First of all let me say that this question is not intended to bring up any judgmental ugliness within the comments section. Not that you all tend to have judgmental ugliness within my comments section. But just in case our opinions on the matter bring out any fiesty-ness…just remember that it’s just a question and I’m just curious about the differing ideas out there.
I’m interested to know your thoughts about allowing kids to have cell phones.
My thirteen year old is pretty sure he is the only child on the face of this earth (except for his brothers of course) who still does not have his own cell phone. We haven’t given him his own phone yet because we ultimately feel like he would rarely need it, unless of course he is all the way upstairs and I am all the way downstairs and he needs to ask me where his clean t-shirts are, in which case he could just walk all the way downstairs and ask me.
In other words…are you kidding me?
I don’t even feel like I need a cell phone at this point in my life. I’m home most of the time and oh never mind…I’ve written about this already.
I know cell phones are fun for kids and sometimes, depending on your family situation and circumstances, giving your child a cell phone can be very, very useful and helpful. If it is a matter of safety and a huge time saver in tracking down your kids, I think cell phones are one of the best things ever invented. But we personally don’t think our kids need them yet.
We’ll probably look into it quite extensively when they each begin to drive. That’s when we feel like cell phones for our boys would become more of a need, rather than just a want. And then of course there is the issue of who pays the monthly fees… Ah, we’ll figure that out later.
So what works for your family? Have you decided to let your kids have a cell phone? At what age do you feel like your kids need a phone?
This should be an interesting topic to see what the ladies have to say. It’s a non issue in our house of course because J will never need one. I have a love hate relationship with my cell, but we chose not to get a landline at this point. Personally though, I dont think kids need them at all unless they spend large amounts of time away from the parents, such as going to after school activities and need a ride home or have some sort of emergency. At 13, based on my niece, kids want them to yak at their friends or text nonstop. Unfortunately there are some less than savory activities involving phones as well, even with young kids.
Once our boys begin spending more time away from us with social activities and friends, we’re considering buying a throw away, pay by the month type of phone that will be shared. So if one is out, he takes the phone. No need for them to have one just to have one, for us, at least. But that’s still a little while off for our family.
So funny story….my stepdaughter pushed and pushed for a cell phone all through her teen years. Once she started driving it was “in case of an emergency with the car.” So we let her have a prepaid phone “for emergencies with the car.” A couple of month goes by and my husband gets a text message on his work cell phone. It said, “engine in car is smoking, help, what should I do?” He immediately tried to call her and she didn’t answer. So he texted back, “call me now.” Her response was, “Can’t-used up almost all my minutes talking to my friends, don’t have enough left to call, can only text.” Needless to say, that ended the “for emergencies” cell phone.
Our son, who just turned 13 2 weeks ago, has a phone that we gave him for Christmas this last December. He is the only one of our children that has a phone. And since he is my step-son, he doesn’t actually live with us. We felt that he was responsible enough, and this way we can get in touch with him without having to go through his mom everytime. Since he isn’t always with her when we called.
We also have an 11, 10, 7 , & 6 year old and they do not have phones. The 11 year old begs for one, but I totally agree with you that it isn’t a need at this point. I mean he is ALWAYS with me. Why does he need a phone? And, since this child actually lives with us, chances are he won’t be the proud owner of a cell phone until he starts to drive. Then it becomes a “need”. And you bet I will be one of those parents that has GPS tracking on my kids phone.
As for paying for it, we pay the bills. We have AT&T. Which has a family plan. My husband uses his phone for business and runs through a TON of minutes, so we have a rather large amount of minutes anyways. With the family plan it is only $9.99 more for our sons phone. This allows him to share our minutes. We also have unlimited texting, which does cost $30 a month for everyone. But, we were going way over on our texting, so that was the cheapest option. AT&T also allows you to call all other AT&T users for free, and any 10 phone #’s you choose, like landlines. Overall we are very happy with them and don’t feel like it is costing us a fortune to have an extra phone for him.
Also wanted to add that he goes to public school and plays a lot of sports, so this allows him to easily call for a ride when practices are over. And it allows us to call and find out about games.
Carissa in KS says
Our oldest is only nine but she has asked when she will be allowed to get a cell phone. We have said that when she starts driving, we will add another phone to our family’s plan but that it will be a family phone, not just hers. A friend purchased her daughter a phone for her 12th birthday and commented how much a part of the youth culture cell phones were. I’m not really sure that I want my children part of that culture. That’s a big part of the reason why we homeschool, though, and as a result, my kiddos are with me almost all of the time, which negates the need for a cell phone. :)
Brandy F says
My son is 9 and alot of his friends and classmates have cell phones already. I’m lucky that my son is happy with a sheet, a box, and legos. I think when a child starts driving it would be a good idea to have a phone but, by then they might have a part-time job to pay for that phone. I also read somewhere that attackers search out people walking and using a cell phone b/c they are distracted and you know about driving with cells. I know that has nothing to do with this topic but, cell phones can be bad too. This coming from someone who uses her cell as a house phone.
My girls are 12 1/2 and we have decided to get a prepaid phone that they can have at our discretion. They recently went on a day trip with a friend for the friends birthday and I did not like feeling like I had to call a parent to check on them. Also, I recently left them at my Mom’s for a short time while I ran an errand. My parents only have cell phones and no one was home, so they were left there without a phone. It will probably very rarely be used, but I feel much better knowing it’s an option.
I was home-schooled through high school and really didn’t participate in anything other than babysitting and every couple weeks hanging with my friends for an afternoon shopping. But when I was old enough to drive without my parents (license, not a permit so I had driving down before they handed me a phone) that is when my parents gave me a cell phone on their family plan. I was to use it to call friends, my grandparents on the weekends when long distance is free and call babysitting ’employers’ back. It was my parents way of having me manage my social life on my own, but with their supervision to monitor that I still finished my school work and chores. One nice thing is that when I left home, but still lived in the same city, I was able to keep my number that I was using and my friends all still had my number.
