When is the best age to let your child have a cellphone?

Rapidly advancing technology has been a topic of a previous blog and we have had many comments. It seems that there are conflicting opinions as to whether it’s always such a good thing. Texting and instant messaging have, at times, replaced eye to eye contact and communication. Try putting on braces while the patient is texting! Health issues about radiation and cell phone use appear periodically in the media. As parents we sometimes feel pressured to provide new “toys” as they become available. On the other hand, it’s important to be able to contact our children and know where they are. We want to know what you think? What age is the best age and why?

10 thoughts on “When is the best age to let your child have a cellphone?

  1. I made the mistake of giving my at that time 10 year old daughter a cell phone. It seemed the right thing to do with the sport she was involved in and it would be hours before I would see her. I wanted a way to stay in touch. She is now obsessed with texting friends and I often need to take the phone away so I can have a conversation with her. Our children are losing the skill of talking to others, sharing their daily events with parents, talking with empathy, and pragmatically they are impaired. They jump the second a beep or chime is heard and have an uncontrollable need to find out who texted or called. Some useful information verizon wireless has a program for $4.99 per month parents called usage control. You can monitor when your child can and can not use their phone, who they can talk to, what numbers not to permit through. My suggestion is wait until the child truley needs a cell phone for safety reason, is mature enough to understand this isn’t their only life line and limit their time using it. Our children today are bypassing us in technology.

  2. I think it depends on the individual child, how responsible are they and if there are circumstances that warrant them to have a cell phone. Normally by age 12 it should be acceptable because this is the time when children are allowed to be left alone. But all in all I feel it should be used for contact with parents and not for friend use until later.

  3. Dr. K –

    we’ve gone with the idea “give the child a cellphone when they really “need” it; when they’re at numerous after-school activities and/or sports and there are times when it greatly helps out YOU, the parent, to be called to pick them up. So maybe when you as the parent “need” them to have one is the best time!

    This happened for us as my daughthers got into middle school age. and we started out w/very basic phones and other limits.

    -bob h.

  4. I think 12 is a good age or when they star middle school. That’s when the school stops being in charge of staying after and the child is expected to be in control of their schedule.

  5. I think Middle School is a good time to get your child a cell phone. Buses can be late or missed and there’s always after school X-time that comes up unexpected. My son knows when to use it and we don’t have texting so it’s only for emergencies. So far, for my 11 yr. old it’s working. D. Neenan

  6. I have three boys and my oldest…now 26 didn’t get his own phone until he graduated HS. My two younger boys 16 & 18 both recieved phones when they graduated the eigth grade.(They bugged me from the time they were 10 because of course all their friends had phones.) They had phone service only and got texting when they were 16. Keep in mind my boys all traveled internationally(one at the age of 11) without cell phones(or a parent). They are and have been self sufficent and independent. There is no reason for children to have phones until they are at a place where they can be responsible enough transport themselves to their friends on their own via a bicycle, skateboard or their own two feet. Children younger than 13-14 are usually dropped off by their parents, therefor the “need” for a phone doesn’t exist for safety sake. Its because parents can’t seem to say “NO” and stick to it. I believe the parents surcomb to peer pressure more than the children, hence setting an example. If they are at a friends and you just dropped them off, then you know where they are and don’t need to “be in touch”. During the day children are in school where they should be concentrating on their school work, not keeping in touch w/mom or dad.

  7. NO WAY! I have 2 boys and both will not be allowed to get cell phones until they are employed full time and need one. I grew up without a cell phone and I’m just fine, many adults still do not have cell phones. Let’s not forget that there is a very real controversy about how safe they are for children and adults. Cell phones DO give off radiation and a child holding that next to their head is exposed to it, a child’s skull is thinner than an adults and therefore it makes sense that the radiation could pose more of a danger to children. When you have respected doctors blowing the whistle about these dangers and they state that their children do not and will not have cell phones it’s time to listen. I beg anyone considering a cell phone for a child to do the research, I know it may not be what’s convenient but I’m not taking any chances until it’s proven safe. Current research shows it takes about 10 years of constant use to develop a brain tumor, I think this generation is going to be the “guinea pigs”.

  8. Middle school seemed to work for me a a parent, although my boys did not get a texting plan until High School. I’m not crazy about them having texting plans even then it’s too distracting and overused.

  9. well, it should all depend on the situation. If you are a single parent and have to work alot it would be different than someone whos parents are alwaysx there. B

  10. (Continued) ut if you are going into middle school I would get a basic flip phone and see how responsible your child is with it. Then over time you can decide when they can get one of those fancy texting phones.

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