When should you buy your child a cell phone?

@mzbubblie (3840)
United States
January 11, 2007 7:18pm CST
From a previous discussion, This one came to mind. My son is 11 years old and he is dying for a cell phone. The first stage to this process is I asked him why he feels he needs a cellphone, The reason he gave was "if" he missed the bus after school. I told him he needed to give me another valid reason. In the same token, I've thought of reasons why I should consider giving him a cell phone but he's not in any activities where he would have to wait outside the school. He don't go to parties. And most importantly I know where he is at all times. I'm leaning on not buying one for him. For now I'm waiting for a valid reason from him why I should get one. When do you feel your child needs a cell phone? If you have kids with cellphones how old are they and if you don't mind sharing why do they have a cell phone.
12 people like this
58 responses
• Nigeria
12 Jan 07
My original motivation for getting a cell phone is that I am just plain busy! Like a baby monitor that allows a parent to move freely through the house and yard without being out of touch from a sleeping infant, a cell phone allows my family to move freely through our schedules without the fear of being out of touch
3 people like this
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
I totally respect that and it makes sense. I have my cell phone due to having to be on the road early in the am. But that's because I'm out there alone.
2 people like this
• Saint Kitts And Nevis
12 Jan 07
Hi mzbubblie,My name is Cheryl and I am a teacher, I beleive you can buy/grant your son a cell phone. The times in which we live, techonology and learning how to use it is vital to a child his age. I know you may think he is a bit young, but you can buy him one with certain conditions attached to it; example (1) keep your cell phone turned of during classes (2)Practice using it only in cases of emergencies (3) you must complete task around the house eg. take out the gabbage and assist your sibblings with home work etc. and (4)you must complete chores, assignments and home work on time or it will be taken from you. To deprive children today from certain popular things all their friends have is teaching them to steal, be dishonest etc. Once they are granted such things eg. the cell phone with conditions attached to it that forces them to be responsible. It also helps in promoting effective communication with the family.
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
Thank you for the helpful advice. And all those you have mention also teaches him responsibility thank you very much for your response.
1 person likes this
• Canada
12 Jan 07
My daughters each received a cell phone at the age of 12. They have basic, pay-as-you-go phones that I top up with the minimum required ($10) each month. They don't text message, download anything, surf the net, etc. The phones are for phone calls only. Where I live in Canada, elementary ends with grade 6 and high school is grades 7-11, all in the same school. I wanted them to have a cell phone to start high school, where I felt they would be more involved in extracurricular activities and would also be involved in more social activities. I've had several calls where they just let me know that the bus is late (so I won't worry) or they were held back in a class and missed it so they need a ride. One time the bus broke down on the way home and they had to wait for a replacement. They're really good at keeping me informed. Also, I like the small peace of mind it gives me to know that I can reach them any time they are away from home. I don't call them incessantly because I trust them to be where they say there are. Sometimes, it's a question of an emergency situation and you need to get hold of them... example--when my mother was terminally ill, there were several occasions where I got a call that I had to go to her immediately. One of those times, my younger daughter had gone out for a bike ride with a few friends. I needed her to go with me so I was able to call her, find out exactly where she was and arranged to meet her. Sometimes, time is of the essence. I know it seems like an extravagance... but I don't regret giving them the phones at all. To the contrary, they've been a very good thing indeed.
2 people like this
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
Very good reason. My son really goes to school come home. Times like when he goes to the school dance, I wish he had a cell phone because he is alot of kids outside the school and I'm lookin for him. Yes that peace of mind knowing that you can call just to check on them or vice versa them calling to at least let you know they are ok. I know that keeps you sane. Thank you for the wonderful response and have a nice weekend
1 person likes this
• India
12 Jan 07
It would be a good idea to get him a cell phone because if he ever got lost or had any kind of a problem he could contact you with his cell, so i think it would be a good idea to get him one
2 people like this
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
That sounds good and I'm willing to try that only if he gives me a valid reason. I believe that any kid out there doing things and being able to be reached it good, however, it comes with is the child responsible as well...Thanks for the response....