Our family rule is that when the child starts to drive then a cell phone is ok. Also, the child must answer the phone when a parent calls. No texting because they tend to want to only communicate that way, which is not a great option when I like to hear their voices. I hate my cell phone and it frequently has a dead battery or is left in the car (which is where it belongs for my emergencies). I grew up without one and dealt with emergencies and mishaps; I think I am ok and maybe even better for that.
My oldest is not yet nine, so my opinion may well change. However, I have teenage nieces and nephews, and I’ve not seen their cell phones be much benefit to them as people. At family get togethers and holidays, they’re often face down, thumbing away to someone.
Something else I hadn’t realized until I saw some Randy Alcorn (?) clip was how often phones are an avenue of the internet… and it’s unwise to give a child unfettered, unsupervised access to some of what the internet has to offer. Photo phones too can receive images, and again, something to be careful of…
Hopefully maturity, need (driving, e.g.), and filtering software will converge at the same point someday for our family. :)
I just want to point out that most cell phone companies give you the ability to block all internet use, so the phone won’t even connect to the internet. And, as for pictures we use AT&T and they also have the ability to block out any picture sending or receiving. I agree that phones can be just as dangerous as the internet. We have all of these things blocked on our sons phone. We also have NET NANNY on his phone as well as all of our computers. On the phones it allows you to see where your child is, tells you all #’s called and received, and allows you to read every text message sent or received. So you can really keep track of if your child is using the phone inappropriately.
I think that 13 or 14 is an appropriate age to begin the transition into limited cell phones/technology/separation into adulthood. We gave them to our 2 daughters around that age, but with a lot of talking, talking and talking. Our daughters are now 21 and 23 so kids weren’t doing the whole texting thing back then which concerns me more. A big part of growing up is gradually graduating to more independent things and it sounds like your son shows a lot of responsibility and maturity. I think adjusting to cell phones, dating, driving and girls all at once is too overwhelming …hahaha. If he’s willing to sacrifice and pay for the monthly charge I don’t see what’s wrong with having one in the next year or so as long as his behaviors show that he is mature enough for one.
Heather Gebauer says
I totally understand how parents feel safer when their children have a cell phone on them. For example, if practice gets canceled or if the student needs to be picked up from the movies. But, in middle school when I was a kid if practice was canceled we would all go to the office and call home. And we would ask the movie attendant when the movie was over and then run to the car to tell our mom’s so they knew when to pick us up. Is that not happening anymore? I’ve taught middle school and some of the major problems in middle school stem from students that have access to technology (like cell phones and internet) without the maturity to really undestand how to use them properly. Lots of “bullying” happens via text.
I’ve also taught high school, and if you’re high school aged student is saying that “they are the only one without a cell phone”, it is really not that far from the truth. The vast majority of high school students have cell phones. With a cell phone comes lots of resonsibility, and I think when my daughter is ready for a cell phone I will be sure that we talk EXTENSIVELY about responsible cell phone use. I can remember a sophomore at the school where I taught that “sexted” her boyfriend. Then, they broke up and before you knew it the whole school had seen the text. It was devastating to her, her family, and her reupation. I would be sure that my daughter understands that it is NOT her cell phone (I pay the bill), and that I had the right to check it at ANY time. Then, in the end I would hope that my I raised my daughter to understand boundaries and I would trust her judgement until I had reason not to.
I think it is definetly a personal decision. But, I can imagine when my daughter enters high school I will allow her to have a cell phone.
Cell phones are the bane of all teacher’s existence! I fully believe they should be banned from schools. If my parents needed to get a hold of me at school, they called and left a meassage!
What’s interesting is schools now are talking about how to embrace cell phones rather than fight them. They aren’t going anywhere and perhaps the solution to the problem is to begin using them as an educational tool, rather than a nuisance. Sounds crazy I know. But I emission the future being such that students will have their phone/ laptop/camera all in one. Text books will become archaic and books will be read online. Students will be asked to put dates and assignments into their phones to remind them. Their is even programs where you can pose a question to the class and have them text in their response. I guess the old adage, “if you can’t beat em, join em” applies here. It will be interesting to see how educators keep up with technology on the future.
Ugh, I hate my cell phone…..until I need it. Our two adult children have cell phones so that they can keep in touch when they are away from us (one doesn’t live with us, but has had her cell since before she moved). Our 11 yo desires one with a passion, but I don’t like the idea of her talking on the phone all the time. She already spends time chatting online with her friends, and I think that’s enough. She’s rarely away from us and when she is, either dh or I will loan her ours.
Our 12 y/o has been experiencing cell phone snobbery at Church, of all places. The girls that go to public or private school all have cell phones and she does not. (There are more girls that We don’t feel she needs one and she hasn’t really asked for one. She’s just expressed that the few with cell phones are always talking about them, talking on them, texting each other (in the same room?), etc, and they get in their little cell phone clique. Sheesh!
We don’t have kids yet, but our parents didn’t have to worry about cell phones with my older brother and I. I got my own my freshman year in college, that was when most people got cell phones back then. With my younger brother my parents got him a cell phone his freshman year in high school to keep up with him and all his sporting activities. We have AT&T and they have a program with their family plan where you can limit the minutes used to a phone and how many texts they can send and receive. That’s what they did with his phone so it was kind of like a pay as you go phone. If he did well in school, like made an A in math then they were able to get online and adjust his minutes to add like another 100 to it. If he failed a test they took minutes away from him. He no longer got an allowance once he got a phone and had to start working to pay for it himself as well. It worked really well and helped with the whole managing your own money and being responsible thing :)
We just got a cell phone for our 11yo daughter’s birthday. Now, I would never have believed it if you told me this a year ago, because I felt the same way, that it was more for high school age kids.
