping the phone to give to my son. When the hubs died my son was about to be 10….I felt it wasn’t the age yet. The hubs and I talked and we were going to wait until he was 12 years old for a phone. Life doesn’t quite work out how you planned and now I have an extra phone that I needed to do something with. The deciding factor came when my son went with one of his friends and I called the mom to check on my son.

Me: Hey this is Dman’s Mom I was just calling to check on him

The mom: Oh let me call my sons cell to see where they are (she has a big house and I guess she didn’t feel like yelling for him)

Me: Your son has a cell phone?

The mom: Yep lol actually your son is the only one here that doesn’t have one

I felt bad because here I am the only mom calling the mom instead of the child. That night I thought about it….in middle school I had a beeper (yes I know I am telling my age) and I was fine. I got my first cell phone in high school and it wasn’t as advanced as it is now. I decided to give my son the hubs phone and explained some rules to him.

  1. I am on all social media and I have passwords to everything….there will be no questions. Until you leave my house I need to have access to everything. I don’t care if you 17….you still in my house. My house, my rules. I won’t embarrass you or call you out for white lies or anything I just need to be aware of what you are doing. My son has a lock on his phone. I have the key code and I also have the passwords to everything he has access too. He is on snapchat and he has rules on how he can post. Only post a snap if he is in his room. Nowhere else in my home can he post a snap. He can’t show the outside of my house nor the number house we live in. He can’t show his sister room or anything else. He can snap anything public and he can snap if he is allowed at school with his friends. I will be following you on snapchat to monitor everything. So far he has had no problems with it and as a matter of fact he is hardly on snapchat lol
  2. I need to get your phone for random checks. Are you talking to a girl, what are you watching on youtube, who are you emailing. I need to know all of it and I will grab his phone to do random checks whenever I feel like it
  3. School work comes first. If you are failing anything I take the phone for the week. One failing grade equal a week of no phone. Yes an entire week…I am not here to play. You can operate that phone you can operate your mind and do your school work

So far we have had no problems with the phone he has had it for a year now (I gave it to him on his 10th birthday). He texts his friends and they use a lot of emojis but mostly he is on his xbox (which is another set of problems because he plays live with all types of people) He rarely uses his email and he only has snapchat so far. I have a location app on his phone that monitors his whereabouts at all times so I am good to go.

Giving your child a phone has to be a decision that you make and you have to do what’s best for your family. I think a child under 10 shouldn’t have one but that’s just me. There were a few factors I considered before I gave my son a phone

Does he need it? My son stays home alone for a few hours by himself so he needs a phone so that I can contact him. He also has to be dropped off for afterschool activities and I need to know his whereabouts because sometimes I have to leave him to drop his sister off or I need to leave and run errands. There is an additional cost to having a phone. I was already paying that cost so it wasn’t like it wasn’t budgeted into my bills so there was no added cost.

Are you able to share your phone and have open honest conversations? If I need your phone to call someone I am not asking to use the phone that I pay for….I simply say hand me the phone and it should not be any say so. I pay the bill and unless you got a job…I don’t wanna hear nothing. I also need you to be able to be honest with me. Open honest conversations are a must. Again I am not here to embarrass you but I need you to be honest with me when I ask you a question. We have nothing to hide…I get it…you are 11 and things are said online but I need you to make sure you know the consequences of whatever you say.

Are you responsible? Do you know the dangers of online? My son is okay when it comes to responsibility so far….maybe it’s because he isn’t at a regular middle school. I don’t know but I want to make sure my son is responsible and that I can trust him. Online is one of the most dangerous places for boys and girls…for children period. Hell even for some adults with bullying and keyboard gangstas. Make sure they can explain back to you that even though they delete something like a text or a photo that’s been sent, it doesn’t delete anywhere else. People can and will screen shot and you can be embarrassed so make sure you know the consequences before you post on anything.

Does your child have a cell phone? What age would you give your child one?

  • Reply
    Crystal
    September 8, 2017 at 6:41 am

    It’s really case by case, isn’t it? None of my kids have cell phones yet, but I think we are close.

  • Reply
    Alli Smith
    September 8, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    This is such a difficult decision! My oldest grandson is 13 and he doesn’t have a phone yet. He’s homeschooled and really has no need for one. I know the day he gets one is coming soon because of his involvement with sports, etc.

  • Reply
    Amber Myers
    September 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    My daughter is 10 and wants one. I hesitate. She says she’s the only one without a phone in 5th grade, but I honestly don’t care. Do I really want to pay extra for her to have a phone? Not quite yet. Maybe in a bit!

