When should I let my child get a cell phone?
Real Mom Problem
“Is 14 too young to grant her the freedom of having a cell phone? I was wondering if I can trust her to text her friends and use the internet appropriately.”
- 1. Set cell phone rules based on how responsible your teen is and what they will be using their cell phone for
- 2. Talk to your kids about proper use of cell phones and protecting their info from strangers
- 3. Consider starting with a basic phone that's just for calling to let you know where they are and for emergencies
Real Mom Solutions
Cell phones are everywhere these days, but how do you know when your teen is ready to have one? Does a teenager really need a cell phone? See what these moms had to say about the right age for a kid to have a cell phone.
Moms Allow Phones for a Range of Ages
Fourteen to fifteen was the age I got my girls phones.
My girls got their first phones at 12 and 13 because they were moving to a new school a fair distance away and I wanted them to be able to contact me if there was a problem with their lift home (happened occasionally). We got them basic phones with calling and texting but NOT internet capable.
Our kids can't have cell phones until they are 16, and they are excellent children. We just don't really see it as something that is necessary. They are either at school, a school function, or with us. Our oldest did have one before 16 and it caused so much unnecessary grief.
We got our daughter her first cell phone when she was 12. She was in many extra-curricular activities at that time and we felt it was necessary. We got her a pay-as you-go phone.
My 13- and 16-year-olds have cell phones. They have unlimited texting but no Internet.
I chose to give my kids phones when they were 13. They were often at the park playing football with friends, and they were going to movies and school events without adults before they were driving so they needed the phones. It is a matter of convenience.
Keep Your Teen's Phone Secure
My daughter is almost 14 and she has had her phone for about seven months. I have any and all passwords to check her phone or any other accounts. I do and will continue to monitor them at will -- surprise inspections, I call them. I would suggest if you do get your teen a phone, choose one that does not have picture capability on it. Then you don't have to worry about pictures being sent or received that you do not like.
We first got our daughter a phone when she was 11, and we found out that it has come in handy many times over and has given my husband and I great peace of mind. We've also found out that it's easier to text each other with quick messages verses making a phone call. As a precautionary measure, we told our daughter that my husband and I have the right to look at her phone at any time to read the messages that she is getting from her friends and the messages that she is sending out to friends. We told her that this was non-negotiable and was part of our agreement when we bought a phone for her.
Consider Restrictions -- and a Contract
My son started with a basic calls only, pay-as-you-go phone when he was 12. More for me than him, as he was in sports and band. I wrote up a contract with rules, limits, and appropriate use. We both signed and I have renewed it as he has gotten older and more responsible. He is now 14 and has an internet capable, media phone with unlimited texting. I check his phone because I pay the bills! Children need to know that cell phones are a privilege and not a right! The phone is in my room at 9:00 pm on school nights and 10:30 pm on weekends. I don't go through his phone often, but when I do he is sitting right there and we discuss stuff that I find questionable.
We have a cell phone contract with my middle son (15 years old), in regards to use and the consequences. I don't feel the need to monitor my 17-year-old's texts because he doesn't give me a reason to. My 15 year old has used his phone to arrange sneak-outs and other stuff. I monitor his and he is not allowed to delete his messages without my permission. He knows I can ask him to hand his phone over at any time to review his messages. This is what he has to put up with if he wants a cell. That being said, it is a great thing to have. Being able to get in touch with your kids at any time really gives you more peace of mind.
We have my 14 yr old son's phone set up so that he's able to use the phone during times I designate. I have it set up to turn off at 10:00 pm and not come on again until 6:30 am. If he's out with friends, he can still call me, his dad or his sister. We are his designated emergency people and he can call us 24/7. The limits don't apply to our numbers. We have AT&T.