But… I realized that my daughter was not exaggerating when she said everyone had one. I once saw her with a group of 12 girls and literally all of them had one. Now, I’m not one to do something just because everyone else does, but it did make me at least consider the idea rather than dismiss it out of hand as ridiculous. So I considered; the way our town works, middle school begins at 5th grade. So she was doing a lot of staying after school, and being dropped off for sports practice, situations where I would like her to be able to reach me if schedules change. Plus, I liked the idea of getting a message to her during the day that she would receive when school ended (Phones are not permitted out of lockers during school.)
We have very strict rules. Internet and sending of pictures are disabled on her phone. She’s not allowed to bring it into her bedroom at night. She understands that her texts are not private (from us.)And she hasn’t abused it yet, but I will not tolerate her using it when we are having family time, like dinner, for example.
The only thing that drives me crazy is that kids don’t TALK on the phone anymore. They have text conversations, which is so much more effort than calling the person you want to talk to. We had to add unlimited texting for $5/mo, which we make her do extra chores for.
i say if he wants to pay for it….let him have it. If he is not willing to pay for it then he really doesn’t want it that bad.
Great comments! My 10 year old step-daughter has a pre-paid phone we pay for, but she only uses it when she flies out to see us. I have debated, however, allowing her to use it so that we can get a hold of her more easily. The fact is, though, that at 10 she is not mature enough to be responsible for the phone (and her mom would not assist her in learning how to be). I’m fairly sure she’d lose it or break it. Although for the $20 we paid for it, I suppose it might be worth trying.
When our boys started taking summer classes at a large university (fun classes – they were 12 & 14), we felt that they really needed a way of getting ahold of us. After that, there have been many times when they really haven’t needed one but I’m glad of the times when it’s been available. One dramatic time was when I was heading to pick up my son at the high school during school hours and as I came down the road, I could see the police cars and fire trucks on the state road, blocking the entrance to the high school but I couldn’t get close to the school due to traffic. It turned out, it was a 3 car accident at the intersection but the first thought in this Mom’s mind, was “Oh God, please let him be safe”. It was nice to be able to hear his voice and know that he could just walk up the road.
My kids are 1 and 3 right now, so I’m not sure how I will feel later, but my parents did not get me a cell phone. I got a job when I was 15 1/2 (lol, really that’s how old u have to be, not a day younger) and I got a go phone from at&t. Laura there are tons of different pay as u go phones out there now. But IMO kids don’t need cell phones. If they need to call u, surely SOMEONE on their sports team will let them use their phone…?…
Short story… My neighbor’s grand daughter got her 1st phone at 9 years old!!!!! Yeah. Her mom had the insurance on it, thankfully, because the little girl kept losing it, breaking it, dropping it in water, you name it.. Some kids can’t be held responsible for the phone itself….
I totally agree with you! Though my oldest is only 5 1/2, so this isn’t an issue yet.
I think when he’s old enough to be somewhere without us I’ll want him to have something to keep in touch, but before driving that might just be borrowing my or my husband’s cell. Once driving, definitely one, maybe just for emergencies, or he can pay for his own if he wants more. We’ll decide when the time comes!
We have seven children, the oldest is 15. We have an extra cell phone (in addition to mine and my husbands) on our family plan that we use however we might need it. It doesn’t belong to any of the children in particular, but it goes with any one of (or all of) the three older kids at times when they are away from us and I want the assurance of being able to reach them. A couple examples: if I run out for a few errands, the kids have the cell phone at home for me to check in on them frequently. We’ve used it when our oldest went on an out-of-town youth group meeting to touch base with him periodically throughout his trip. It brings me much comfort to be able to let them spread their wings a little and know that I can still reach them at any point. It adds $10.00 to our monthly bill but we use it frequently enough that it’s worth the extra expense. Going over minutes has never been an issue because calls are primarily to and from one of our other phones, not outside lines. It’s not used as a social tool for them at this point. Now that our oldest has reached a responsible age my hubby and I have been able to steal away for a lunch or dinner for an occasional “date” and we are only a phone call away. Having an extra line has been a great benefit to us.
I was very shy as a teenager and found it hard to talk to kids the same age as me. I got my daughter a Net10 phone when she turned 13 and I buy her $30.00 per month airtime which is linked to keeping up her grades and doing chores etc. I’m so pleased to see her texting happily to lots of people and sharing her thoughts and ideas with her friends as she will never know the agonies of shyness! At 10c per minute and 3c per text it’s so worth it!
My son was 14 when we got him a track phone. This was decided when he was playing 8th grade soccer on the high school team. He got injured and noone had a phone to call me. I picked him up from practice only to learn he could not walk on his knee. Between that and him being at the high school, we got a phone. The only time he ever used it was to let me know that practice was over. Of course now he is graduated from high school and he rarely uses it.
I firmly think that too many people buy their kids phones just so they can be like everyone else. Please be wise and think about whether it is a need or a want.
I think to those of us who grew up before they were commonplace, this feels like a whopper of a decision. When I was 12/13, the big debate in our house was whether I was old enough to have my very own 8-track player. Contrast that with the fact that my own kids had their own CD players before they were three! :-)
I think when something isn’t part of one’s own childhood frame of reference it feels more like something we need to make ‘controlling decisions’ about… but this generation will have a much different perspective when they become the parents.
We got our oldest a prepaid when he was 13/14ish, and I quickly learned how much he had been ‘out of the loop’ by not having one before that. Since – as they say – ‘everyone else had one’, it was how ‘everyone else’ was socializing, and he was by default left out since they couldn’t communicate with him like they did with each other. His circle of friends was made of good kids and I was actually pleased to see his schedule pick up when he was able to get the mass text that said, “We’re watching a movie at _____’s house at 7:00!”
He currently uses a prepaid that he funds himself – 2000 texts for about $10/month, and ‘talk’ at $.04/minute. Of course the only talking he does on it is when he calls home to say he’s running late or going to Subway with friends.
