What Is the Right Age to Give My Child a Cellphone?

What Is the Right Age to Give My Child a Cellphone?

Considering buying a cellphone for you child? Check out these tips first.

By: Julie Meyers Pron

In considering whether to give a child a cell phone, there are two important things to consider: maturity and independence.

Children who carry cellphones must be able to understand and follow not just their parents’ rules, but also the rules of the schools and activities they attend. They should also have a legitimate need for one. Kids don’t need a cellphone just to have something to show off. Before you go buying into your child’s reasoning (and dropping some money on a cell phone) ask yourself these questions:

Does He Need It?
We’ve all learned a big difference between need and want. Our children need to learn the same.

If your child is often left alone without adult supervision, or if he walks through several neighborhoods on his way home from school it might be wise to consider purchasing a cellphone for him.

If he’s old enough to drive, consider him old enough (however, that should only be with a firm understanding that he will not text and drive — and, really, at 16 or 17 years old, he will not talk while driving either.)

Remember, nearly everywhere he goes, he can find a phone to use in an emergency. Ask yourself if he truly needs a cellphone or if you need it for the security of being able to reach him at any time. If that’s the case, then ask yourself if you and your child really need that? A big part of growing up is learning independence — and the less attached to a parent a child is, the more quickly he’ll learn independence.


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Is He Mature Enough to Follow Rules to Have a Cellphone?
Instituting rules like always knowing the phone’s password and the ability to confiscate it help your child to remember that a cellphone comes with responsibility and respect.

It’s not something that’s just given to a child, it’s something earned. And misuse will have a consequence.

Along the lines of a consequence, parents who offer children a cellphone must stick to the consequences they assign, because wavering will only lead children to believe they have the power over the phone.

What Does His School Say About Cellphones?
While a school does not have the authority to make rules for your home, their rationale is something to consider for your children. Ask the school why cellphones are not allowed. If you still feel your young child needs a phone, then be clear that you expect him to follow the rules at school and different rules at home.

So, rather than age, consider his capabilities, his level of maturity and, most importantly, the needs of the family.

Julie is the owner and editor of Julieverse.com and VlogMom.com , a website and network focused on empowering video bloggers. She writes an education column for Rusty & Rosy’s blog page and specializes in parenting, education, organization and travel.

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I agree slightly with this sentiment. Although said very harshly. Pay phones are a thing of the past. And have you ever tried to use a phone at a business, they act like you want to rob them!

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"Remember, nearly everywhere he goes, he can find a phone to use in an emergency". Someones out of touch if you can find a phone everywhere, I don't know where you live.

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