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What Age Should Your Child Have a Cell Phone?

By WendyM |

child age cell phone kids

When should you buy your child a cell phone?

What age should your child be when you buy them a cell phone? While opinions vary, most look to the teenage years as most appropriate, but we decided to take the plunge when our son was just 10.

A little premature, maybe?

Yes, I’ll admit it seems a bit young, but we felt since he would be leaving elementary school and starting a different school across town, it might be a good idea to give him a phone in case he needed to get in touch with us.

We found out the first day of middle school just how valuable it was for him to have the phone, when a bus assignment mix up put him on a different bus home and, without phone contact, we would have otherwise never known about the bus issue or his delayed arrival home.

Thankfully, he texted my husband (and later me) to let us know about the bus situation. Later he called and talked to my husband on the cell phone so we could figure out what time he would be getting to the bus stop so we could meet him.

I’m not even sure if talking on a cell phone is allowed on the bus, but it got him through a bit of a scary moment and let us know about the change in plan as well.

What age would you buy your child a cell phone? Does he/she have one now… if so, how old are they? Do you have restrictions in place for phone usage?

We got a refurbished phone that was free and our son doesn’t use it for personal calls, nor does he text anyone but us. He calls only if there’s an emergency.

I think it’s worth it for the peace of mind alone.

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About WendyM



Wendy Michaels** has been an entertainment writer for many years, covering the celeb buzz for both TV Crunch and Movie Crunch blogs. She loves celebrity gossip on any level, from A-listers right down to those pesky reality stars. Wendy's passion for entertainment news is a strange addiction, but she wouldn't have it any other way. She lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York, where she enjoys time with her husband and two children.

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0 thoughts on “What Age Should Your Child Have a Cell Phone?

  1. Jenna says:

    I grew up in a small town where kids don’t need a phone until they’re driving at the very earliest and even then it’s not necessary. There will always be adults that you know around if you need help or that you can borrow a phone from if you need to get ahold of parents. We’re raising our kids in a big city though so I imagine we’ll get them cellphones as soon as they’re old enough to be going anywhere further than the park without us or another parent… maybe when they’re 10, who knows.

  2. goddess says:

    Everyone has to make the choices they see fit their family best, KWIM? In our case, that has been making our kids wait to get cell phones until they have part time jobs and can pay for their portion of the phone bill. Will our oldest son, that was when he was able to split the cost of a 2 phone plan with me. He had to have the job for at least 3 months, and during that time, save up the amount it would cost to terminate the 2 yr plan early, just in case. We also made his driving conditional upon two things: a.) Good grades (discount on insurance) and b.) having a job where he could pay for the increase to the car insurance. We did this because it is our belief that in order to have these things, which we consider privileges (since he could always borrow my own cell phones when he had after school practices, sporting events or went out with friends), we felt he needed a monthly set of small expenses to which he was held responsible. No money? No phone. No money? No car or gas.
    Now being that I was a work-from-home mom, I could still drive him to or from school or practices, and did not need to have him armed with his own phone to help keep track of him. Had I been working outside the home, this plan may not have worked best for us.

  3. Linda, t.o.o. says:

    My daughter got hers at 11, my son was 10, but we don’t have a land line and I felt uncomfortable leaving the kids alone in the house without a phone.

  4. Jennifer M. says:

    How quickly we forget that cell phones didn’t used to be the norm. They didn’t even exist when I was a kid and I turned out just fine.

    I got my first one when I was 18 and could purchase it myself. I don’t see any reason why my kids shouldn’t have to do the same. A cell phone is a fun luxury, not a necessity.

  5. Linda, t.o.o. says:

    A cell phone is just “having access to a phone” when you cancel your overpriced land line you never use, not a luxury.

  6. Little Frogs says:

    Kids should have a cell phone when…

    1. they can take care of it and not lose it.
    2. they need it because their after school plans are more complicated than take the bus home or be picked up OR they have a medical condition (such as a severe allergy or diabetes) that could possibly be life threatening and they are old enough to respond appropriately.
    3. they know when to shut it off.

  7. jenny tries too hard says:

    Sure, cell phones didn’t use to be the norm…when there were payphones at the park, at the mall and at most public schools. My parents used to make sure I had a handful of change when they would drop me off (ten or so) to see a movie with a friend or at a dance lesson, in case the lesson got cut short or something. Now that there aren’t payphones in most places anymore, a cell phone is roughly the same thing. Plus, there’s the fact that many of us *don’t* have landlines, either, and it’s way cheaper to get a cell phone for a kid old enough to stay home alone sometimes than to get a landline. My sister (now 15) got her phone at 10 and my boys will get one this year at 10, too.

  8. Andrea says:

    My nine year old is finishing Grade 8 math this year and plans to take her Grade 9 math at the local highschool. She’ll be 10, and she will definitely be going armed with a cellphone! Her Dad will be attending class with her for the first little while, too.
    But outside of that situation, it isn’t necessary where we live. Almost any adult can and will help a child who needs something. I am often asked by kids at the park or the swimming pool if they can borrow my phone to make a call (usually to arrange for a pick-up), and the answer is always yes. That kindness doesn’t always exist in bigger cities, so maybe kids need their own phones.

  9. Gib says:

    I plan on giving my daughter a cell phone that has a tracker inside it, and can only make/receive calls from a whitelist, as soon as she is old enough to understand how to use it and not lose it.

  10. Berb says:

    My daughter is not allowed to own one until she is 16, and she is nearly 13 now. She is mature and responsible enough for it, but I don’t see why she needs one. She tells me everyone in her grade has one, and that she feels lefts out. Well I didn’t get one until I was 45, she can wait 3 more years. I really don’t care if she feels left out or not. I’m paying the bill, not her.

  11. leonard says:

    I totally agree that a child should not have a cell phone until they are old enough to help pay for them, we bought my son a prepaid tracphone, and he got a job to pay for the airtime, no job, no airtime.

  12. dragop21 says:

    I bought a “cell phone” for my daughter when she was 7. We live in Japan, and here kids actually play outside after school BY THEMSELVES. shocking I know. She also catches a bus to swimming class with her and her sister (who is 6). I have 4 kids, and this is a great way for me to know what is going on without standing right there. its not actually a traditional cell phone. it dials one number, me, and its pre programmed to accept numbers for 20 different people. but only people we say are okay. when I call her it automatically answers and I can hear what is going on around her. the best part…its 5 bucks a month. its great because its given her more freedom than she would have otherwise for my comfort zone.

  13. Andie says:

    I just don’t know what to do when it comes to the cell phone issue. My daughter is 11 and just started middle school this year. The school is right acorss the street, so is the sports park. She says she wants a phone, so we got her a Magic Jack as her and her sisters phone number. Problem is she says it s house phone and everyone else has a cell phone. If she were to have a cell phone it would only be to make calls to us, he friends can call the “house phone”. My husband and I don’t give out that number, so it is truly her number. I just don’t see the need for her to have one till she is going places away from us… so maybe 13 or 14… just like you shouldn’t have a Facebook account till your 14. Ugh… pre-teens these days!

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