Our daughter (also a teen) has a phone through the same prepaid company. Her circle of friends doesn’t text much so she doesn’t buy the $10/2000 plan.
“Back in the day” when kids would get home from a ballgame at night, they could use the office phone at school. Now they don’t bother to open the office because there are 90 phones on the bus with the kids. It actually is kind of handy to get a cell call saying they are five minutes away from the school (as opposed to having 30 kids lined up to use one office phone after they’re already home).
I’d recommend signing up for a Google Voice account. It’s free and can be used for texting – also free. He can associate a cell phone with his Google Voice number when he gets a phone someday. If nothing else, it would give him the ability to communicate via text and ‘feel’ more in the loop…. and if you felt the need to monitor his usage, you would have access to a log of all his communications.
Cell phones are one of those things I don’t think kids really ‘need’ and that we got along fine without at their age… but that’s just one of many factors to consider. When books first became readily available, there were parents who shunned the idea of their child getting all wrapped up in them because they saw them as a frivolous waste of time. There are valid reasons to delay kids owning cells of their own, and valid reasons to classify them as ‘assets’ in the hands of some kids.
I have found that parent are now using cell phones as an excuse to avoid parenting. Our oldest is 8 and often we have issues with children her age from other neighborhoods coming into our neighborhood and causing trouble, starting fights, using foul language. Their parents don’t know where they are or who they are with, they simply hand them a phone to answer when they call them home. The other parents don’t know the parents of the children who they are spending time with, or the adults who live in the neighborhood where their children are “roaming.”
Growing up, my parents knew the other adults so there was some accountability. I knew that if I got in trouble, not only was I in trouble with that adult, I would also be in trouble with my parents when I got home. Instead, children can get into all kinds of trouble and their parents won’t ever know, or can’t parent them through situations which may be unknown to an 8 year old. I’ve resorted to sending other children home, and if the bad behavior continues this summer on my “turf”, trust me, I will be picking up their cell phone and calling the “home” number :)
When we were teenagers, we got our first cell phone at age 16 when we started driving. At that point, it was a safety measure. Before that, if we were going to be away from our parents for a long period of time, we borrowed one of theirs; we only used them for emergencies.
Now, we don’t have a home phone just our cell phones. That may make this decision more difficult when we have kids at this point….
Amy Lynne says
We got our oldest a cell phone so he could call me when they we’re walking home from school. I teach in another town, so it was a protective mama thing for me. Now my boys are all going to be on different schedules, so I am trying to decide what to do about the phone situation. They only use the phone to talk to me, so it has never been an issue in our house. My oldest doesn’t even carry his phone during the summer. It’s a tough decision!
Our oldest is 8 and just completed the second grade, alot of his friends in his class at school have cel phones but he much to his dismay does not.
I am a sahm, he is rarely somewhere we are not, I just don’t feel that it is nessassary at this time.
Now in a few years if he is driving or in after school sports where he would need to call for a ride then yeah I can see the usefulness of having one, until then its not nessassary.
The except to our rule is the every spring here in our hometown there is a humungous festival, thousands of people attend and we so do we as a family, we allow him to carry our extra pay as you go phone which has been programmed with his father and my cel numbers on the off chance that we get seperated and he can call us and tell us where he is. He’s carried it a couple of times but has never needed to use it.
The minute we are back at home it gets put away till the next time we are out like that.
My son is going to be 16 in Aug. and we got him a cell phone when he was 14. He goes to a private school about 30 minutes from where we live and is involved in a lot of sports and activities. He started asking for one when he was 12 and we put it off as long as we could. At 12, a lot of the other kids DID have cell phones. I thought it was crazy. There is a ton of pressure on kids to “have” what the other kids have and there is a ton of pressure on parents to “give” it to them.
There have been times that the cell phone has been a life saver…But there have been times that we have totally regretted our decision to allow him to have it. It has been a battle ground to set limitations on it that he does not feel like are fair at times.
With that said, we also have had some great laughs and conversations while texting each other. Things that may not have been “talked” about in person or has he would say IRL!
Just like with computers, driving, hanging out with friends. It’s a double edged sword.
For those of you with younger kids. Wait as long as you possibly can and don’t give in to the pressure from your kids or from other parents. ;o)
Jenn @ Beautiful Calling says
When we were on vacation we were at the zoo with Chloe and John (3, 1/2) and I saw a little girl about Chloe’s age with her class preschool group taking pictures of the animals with her cell phone.
Now this may have been this little girls phone, maybe it was her mother’s and she borrowed it for the day…the only reason I mention it is because this was what sparked our conversation.
DH and I agreed that the only reason any of our children would have a cell phone was in case of an emergency. There will never be a cell phone for wandering the malls talking to friends on it etc. As long as they are little, they are either with me or another adult. If an emergency arises, the adult can certainly locate a phone.
I don’t like cell phones and all this extra technology invading childhood however I certainly can see how cell phones are a benefit. (DH has one that work pays for, I have one for emergencies only in the van as I drive 1/2 an hour to church 3 x a week through the country and DH goes to a different church)
That being said, every family is different and every season of your life is different with different circumstances. We will certainly revisit the cell phone issue as things change.
Obviously, based on the comments, your son is NOT the only child without one. My daughter, 15, is also convinced she’s the only one. This may well be true in her school. We have considered getting her a pay as you go phone recently. She is participating in marching band so she’s away frequently and I want her to be able to contact me and vice versa. However, I’ve been considering it for months and haven’t gotten around to it. Thus far, we have survived. She will have her license this year and will get one then. When she has needed to call me, there’s always a cell nearby that she can borrow. ;)
We have two children soon to be 9 and 6 and none of them as a cell phone. For us, the major concern is the health dangers linked to radiation emitted by the phones (added to the fact that they don’t need them). I don’t think we will be buying any of them a cell phone any time soon. We have a cell phone at the house, which they they could take it with them and use in case of real need, which hasn’t happened so far.
