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When Should You Buy Your Child a Smartphone?

Posted by on Mar. 26, 2014 at 9:12 AM
  • 188 Replies

When Should You Buy Your Child a Smartphone?

Dan Tynan, Tech Columnist

Mar 24, 2014

In every child’s life there are certain indelible rites of passage. Her first bike. Her first baseball mitt or roller skates or guitar. Her first car.

Yet none of these is more fraught with uncertainty, dread, and potential bankruptcy for you than her first mobile phone. OK, maybe the car; it’s hard to wrap your phone around a tree or get arrested for texting under the influence. But the hazards your kids will be facing on the information superhighway are just as real as those they’ll encounter on the road, if not quite as lethal.

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(Photo: Clark Maxwell on Flickr)

You may also end up spending more for your kid’s data plan than you do on her first car. According to Scratch Wireless, a provider of inexpensive mobiles for teens, parents fork out an average of nearly $10,500 for one child’s phone service between the ages of 12 and 22. In a word, ouch!

A survey by AT&T reveals that the average child receives her first cell phone a smidge past her 12th birthday—and a third of those are smartphones. When should you give your child her first phone? How should you do it? What can you do to minimize the cost and/or pain? Is there any way of getting out of it? The answer to that last question is probably not. Here are the answers to the others.

When did or when will you get your child a cell phone? At what age do you think kids should have a smartphone vs a "dumb" phone?

by on Mar. 26, 2014 at 9:12 AM
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Replies (1-10):
EireLass
by Silver Member on Mar. 26, 2014 at 9:46 AM
4 moms liked this
Never, and they really don't need a cell until they go to college.
SarahSuzyQ
by Sarah on Mar. 26, 2014 at 10:01 AM

That's when I got a cell phone... Your kids are all out of the house, right?

My husband and I are not in a hurry to get a phone for our son; he's only 6.

Quoting EireLass: Never, and they really don't need a cell until they go to college.


mom2jessnky
by Platinum Member on Mar. 26, 2014 at 10:05 AM

My oldest got a cellphone at 9, youngest at 8. They both have cell phones, they aren't smart phones. If they want a smartphone they can pay for it themselves.

dommad2
by Member on Mar. 26, 2014 at 10:07 AM
Ds got his for his 10th bday. Honestly though if payphones still existed he wouldn't have gotten it.
SarahSuzyQ
by Sarah on Mar. 26, 2014 at 10:07 AM

I think that's a fair requirement. We've talked about wanting our son to help pay for his cell phone in some way when he gets older, too.

Did you get them those kiddie phones that just call mom and dad, or regular cell phones when they first started out?

Quoting mom2jessnky:

My oldest got a cellphone at 9, youngest at 8. They both have cell phones, they aren't smart phones. If they want a smartphone they can pay for it themselves.


EireLass
by Silver Member on Mar. 26, 2014 at 10:07 AM
1 mom liked this
They got them when they went to college.

I don't understand the need for them any earlier. They've been with their friends all day. If the kid and parenst are doing the right thing, there really isnt a need for one.
lil_mama06
by Brian's Lil Vixen on Mar. 26, 2014 at 10:08 AM

I won't buy them a smartphone....They want one, they can get a job and pay for it themselves...My teenage daughter got her cell when she was 15..ONLY BECAUSE she was in cheer and practices sometimes went over or let out early...Then when she was in volleyball, she'd call when she was almost back at the school and I'd go get her...Now my almost 15 year old will be getting a cellphone in a year or so...Because by then Cassie will be 18 and graduated from high school, then Andie will get one since she goes to public....Smartphones and tablets for little ones are a BAD idea in my opinion....My 3 year old great nephew has a tablet, he's on his 4th one now..(Kept breaking them) and he screams and pitches one heck of a fit if you don't give it to him...And he hardly plays outside....My girls would rather play barbies,ride their bikes,play in trees and ride their dirt bike and drive the lawnmower around than be on any electronic device.....Heck computer time is something they can give or take anymore....If they aren't on it, they don't miss it....

SJG1013
by Member on Mar. 26, 2014 at 10:10 AM
3 moms liked this
When they get a job and can pay for it themselves.
SarahSuzyQ
by Sarah on Mar. 26, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Did you get him a smart phone or a "dumb" phone?

Quoting dommad2: Ds got his for his 10th bday. Honestly though if payphones still existed he wouldn't have gotten it.


bayylaiown
by on Mar. 26, 2014 at 10:11 AM
I guess it depends on their behavior. This is one thing I'll take from my dad. When I was misbehaving I had an embarrassing flemsy flip phone, when I was well behaved I had a slider phone with a full keyboard. I don't know what age. My son is only 2 so I think I have a while.

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