1 person likes this
@pendragon (3354)
• United States
12 Jan 07
My 15 year old has one, which I think she uses way too much to talk to her bf, but I don't ever want her to be without one now that she has started taking public buses and going to town on her own. I think I'd rather put up with the nonsense then not have her be safer than not.Restricting use is something I am looking into though.You sound like you have a good relationship with your son, kudos for waiting for his "valid" reason.
2 people like this
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
yes I understand your reasons she is on public transportation. that's a big reason why she should have it. But now-a-days there are some crazy people out there, I know our kids need them. Also, thank you for the kudo's I believe in having a strong relationship with my son because if he can't trust anybody out there in this world he know he can trust his mother. Thank you for the very nice response...
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jan 07
I am not buying my children a cell phone until maybe when they get to be around 15 or older. The teenage years are always the phone tied up years. lol That's the only way I would or get a private line to go in their room.
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
Very true, I totally agree with you. But what if your child has a lot of activities after school?
2 people like this
• India
12 Jan 07
i feel a child should have ceel phone during college dayz not before that..
2 people like this
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
Thank you for your response. I feel the same way only if during middle or high school he is not in alot of activities
2 people like this
@sharon613 (2324)
• United States
12 Jan 07
for one thing, if your child is out somewhere and forgets to come home, you have a way of reaching them.
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
That's very true, however, I guess I'm still leary on if he is responsible enough
2 people like this
@jennifer611 (2502)
• United States
12 Jan 07
well, I dont really see why an 11 yr old kid would need a cell phone. but now days everyone has them. If the kid does after school activities or anything where he might need a way to get ahold of u, maybe out with friends or something then maybe.. There are cell phones made just for kids that they can only call a few numbers on, instead of being able to just call everybody. like incase of emergency or something.. that might be a good phone. if it were my son, that would be the only type of phone, if any, that he got. I feel like if my son needs to call then do it from school, but my son isnt responsible enough yet either which is a big part why I wouldnt get him a phone. If your son is responsible and takes good care of his belongings and all that and if u want to I would say atleast check in to it..
2 people like this
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
I feel the exact same way. I'm just going to wait for his reason as to why. He plays basketball but he has a activity bus that will bring him home. Other than that I really see no use. Yes now a days kids have just about everything an adult have...lol
2 people like this
@crystal8577 (1470)
• United States
12 Jan 07
It will be years yet even though my soon to be 8 y/o has asked for a phone. I was in a ton of activites starting in 5th grade. I played volleyball 5-12th grade. Once I hit high school I was also in drama, cross country, poms, various clubs. I managed to survive just fine without a phone. I also lived in an area where crime was really not a concern. I am now in Chicago & constantly worry about not only my kids but my own safety. My husband does not want me to even leave the house without my cell phone. I think once my girls hit high school we may consider a cell phone for them.
2 people like this
@beta_love (451)
• India
12 Jan 07
well i got my cell phone when i was 16 since most of the time i had to stay out of home due to studies and colleges and my parents felt the need so they bought me one, in my opinion children should be given cell phones when they are quite matured and they are out of the house for almost whole days due to various activites since giving a cell phone is not a big deal. but how your child uses it is more important
@jojopuff (520)
• United States
12 Jan 07
I do not have children yet, but I think it's absolutely ridiculous that young kids feel like they need to have a cell phone! I mean, just yesterday my husband and I went for a walk, and saw this 7 or 8 year old girl talking on one! I mean, come on...kids don't need cell phones in my opinion until they start driving, or at least until they are in high school.
1 person likes this
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
Thank you for your response, however, what if your child is in middle school and have alot of extra activites after school? Would that be a option for you?
1 person likes this
@jojopuff (520)
• United States
12 Jan 07
Yes, that would be a possible option. I'm only against younger kids having them when they don't really need them, for instance when they don't have activities going on or no real "practical" reason for having it.