My kids are 17, 15 and 13. Only my 17 y.o. has a cell with no texting. We had a plan so it was only $10 a month to add another phone. He drives to work, college, etc. so we felt that it was a worthwhile investment as we don’t drive brand new cars and he is still a kid. We don’t have texting as I just see it as one more distraction and way for kids to tune out. Our phones are just used as phones, we only get the free ones and we have the minimum of 600 minutes, and even with my parents, my dh and I and our son on it, we never go over. I pay for it for my son and my parents for the same reason, in case of emergency. A lot of my friends get their kids the pay as you go phones and just make them pay for it, so if they are out of minutes, they are out of luck. We have to keep a landline as we live in the country and our cells really don’t work that well in the house. I am very weird, I know, but I cannot stand texting. When we were at my brother’s house on vacation, all the kids were texting at the dinner table and it made me crazy. I don’t need to be in constant communication with anyone and neither do my kiddos.
One helpful point if anyone needs it though, some of my relatives had an issue with texting and truth telling in their family and Verizon had all the texts written out from each phone and they sent them to them to solve the problem, so if that becomes an issue for you, they are available.
Cell phones are like anything else, invaluable when you need them, but a distraction a lot of the time. My girls are on vacation now in Alaska with their grandparents and I do love being able to talk to them cell to cell for free, that is incredible.
If money ever dictated that we have to cut back, the cell would go before the internet……….=)
Our oldest daughter got a prepaid cell phone when she started driving at 16. It was for emergencies only. Our next daughter is about to turn 20 and does not have one yet. Where we live now is only a few minutes from anywhere she needs to be, and I usually just let her use my cell phone if she goes somewhere. I personally don’t think it’s a good idea to let kids have them for “socializing”. And unless the child is away from you, in a situation where they would “need” a phone, I say no.
Our sons MUST have been talking! :) My son is absolutely certain that he must have a cell phone. First, let me give you a little family background. When Hubby and I first married, I had a job that occasionally required me to travel across our state, driving by myself. We got a cell phone specifically then for safety purposes and since then, Hubby has gotten one and now we – in order to cut our bills – use only our cell phones and have no land line. Our son? He’s ten years old, homeschooled, rarely with anyone other than family – and all the family has cell phones anyway – unless he’s at a church-thing, and usually even then we are somewhere in the church building or we are parent sponsors. He is not yet responsible enough to stay at home alone – we have some impulse control issues to work through first. And I’m with you on trying to determine who would pay what and how much! Ugh!
Good luck in getting it all figured out! :)
I have 3 teenagers at home(19,16,15). My husband & I have homeschooled them their entire lives and our oldest is enrolled in CollegePlus(if you have a child in high school you need to check this program out), so we’ve never felt they needed their own cell phone because we are home together so much. I have one and I rarely use it. My oldest drives and I give her my phone when she goes out. So far this has worked for us and the 2 oldest haven’t complained or wanted a phone. However, my youngest has complained about not having a phone. Much like your son, he thinks he is the only teenager that doesn’t have a phone. My son is the least responsible of the 3 with his money. He’s tried to talk me into get a pay as you go phone but the problem I see is that he would be the one using it and he never has any money. He constantly wants things he doesn’t have money for and as soon as he has enough he spends it (yes, this is a whole lesson in itself) So, for now I’m sticking to my plan and they can use mine when they are out.
Not until they can pay for it themselves. They will need to purchase the phone on their own and then pay for a month-by -month plan. No signing of contracts until 18. Whenever my kids are driving they will have to hand over their phone so no driving and cell phoning.
Just wanted to bring up another point of view apart from the topics that have already been brought up. I am a younger mom who lives in Seattle, a pretty tech-savy city, and I have an 11-month-old son. To be honest, I am expecting the cell phone question to come up much earlier than 9 or 13 year old, considering that I have already seen my friends’ 2 and 3-year old kids playing with their parents iPhones. At first I felt shocked by the early age that these kids were playing with this kind of technology, but then I also started to see the capacity that a young mind has for learning really advanced things. I mean my baby boy already understands the concept of a touch screen. I just can’t help but think about the fact that the internet wasn’t around when I was born and my parents didn’t even have calculators when they were in school, but now I can’t imagine life without my laptop and my iPhone. I watch my grandmother struggle to learn how to use even the really basic parts of facebook just so she can keep in contact with her grandchildren and I wonder what it will be like for me when I am her age. Maybe to us cell phones still look like a luxury, not a necessity, especially for our kids, but maybe also our kids are seeing something that we are not. For their generation a cell phone is more than a luxury, it’s a way of life that is not going away. What do you all think? Is it a good idea to introduce your child to technology at a young age with the hope that they will be better adapted to face the advancing technology of the future or is it still an unnecessary luxury for a 9 year old?
I’m in Seattle too and my DH and I worked in Technology for years and years. He still does. My step daughter is 20 and our boys are 1 & 3. One of the things that I haven’t seen addressed on this thread but have seen in real life with my stepdaughter and her friends is the issue of cell phones used as “electronic leashes” for teenaged romances. I’ve seen friends of my stepdaughter abused by boyfriends via the cell phone (why didn’t you answer your phone each and every time that I called? You’d better going forward or else…..etc.),the issue of self made kiddy porn. Our high school had a homemade sex tape of two students (the girl was only 15) made with a cell phone and mass e-mailed/texted to 400 kids at our high school. Even really good kids, who wouldn’t normally be involved in something like this ended up receiving the video on their phones. I have spoken with DOZENS of other moms at the high school who’s boys (and some girls) have received unsolicited nude photos of classmates taken and sent on cell phones.
Personally, we’ll see with the boys when we get there, but my stepdaughter had a prepaid phone for a ver short time and then no phone. She graduated in 2008 and survived just fine without it. When she went off to college in another state and lived in a dorm she opted not to take a cell phone as she didn’t feel like it was an expense that she could afford and she had a room phone and a laptop with an internet connection (and no car at school).
