What is a good age to let a child have a cell phone?

@jovimom (1576)
United States
March 3, 2008 8:43pm CST
My son is already asking about a cell phone and he's only 12. His best friend has one, I think that's why. But his friend also has to be home alone a lot after school cause his mom is a single mom and works odd hours. She is a nurse. I can understand why he has one, but at the same time I think he's too young too. I think maybe around 15 is a good age, but not 12! He has already asked my mom to buy him one for x-mas this year and she said she'd have to ask me first. We've told him several times that he's too young for a cell phone, so he asked her on purpose...Just wondering what everyone else's thoughts are on this, I feel like I'm being old-fashioned.
8 people like this
35 responses
• United States
4 Mar 08
I dont think young kids should have them I didnt get one until I was a senior in highschool and I made it just fine. They do sale the little ones that will only dial out for emergencies and that I think is good and ok. But personally the best age would probally be 16.
2 people like this
@terri0824 (4991)
• United States
5 Mar 08
I think this kind is okay for little kids. Yep, you got that for a graduation gift! I think the best age is when they are responsible enough to pay the bill as well!
1 person likes this
@cortjo73 (6500)
• United States
4 Mar 08
I think the only cell phone a kid should have is one where it can only make emergency calls to you, your spouse, another close relative, or 911. Perhaps a prepaid cellphone. It shouldn't have anymore that perhaps 15 minutes on it. Enough time to call with news of the emergency and where he or she is. I grew up without one and survived just fine. If you do give your son a cell, my suggestion is that he leaves it home when he goes to school and gets it back when he gets back home from school. Otherwise, he may be using it in school to text. Some kids have been known to use their cells to cheat in class or, to just goof off during class while the teacher is lecturing. Not that I am saying your son would do that. I'm just bringing it up so you can make a wise and informed decision. Other than an emergency, what does a kid need with a cell phone? I think 17 is a better age. The reason being, they won't be using it during their first year with a license when their is still such a learning curve while driving. And, most kids graduate around that age. I think parents put their kids educations and even their lives at risk if they give their kids cells before 17. Consider this...did you have a cell when you were a kid? How did you get a hold of your friends and your parents? Were you happy? Did you survive without it?
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
5 Mar 08
Yeah, exactly, I did just fine without one. I think kids are growing up too fast these days...they need to enjoy being a kid!
@cortjo73 (6500)
• United States
5 Mar 08
Exactly! It sounds like you might have made your decision! I hope we were all helpful!
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
5 Mar 08
Yes, I think so. Everyone was very helpful!
@nicksy (178)
• Philippines
4 Mar 08
try to evaluate first the necessity of your child having a cell phone, if there is a NEED for your child to have it. Second, check if your son is RESPONSIBLE enough to posses such expensive thing, because if your son is not responsible in safekeeping such gadget , he might lost it, lend it or just brag it to his classmates. third, measure FINANCIAL capabilities, if you can afford the bills and the maintenace of the gadget. in addition, if the first two criteria have met ( if there is a NEED & your son is RESPONSIBLE enough) but the financial aspect is questionable, try to have a credit limit on your son's cell phone bill, or have a prepaid payment scheme , so you can control the spending of your son.
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
4 Mar 08
Oh, if and when he gets one, it would be pre-paid, I can't afford a contract phone, my phone is a pre-paid. He's not very responsible just yet either, he can't even do his chores w/o complaining and then he half-does them.
@nicksy (178)
• Philippines
5 Mar 08
if you have some doubts of your son's maturity, then say NO, because being responsible is a requisite for handling things like mobile phones, and knowing WHEN, HOW and WHY should you use cellphone.
@rposta07 (240)
• United States
5 Mar 08
It honestly depends on the child. I think 12 is a little young. He definitely should have one before he starts to drive, but now may be a waste. I did get a cell phone in eighth grade just because my cherleading practices never ended at the same time, so mom never knew when to pick me up. A cell phone helped a lot in that situation, but other than that, there is no need for a phone until they are older.
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
5 Mar 08
OH yes, definitely before he starts to drive
@34momma (13895)
• United States
5 Mar 08
my son who is 12 and i just got him a cell phone. we no longer have a house phone and my son is out and about often. he plays basketball and football and is currently learning how to play the piano, so i think it is important that i am able to get in touch with him where ever he is. I think if you have a child that is out of the house often being busy with activities, having a cell phone is a great idea. besides it only cost $10 per month to have him on my plan
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
5 Mar 08
Well, if you don't have a house phone and he is a very active child, they yes it makes sense. The most my son does is go to his friends house or a family members house, so I just don't see why he needs one yet.