  • Reply
    candy
    September 8, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    My daughter was 15 when she got her first cell phone. I know kids as young as 6 who have them. All up to the parents but I didn’t need an extra expense that wasn’t needed at such a young age.

  • Reply
    Keyonda
    September 8, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    My son is 10 and he had a cell phone (it’s broken lol) at the age of 9 but it wasn’t a deluxe type of phone it was a real basic prepaid phone for me to reach him when he stayed at a friend’s house or got a hair cut at the barber shop etc. you raised great points on safety and we are planning to give him a new better phone around Christmas and we will be setting some ground rules.

  • Reply
    Sheena Steward
    September 8, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    I think it’s case by case but you did a great job explaining the rules to your son. It seems like you two have a good relationship and this will help when dealing with issues that come up due to the phone.

  • Reply
    Jeanette
    September 8, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    I like the rules that you have in place for the cell phone. I am going to be going along those same lines when my kiddo gets a cell phone. In this day and age it’s scary out there and I want to make sure to keep my kiddo safe as long as I can.

  • Reply
    Ty
    September 8, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    My son was 11 when he got a phone. My reasonwas because I am a single mom and at the time, I wanted to be able to communicate directly to him when he was at the sitters, etc. I do random checks as well, and currently his service is terminated because of grades.

  • Reply
    Tomi C
    September 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Deciding when your child is ready for a cell phone can be a major decision. My son was 11 when he got his 1st one and we got it because he was attending Summer Camp away from home for the 1st time. However, as time grew on he began to be on the phone ALL the time. Seriously it was a problem as he grades began to decline. It was so bad our family were featured on a Good Morning America segment about kids “addicted” to their cell phones. Crazy huh? We set rules and and thankfully our kid was able to bring his GPA back up and be more responsible with his phone. Apologies for the long response but this is an issue near and dear to me. We as parents must do just as you did and set rules.

  • Reply
    Sarah Bailey
    September 8, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    I didn’t get one till I was probably 12 or 13 back then it was very different though what with having to top up and them basically being quite brick like.

  • Reply
    Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh
    September 8, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    I think that if there is a need for a child to have one, then they should have one. A child riding the bus, and having to come home to an empty house. Or spending the night away frequently. My oldest didn’t get one until she was in 8th grade. My youngest got one sooner, because we homeschool, and there are many friends in our homeschool group that she doesn’t see everyday, like you would at a traditional school. With that being said, my youngest doesn’t have service. She has wifi only, and uses an app to video chat with those friends.

  • Reply
    Rose Cottrill
    September 8, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    MY kids does not have cellphones yet but I don’t see the need yet for it. I know some kids where both parents work so a cellphone is really needed for them to communicate.

  • Reply
    Cheryl
    September 8, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    My son didn’t have one until he was 10. And the only reason he had one was that I needed to be able to reach him if I was running late from work picking him up the school bus. But I’m a single mom. If I was still married he probably wouldn’t have one until he started driving!

  • Reply
    Whitney
    September 8, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    My girls were 15 and 10-1/2 when they got their first one on my oldest daughters birthday. It was the slider phone, so nothing to worry about. My youngest lost hers once a month which was so irritating. The issue came when they got their first iPhone. My youngest lost her phone privileges two years ago when she lost her mind. She only got it during the day and I took it when she got home. She’s 17 and just got it back full time and yes, I’m like you, I know the pass code and will pull a check in a minute. She has Twitter and Snap Chat. It is case by case.

  • Reply
    Terri
    September 9, 2017 at 1:07 am

    My son is only one so I’m a long way off from giving him a cell phone. However, I tend to agree with you. I don’t believe children under 10 should have cell phones. I didn’t have a cell phone untilI I was 16, but I understand times were different then.

    I absolutely love the snapchat rules you set for him. Frankly, I think several adults need those rules. Some adults post information that’s just way too personal.

  • Reply
    Christy Maurer
    September 9, 2017 at 2:21 am

    I really think that it is up to the parents to decide, but there should be ground rules no matter how old they are. I’d take their phones at night and make sure you always had access to their phones too.

  • Reply
    Liz Mays
    September 9, 2017 at 3:08 am

    Having some limitations in the beginning is definitely a good idea. My kids were a little older when cell phones came along so there were different things I had to consider.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    September 9, 2017 at 3:20 am

    It is always a case by case basis with kids and phones. I have a friend whose 10 year old got one but it is an older phone so no apps, no wi-fi, nothing but calls.