My children are small, but there is one thing I know for certain. I will have STRICT restrictions on texting and might get a phone/plan that excludes texting when that time comes. I see too many teenagers texting while driving and I believe that it is becoming a huge problem! Even reading a text is dangerous, but seeing them actually texting scares me to death! I know that “every kid in the known world” has a cell these days, but what is the point, really, unless they are involved in activities where they need to get ahold of a parent. As a few have said, if “every other kid in the world” has one, then they can borrow a phone to call.
When I started driving, cell phones were huge and lots of them were the type that were in bags with the handset and cord. I WAS the first of all of my friends to have one, but that was because I was the first to drive. It had like 10 minutes on it and I could call ONLY in emergency (like the time my alternator went out on the way home from school). That was the only time that I ever had to use it in an “emergency” situation and that was an OLD car!
Hope you figure out your plan of action. :)
That is a tough decision. I’ve read, more than once, that cell phone use can cause brain tumors. Kids use the cell phones way too much, thus more harmful waves entering the brain. There are devices out there that help minimize the harmful waves, so check them out like on Dr Mercola’s site.
Kris Mays says
We told our kids when they start spending time away from us (like when they are driving), we might consider a cell phone. For now, they are home all day with me and I don’t drop them off anywhere, EVER, so we don’t see the need.
Honestly, they are more interested in playing games on it than anything. And I feel they have enough ways to play games that I already don’t want around the house to begin with.
My son has had a phone since he was 8 or 9 years old. At that time, I was a single parent and he was going back and forth to his dad’s house so I just had him on my plan. He is now 14 years old and has had a pre-pay phone since he was 11. The rule is that he has to pay for minutes himself with his allowance. He does alot of after school activities and I travel back and forth about an hour from home for medical reasons so it is nice to know that if I am running late he can always get a hold of me. He is very picky with his minutes so I do have to remind him to turn the phone on in the morning if it is a day that there is an activity after school or I have a dotors appointment!:) I will say he did get one very young in my opinion and if it weren’t for the reasons now he probably would be going without a phone!:)
Growing up everyone I knew had their own cell phone, and I am kinda funny like this, but I don’t see where any teen or kid needs one. What happened to the days when there was a plan on what time and where to pick up your kids? My parents never allowed me to have one, going along with the car, I was told if I wanted a car it was up to me to buy it and they would insure it. I had a job almost as soon as I turned 16, but I never did buy a car, or a cell. I think too many teens talk on their cells too much not realizing the cost. I think that when a kid is old enough, they should be in charge of buying and paying for their own phone. Otherwise, its out of the question. Now my husband and I only have cell phones. We pay a flat payment for unlimited talk and text, but we don’t have a landline anymore. I don’t know, maybe my ideas will change when my oldest is closer to teenagehood (she is 4 now). But for now, I think it is ridiculous that most teens have one. We lived long enough without them, its not a necesity.
My oldest is nine but is asking for one already. I have told all of my children that they have to a. have a job to pay for the cost and b. have to know someone’s phone number other than mine. It has been my experience that on the chance that they are not with me, they are calling me. They don’t even know my husband’s cell number! :o)
We got my stepson a cell phone as early as 9 so that he could call us anytime he wanted -when living with his mother. He is 15 now and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that he has this. He understands the rules about always answering when we call, and if he misses the call because of football, etc., he has 5 minutes to call us back or we will be come looking for him.
With proper limits, rules and restrictions, there is no reason children cannot handle something like this. It’s ultimately the parents job to teach and govern how they see fit.
My kids are really little. 3 and 10 months. They have a cell phone. It just doesn’t work. lol.
I didn’t have one until I started driving and it might have only been because we lived out in the country and I went to school in the town so there were long stretches of roads where there isn’t access to a phone.
I think maybe we’d get an extra cell phone for a driver once they are at that age- but since we will homeschool our kids won’t be out and about too much without an adult. But for safety, yes.
My husband and I resisted getting cell phones for a long time. Only after having car trouble 2 hours away from home with 5 kids did we decide to get one. Then we just had one tracphone. Two years ago my husband was given a Blackberry through his company that they pay for. He was a manager and needed to be reached often. So my husband felt it was okay to give our son his old tracphone. He was 11 at the time, but rarely used it. It mostly sat in a drawer. He is 13 now and uses it more often, but it is still a prepaid phone. We will not get a monthly plan. It has really been helpful for us. He was recently at camp and I was able to communicate with him while he was gone. Otherwise I would have to contact the youth pastor personally. So we try to limit the use of the cell phone, but also have it when he is gone and may need to be reached. It is not something that takes up alot of his time. He only has a few guy friends that he communicates with.
We told our 5 year old she could have one when she learned to write programs for one. :) But I work with teens at our church’s student ministry and your son is mostly right…almost ALL of them have phones.
We did not get our kids cell phones “because everyone has one”, but we felt it was necessary. When we moved from SD to TX 3 years ago, my husband and I got our plan. It was a matter of keeping in touch between the truck and the car, and being able to conduct business once we got there. Since we didn’t get a home phone, the kids (who were then old enough to stay home alone) would have no way to call for help. I felt much better leaving them home while I went to the store. We put them on our plan and it wasn’t too much more. They have minutes, which they’ve never reached, and unlimited texting (which came with the plan). I thought they were too young, and didn’t want them texting. At first, there were some inappropriate forwards, which we promptly took care of. Our kids know that mom and dad will read their text messages. Now I’m glad they have them, because as others have said, they can call and let me know when to pick them up. Also, when was the last time anyone ever saw a pay phone? And would they have money for a pay phone? Alas, times are changing.
We have three boys — one 12 and 10 year old twins. We told them when it becomes incovenient for US for them not to have one, they will get one. Haven’t reached that stage yet. Even then, when they come home, they will go off. It’s our job as parents to know who our kids are talking to and, to a certain extent, what they are talking about, just like our parents did.