@terri0824 (4991)
• United States
5 Mar 08
I agree with you that this is too young for a cell phone. I didn't get my oldest daughter one until she was graduating high school. And I have been paying for it pretty much ever since. My youngest daughter has wanted one since she has been 15. But I won't get her one until she graduates high school. And has a job to pay the cell bill! I've seen way too many kids too young having a cell in my opinion.
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
5 Mar 08
I can't believe it when I see very small children with cell phones! What is the point, I just don't get it. I think 15 or older is the right age for a cell phone, and then I'll still have to think about it!
@dfinster (3535)
• United States
4 Mar 08
My daughter is 9 and has asked for one and I told her she isn't going to have one until she is older or the situation calls for her to have it. My sister-in-law lets my younger niece and nephew have them. My nephew had one since 7th grade but it was only used to call her when he needed to stay late for practice when he was in sports and to call mom or dad to go and pick him up. He was not and didn't use it for anything else. My youngest niece now has one for the same reasons. They are both extremly responsible kids and stick to the rules that have been set when it comes to them using it. With my daughter I have my doubts about how well she would do with one. I guess if she needed it for things like my nieces and nephews I might try a prepaid one with her and see how she does, but if whe used it for things she wasn't supposed to I would then take that privilege away. I guess everyone has their own ideas and reasons for having them. I don't think you're old fashioned I think you're being a good parent by wieghing this decision as carefully as you are and asking others what they do.
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
5 Mar 08
Thank-you for saying that, I just don't think he needs one for another few years...
@mgmagana (3621)
• United States
4 Mar 08
my son is 8 and has one, but it's a prepaid, and he only has it for emergencies, he leaves it in his backpack and if i can't make it to pick him up for school, i'll call him and let him know, i can't trust the school, i've left messages before, and they were not given to him on time, that's the reason behind me getting him one!
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
5 Mar 08
That's not good if the school isn't giving him messages as important as that! My son always rides the bus home unless there is some sort of after-school program, then he usually rides home with his friends mom.
@moneyandgc (3430)
• United States
4 Mar 08
My 10 year old son got a cell phone for his birthday from his dad and step-mom. It really isn't a big deal to us. He mainly uses it to call me or his dad anyway. He doesn't take it to school. He does take it with him when he spends the night at other people's houses. This way we can always reach him and he can always reach us. More and more people are going to cell phones only and no land line in their houses. We feel more comfortable with him having direct access to us. We know the kid's parents that he stays with so that is not a factor, the point is if there is an emergency he can grab his own phone and call. This is just our own opinion's though. He is not a big phone talker anyway and most of the time he could care less about the thing. We are the ones that wanted him to have it.
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
5 Mar 08
That's different if you are ready and wanted him to have one. I just don't see any reason why my son needs one...
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
4 Mar 08
No you are not being old fashioned and even if you were, so what? A child that has a cell phone should be mature enough to not lose or break it and to use it wisely.. Also, if your child really doesn't need one, then there is no use in getting him one.. So, take in account his maturity and the need for one, that should answer your question about whether or not to get him one..:)
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
4 Mar 08
Yeah, he's definitely not mature enough yet or responsible enough...
1 person likes this
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
4 Mar 08
a friend got my daughter a cell phone when she was 12 and I thought it was way too young. Still she was paying for it and it was a gift. It did come in handy when she was out and about with friends, etc. and if i needed to get a hold of her or if she needed a ride. I did find that I had to lay down some rules. After catching her on it in the middle of the nite, I had to have her hand it over to me at bedtime. In the end, we did have it shut off. She had come to rely on me to call her when it was time to come in and often times her cell would be off. My thinking was that she needed to pay attention to the time and be responsible enough to be in on her own. She is now 14 and we are trying it again. we'll see.
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
4 Mar 08
Yeah, that's another good reason to wait til later. I can just see my son turning it off when he doesn't want to come home...
@aretha (2538)
• United States
4 Mar 08
i do think 12 is to young. my son is 7 and has asked for one i told him he could get one as soon as he could pay for it. one of my cuz let her 11 year old get one with her x-mas money it was a prepaid one but now it just sits there because she can't afford to put time on it for her,so i feel it was a waste of money. then i have another cuz that went and got there 7 year old a cell witch they have to pay for each month and the kid don't even have med. insurince. i just find it crazy. when i was younger we never had cell phone and we all did just fine. i feel that is an extra that kids really don't need. just my opinion but my kids will not have it until they have a job and can pay for it them selfs each month.