  • Reply
    Pam Wattenbarger
    September 9, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    My daughter got a cell phone at a fairly young age because my husband worked and I worked and sometimes we needed to contact her.Back then they weren’t smart phones though.

  • Reply
    Nancy L
    September 9, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    First, I’m very sorry for your loss. Your son is one lucky kid to have a mom who cares so much. He may not appreciate it now, but one day he will. My children were the last of their friends to have cell phones, too. I think if parents are as dedicated to overseeing and setting rules as you are, any age can be appropriate.

  • Reply
    Anosa
    September 9, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Providing cellphone to your kids should be explained well. Also as long as your kid can live without it, so be it. I think what they need should only a basic phone to receive call from you, the parents.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    September 10, 2017 at 4:00 am

    This is such a hard question. I feel like if given clear guidelines, younger kids could have access to a cell phone but then again, all I keep thinking about is how I didn’t have a cell phone until college!

  • Reply
    Nikka Shae
    September 10, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    I think it’s up to the parents and if it’s needed. If the child is responsible and no the pros and cons I don’t see it as a problem.

  • Reply
    Victoria Heckstall
    September 10, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    This is really important topic.Cellphone is really necessary,at he age of 14,I’ll allow my kids to use cellphone.However I’ll put a limitation on using it,study first always!

  • Reply
    Stacie
    September 10, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Hey, my son is 16 and has one but it doesn’t actually work. I’m just now going to ad service to it because he kinda needs it now , not for socializing but so I can reach him.

  • Reply
    Kim
    September 10, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    This is a timely post. I was just having this conversation with my husband because my daughter, who is 6, has asked for one. It is because kids her age have one. I am not with it. I did not have a cell phone until I was 16 and was able to work and pay the bill myself.

  • Reply
    Carissa
    September 11, 2017 at 1:43 am

    My niece has one and she is 11, and its basically for the same reasons that your son has one. She just got a new phone and I asked if all her friends had phones and she said yes. I had a pager in 7th grade, so I guess this is the equivalent?!?! My children are younger but I would get them a phone at this age if I was in the same situation

  • Reply
    Aisha Adams
    September 11, 2017 at 3:46 am

    Doriyan got his first cell phone in 5th grade. We had just moved here, and I didn’t know anyone. It made me feel safer to know he could always call me directly no matter what.

  • Reply
    Mimi Green
    September 11, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Our son is will be 13 in two months. He doesn’t have a cell because hasn’t presented a need. He doesn’t take the bus and isn’t a latch key kid.

    Next year he starts HS and will need a phone. He will likely get one for Christmas. I will monitor it like a hawk.

  • Reply
    Nellie
    September 11, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Omg this is such a brand new world of parenting!! My son, 8, does not have a phone but has been asking. No way buddy. I will keep these rules in mind when I finally get him one!!

  • Reply
    Tiffany H.
    September 11, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    I didn’t get a cell phone until I was in high school and I was a latch key kid. My mom always worked super far and I walked home by myself. I know its a new age and era but we are doing the same things we did years ago and we and our parents survived without a phone . To answer your question I think it depends on the circumstance the age and other factors. Your son appears to be responsible and you have laid out rules for when he is not. I think its important that you can monitor his activities because children are into all types of things on purpose and sometimes quite innocently.

  • Reply
    Kirstin Fuller
    September 13, 2017 at 3:35 am

    This is a touchy subject for some. I guess it is a case by case situation. You know your child and what they can handle. In our world they need something if they get into trouble.

  • Reply
    Toni
    September 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I like the rules you have set in place. I will implement some myself. She is not allowed to have a password on her iPad. She has Snapchat, where there is a Password. I just take the dam iPad when I feel and look through it because she’s always logged in on it. But I will make her give me the code now. My daughter lost her phone and currently does not. This will be her 3rd phone. She’s 13. She received her first phone at I believe 11? She comes home with her younger sister alone. I hate her not having a phone at this moment because I hate not knowing where her location is.

    I feel if your child is old enough to travel alone, then they need a phone. Period.

  • Reply
    Candice
    September 15, 2017 at 4:32 am

    I think for us, it’s more of a maturity factor. I think parents know their children’s level of responsibility and maturity. So if you’re comfortable as a parent and the boundaries are set, I think it’s ok. My son isn’t quite there yet. We’re still trying to work out walking on sidewalks and looking before crossing with him. He’s so clueless to things. Just like a 9 year old.

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