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
13 Jan 07
I totally agree, That's where my valid reason come from. He has to tell me a really good reason why he needs a cell phone...Other than when I need to speak to him when hes over a friends house
• United States
12 Jan 07
Most kids your son's age want a cell phone because alot of his friends have one. My daughter is 12 and she has been bugging me about getting her one for awhile now. I finally got her one a couple of months ago, but only because I do surveys and was offered a chance to be a beta tester for a new pay as you go cell phone company. So they gave us a free phone and she is able to use it for free during the testing period. So far she has been very responsible with the phone. Not using up too many minutes and taking care of the phone. So I told her that after the free testing period is over, I will consider letting her keep the phone. But if she starts making too many calls or if she loses or breaks the phone, that is it. No more cell phone.
1 person likes this
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
13 Jan 07
That's a very good suggestions. I noticed most the parents set rules and responsibilities when the child want something. I do too, however, I guess I'm so worried about him loosing or breaking it. I know in order to find out I have to give in, but I'm going to wait it out a little longer and see what happens...thank you for your response
@jsgrand0 (246)
• United States
12 Jan 07
I wouldn't be against it. Even if you know where he is, it would be nice to be able to get a hold of him whenever you need him. Maybe even if he's just at a friend's house, you could call his cell phone when it's time for dinner? Also, God forbid, if anything was to ever happen to him (abducted(hadn't thought of this before, but we have an abduction near my area Amber alert for Ben Ownby, and they were just commenting on kids having cell phones in situations like this, or hurt) he would have a cell phone to call for help, or with some phones (i.e. disney) you can have a tracking device activated. Start him with very few minutes, make sure he's not just chatting it up for no reason, tell him to only use his phone when he NEEDS to make a call...prepaid is a good way to go.
1 person likes this
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
Thank you for the response and the buying a few minutes at a time would be a excellent idea. I know as of now i'm always calling his friends parent house to let him know to come or anything. I'm still going to wait for his "valid" reason why he need it.thank you again
@Mitraa (3188)
• India
12 Jan 07
After he is above 18 years and that also if such necessity is there. Otherwise wastage of money only. What you think? Thanks.
1 person likes this
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
Just as I stated above, what if the child do alot of work after school?
@uath13 (8207)
• United States
12 Jan 07
My oldest has a cell phone, provided her by my ex wife. She usually just looses it. My youngest daughter ( which lives with me ) dosen't have one, and won't have one unless she can pay the bill. There are enough distractions about. Anyplace she might be already has a phone , so what if its attached to a wall. The things get kids in more trouble than their worth. They'll be too busy chating instead of paying attention to what their supposed too. If your kids a chatty one the bills will be outrageous. Mine will do without...
1 person likes this
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
Thank you for responding, but my son is not a chatter, deep down i feel he is not responsible enough to keep up with a phone. Only time will tell I supose yanno...Good luck with your kids as well
1 person likes this
@kfg20012003 (1037)
• India
12 Jan 07
for children of rich people they give cellphones to their chidren to play at the age of 3 or 4 years..to make them understand it is a yseful device,but for the poor he has to take 25 long years to get a cellphone.it is from my own experience ,so dont feel bad
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
Awww I'm sorry to hear that. Well at least you are made it. Hopefully you have one now....thank you for responding
1 person likes this
@anand003 (33)
• India
12 Jan 07
giving a 11 year old child a cell phone has its own advantages and disadvantages .main advantage is tat u get ur child to know more abt current technology like bluetooth and data cable file transfer working of cell phone softwares used in cell phone etc but on the other side there are equal disadvantages also like vulgar sms mms that happened in delhi public school and cell phone totally distracts children from studies. moreover excessive talk in cell affects the brain of young ppl.
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
I agree but I believe hopefully when talkin to your child they know the main purpose of the cell phone. thank you for responding...
1 person likes this
@bryelee (452)
• United States
12 Jan 07
I wouldn't buy a cell phone for a child. If you feel he really needs one so we can get in touch with you they do have onse where several numbers are programed in and also 911. I think they are better for a child anyway.
1 person likes this
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
12 Jan 07
Sounds good if they only had a phone like that yanno....thank you for your response...
1 person likes this
@skirvy (252)
• United States
13 Jan 07
My brother got a cellphone at 11, and my mom always has a hard time getting him to use it. We get to the mall and as he starts to wander in the other direction, my mom asks him "where is your phone?". "At home" he says, so she makes him stay with her. But then he only uses about 10 minutes a month!
1 person likes this