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
4 Mar 08
Yes it would be nice if they could afford to pay for it themselves. I agree about kids not needing them, I got along just fine w/o something like that when I was a kid
@star2316 (41)
• United States
4 Mar 08
I think 14 or 15 would be a good age for a kid to get a cell phone. That way they could have a year or 2 behind them with the cell phone before they started driving on their own when they turn 16. If not 14 or 15, atleast when they are 16. You always want them to be safe while on the road.
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
4 Mar 08
Oh yes, he would definitely need one when he starts driving. I think 15 is a good age too.
@nancyrowina (3850)
4 Mar 08
I agree with you that children under their teenage years shouldn't have mobile phones, but I've heard of kids as young as 7 or 8 having them. The companies even design phones specifically for young children in bright colours and with large buttons etc. I think this is really bad as we still don't know the long term risks of children having these phones so young. It also encourages them to be materialistic and gives them something else to lose get stolen or even get robbed of and then be expensive to replace. The only argument for it is you could always easily contact your children or they could contact you if you they needed to in an emergency where they couldn't get to a pay phone.
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
4 Mar 08
Good point about giving them something materialistic and the danger of getting robbed. I just don't think he's ready for one yet...
@vicky30 (4777)
• India
4 Mar 08
i think when the child is 15 years its good to buy him a cell phone.or when the child is just joining college. because that is the time the got a lot of friends.
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
4 Mar 08
Yes, I think 15 is a good age too
@queenofarms (1665)
• United States
4 Mar 08
I think a good time is when they are responsible enough...I got my daughter who is 20 one on my plan...She did good for awhile...Then a couple of months ago she ran the bill up over 1000.00....I told her about it and she said it wouldn't happen again...Last month it was 600.00...She paid the first one but claims no one used the phone for those kind of charges to be on my bill....Will never happen again...I took the phone back...
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
4 Mar 08
I don't blame you!
@Swaana (1208)
• India
4 Mar 08
In India, in schools and colleges, cell phones are banned. But it have never stopped the kids from having a mobile phone. They are forced to use it only when they are out of the institution where they are studying. Kids today are crazy about all these gadgets. I will definitely say that 12 is not the right age for a kid to have a mobile phone. But if you could give him a mobile with which he could make calls only to your home, his dad's and your mobile then it is ok. My SIL's daughter got one for her 14th birthday. But she was given such a package and she used it only for that purpose. If she needs to call her friends she will do it only from the home phone. So if you decide to get him a phone then check out the fancy models of delit or doremon. They also have just facility to store just a few numbers and these models are designed just to suit the kids.
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
4 Mar 08
Sounds like a good idea, I will have to check into that!
• China
4 Mar 08
Hi jovimom,That's a hard question for you,when i was a kid,i never tell my parents about the cellphone.i used it at 18 old.So i think your kid just only 12,you might to tell him that is not a good idea to use it,because it's not good healthy for you. Good luck to you.LOL.
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
4 Mar 08
Well, I think maybe a few more years he could have one, but he's just too young in my opinion right now...
• United States
4 Mar 08
I actually think 12 is a decent age to have one. Its just before being a teenager hanging out with all your friends, etc. It might be different for you but when I was 12 I started hanging out with my friends a lot more and wasnt home often. I think it would have been good to have a phone just incase. I think when my daughter is that age she might have one. Its scary I see like 7 year old with phones these days. Every parent is different though, if you feel he shouldnt have one then thats up to you. For me personally, I think Id rather my daughter have one just for emergency purposes if nothing more.
1 person likes this
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
4 Mar 08
See, I just don't think he needs one. He doesn't go anywhere except school and his dad's house every other weekend. I know how to reach him wherever he's at, maybe in a few more years...
@maddysmommy (16235)
• United States
4 Mar 08
A couple of 2nd graders that catch our bus have cell phones. I was actually surprised but I think its incase of emergencies especially since their babysitter usually turns up late to pick them up from the bus stop and I also think its because they only have their dad taking care of them. I think 12 is too young but then again every family is different. If there is a real need for him to have one then probably, but if its just because his friend has one and he wants to be like his friends, then I don't think so. Its quite good nowadays where you can add family plans to your own cell phone plan so maybe trial it for a while (if you're able to) and see how it pans out. I suppose you can always pull the plug if he rings up the bills LOL
@jovimom (1576)
• United States
4 Mar 08
I don't think he needs one, he's just trying to be like his friend. We both have pre-paid phones, no contract...