Our oldest is nine, so we’re not quite to that point yet. However, we are in the process of planning for these things. We do not have a land line at our home and do not plan to get one. So, when our children are old enough to be at home alone, we plan to get an additional line to serve as our home phone. At that point, we will allow the kids to use it, however it will be the “family phone.” When the kids want the privilege of having their own phones, we plan to let them research plans and pay for their own. They already have to work to earn money for any extra items they want. My husband owns an electrical business so they help him with small jobs and such whenever they can.
My daughter started 5th grade this year, which in our school is Middle School. The school is just up the road from our house and most of the neighborhood kids walk. She really wanted to walk to school so we got her a cell phone (pay as you go type). She calls us when she gets to school in the morning and then again when she is ready to leave in the afternoon. That way if I don’t hear from her in the morning or see her in the afternoon after she’s called within 5 minutes I know something is wrong. She walks with at least one (sometimes 2) of the other neighborhood kids so at least she’s not walking by herself. It worked well this year. We can add money to her phone in terms of minutes, not dollars, so she is not able to text. If she wants to, she pays for it herself out of her allowance.
Tanya Elgin says
We were very against the kids having a cell phone before they can drive. However, with our oldest leaving for a week for Challenge 2010 in Ohio, sporting events/practices taking her away for hours, and our wanting to be available to her if she needs us or have her available to us (e.g. asking her to stop by the store when walking home from a friend’s house, etc) we decided to get a extra “family” phone that any child who is going somewhere will be able to use – solely for us to be able to have immediate contact with whichever kid happens to be gone at that time:) Last weekend’s Swedish Festival was the clincher – trying to keep track of 5 children and my husband was very difficult – so Monday we got the cell phone lol!
Our kids are 11, 10 and 8 and do not have cell phones and have not asked for one (I’m pretty sure they know what the answer would be!) So many kids are glued to their cell phones and that’s just sad – they’re missing out on so much of life. We were recently at the park and two girls from my son’s 5th grade class were there. They sat on the swings and texted the entire time we were there . All I could think was, what a way to waste a beautiful day! I have also read that cell phones are a big heath risk for kids, as the radiation affects them much more than it does adults.
My boys are young adults now, and cell phones weren’t as common when they were young teens as they are now. But if they were, I would have let them both have one, only because of safety. I don’t approve of the way kids are on them all the time, and especially not when they drive.
But to me, yes I approve of them for safety’s sake. I would make the guidelines very clear, though. Especially that they are not to be used when driving a vehicle.
We got our son (now 12 & an *th grader) one last summer when he was 11. Up till then he had allways been in aftercare during school and camp, and in the summer he started riding the local bus after camp to the library. In the beginning we had him call us from the public phone when he reached the library and then we got a him a cheap, limited phone via Kajeet (a company aimed at phones for kids – they have a lot of parental controls and low rates if all you need it for is emergencies). He has 10 min a month and hasn’t really exceeded it. It makes me feel more comfortable that he can reach us if needed, or we can reach him if we are running late to pick him up after school. He has gotten/sent a few texts to his friends, but up till now it hasn’t been an issue since we’ve made it clear that this phone is really “our” phone. If texting becomes an issue we’ll either block it, or have him budget his own money to pay for it.
My kids are 6 and 4. I hope we don’t have this question come up for a long time. My nephew is now 20 and has had one off and on for a while. At one point he racked up $800 in texting. It was taken away and when he got it back racked up another whopping cell phone bill. Needless to say he did not learn his lesson and I don’t think my sister in law did either. We recently got rid of our cell phone. There have only been a couple of times when I felt I really needed it. I got lost today and could have used one and our cars are getting on the older side. If we were to get one, it would be a prepaid and that is the only way my kids would get one. Also, they would need to work for minutes, either at a job outside of the home or inside the home. Although I may eat my words when my kids get older.
I love reading all the comments.
We got our older son a cell phone for safety when he was 12. He was taking an evening class at the University. I drove them there and another parent picked them up. For several hours, I would not really know where he was or if he was safe. The cell phone allowed me to know when class was over and when he was on the way home.
Becky Clark says
I agree with you. If there’s sometime when you’ll be separated, that’s a good reason for them to have one, otherwise, it’s pretty un-necessary. My neice and nephew each have one, and it has become a bigger pain to their parents to keep track of them than to have them have one. Both I and my husband have cell phones, but we have no housephone. In cases where we have someone babysitting while we go on a date, we leave a phone behind. Don’t know, there’s from my point of veiw. Good luck holding out on him!!!
Jennifer Sikora says
We have chosen not to get our children cell phones until they get their driving permits–age 16. THe other kids in our neighborhood think that my children are being deprived, but the kids agree that they do not need one either.
My oldest (also 13 and of my 4 boys) “sort of” has a cell phone. He and his 11 yo brother share one and they only get it when they’re going to be gone w/out us…like getting dropped off for practice or coming back late from a track meet. They aren’t allowed to receive calls from anyone not programmed in their phone and no texting. It’s not always needed so they don’t always have it. It’s been nice to know they have it when they’re out and about.
Paula L. says
Persoanally, I think it depends on each family and their needs. It would defintely depend on the child’s maturity, what it is need for and so forth. It is a responsiblity , not a toy. Most kids sit and play on it when nothing to do. We did not get our son a cell phone until he started working at 17. We had problems with him getting my cell phone at one time to secretly play games and download over 200.00 dollars worth of them and other stuff! at one time, so, he had to show us we could trust him in a major big way.
We got our oldest daughter a cell phone in middle school, when she began taking road trips for sports. It was for our peace of mind. It’s also been handy when I have two children to pick up at the same time, or plans change. Since she’s the oldest, I call her to let her know that we’ll be late or how the plans have changed. The “treat” part for her is the texting–which we justified because she does A LOT for us (watching her 4 younger siblings, helping around the house, etc) without complaints, compensation or allowance. We’ve been “grandfathered” into a plan that is ony $25 for 50 min. of voice and unlimited texting. She’d like a newer phone with more features, but when I explain how much more it would cost per month, she’s happy to have what she does.
We don’t have a house phone. Both Neal and I have a cell. We have talked a lot about getting another cell phone to leave at home…or send out with our oldest (8) if she needed it. It would be nice for her to call if she walked home from school and I was at the store…or … for a quick run to get butter…or I could let her walk by herself the 2 blocks to the library. Or if she was at ONE sports practice…and I was at ANOTHER sports practice…she could call me and let me know it was over. It will be a while though before she has one that is HERS. Texting plans have gotten really really cheap too…so I’m not to worried about that. She loves to text her Papa on my phone now…but we have like…unlimited mobile to mobile texting anyway. They can be so nice for keeping in touch.
I got my daughter a Net10 pehone which she mainly uses for texting. It’s not xpensive and as a prepaid phone, it’s easy to manage the cost.
I was googling net10 and found a crazy contest with them here: http://www.net10laughoff.com/
It seems to me that kids (and adults) with cell phones are tuning out more of the world that is immediately around them in favor of the phone/texting. It is sad to watch a group of teens sitting together in a room texting people who are not in the room. What happened to socialization and interaction? Adults are guilty of this as well…which is why I have a cell phone that noone but my hubby has the number for and I rarely use (like less than 50 minutes a year). So, our children will not have cell phones until they can drive on their own. That is our family’s plan for the moment.
Our daughter got a cell phone when she was 12 – when she started volunteering. I wanted her to be able to reach me, and it made ME more comfortable. :) It costs us $10 per month for her to have a cell phone. She has to pay $5.
One thing you may want to consider is the danger of brain cancer from early (and prolonged use) of cell phones. We try to use all our phones (cell and cordless) on speakerphone and hold it several inches away from our bodies. I know that totally blows all the “privacy” fun of the cell phone but may save them from physical harm. My eldest is almost 6 so as far as the politics of a 13 yr old and how he “feels” about it…. well – I’m no help at all LOL
Cell phones have been around for 20+ years, and they have ruled out that cell phones cause brain cancer.
I actually just read a very interesting article/study on this topic. Here’s just a litte bit…
“While certain media outlets continue to claim that regular cell phone use is unlikely to cause brain cancer, you should know that Interphone found “heavy users” of cell phones were found to have an approximately doubled risk of glioma, a life threatening and often-fatal brain tumor, after 10 years of cell phone use.”
“The induction period for brain tumors can be at least 30 years. Cell phones have only been widely used for a decade or so, and usage is only increasing. What this means is that the real effects of regular cell phone usage will not begin to show up for another 10 or more years, but by then it will be too late.”
Cecilia Capehart says
Furthermore, while studies in the U.S. (perhaps industry funded studies) may not show a definite link between cell phone use and brain cancer, studies in other countries have shown such a link. In some countries it is illegal for children to use cell phones. Also, who wants their child gued to a phone or texting all the time? Texting shuts out those around you and encourages bad grammar and spelling. I will NEVER let my children have cell phones; I care too much about their brain health and their social skills. A convenience is not a necessity and if fewer parents gave in to pressure to buy cell phones for kids, there wouldn’t be such a ‘need’ for them.
Joy Hilscher says
I don’t see the “need” for a cell phone and see it only as a “convenience.” Our 5 children aged 13 and under certainly won’t be using one before my husband or I. Like many purchases, once you start using one, I imagine it’s hard to give up. I am increasingly concerned for the number of people who run the stop sign near our house every day while talking on their cell phones. Plus, BOTH of my nephews flipped their cars because they were messing around with their cell phones. Crazy but true! I know they knew better but couldn’t resist the temptation. Call me old fashioned, but I also feel troubled when I am spending time with someone, and they stop the conversation to answer their cell phone.
Not a chance! My kids are 11, 8 and 5. Most of the kids in my son’s 5th grade class have cell phones. If he goes with a friend, I can pretty much guarantee that they have a cell phone, so I have all of their numbers in MY cell phone. I strongly believe we need to watch our kids better, know where they are, with whom and what to do if they need help. If I know that, there is no need for a cell phone…..yet. When they drive or are off on their own, different story, we will reevaluate. But like you said, who would they call????? Just use my phone in the meantime.
Amanda Fletcher says
My oldest is an 11yo girl going into 6th grade in the fall at which point she will be 12. We live in a small rural town and she doesn’t see the need for a phone of any kind. Once in a while she’ll call one friend, and the family house phone is fine for that.
She did however have a huge crush on my iPhone when I got it. About a year after I got it she used accumulated allowance money to buy herself an iPod Touch, which does everything my iPhone does except the camera and phone. She couldn’t be more happy and I don’t have monthly fees, minutes, and data charges to worry about. She knows better than to download anything from the app store that isn’t free and after 6 months the only issue we’ve had with it was her baby brother dropping it and cracking the screen. She still uses it with no problems.
When my oldest was in 8th grade, he informed us that there were more kids in his church Bible class WITH ADHD than there were kids WITHOUT cell phones. He was right. He didn’t get one that year, but the next year he started high school at a 2500 student urban magnet school. He got out at 2:30 and his brother didn’t get out till 3:30 (I think I’ve written about my crazy driving year before on your blog comments). As the year went on, and he began to find things to do for that hour, it became a great convenience for both him and me for him to have a phone. At first, he relied on friends’ phones, but if he called me from the bookstore on a friend’s phone, and then I called that number back when I arrived to pick him up, the friend had usually left and so I would have to go in and hunt him down. Of course cell phones aren’t allowed in school, but nearly everyone had one, how else were they supposed to run their drug deals? The school had an official “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Once we got to know the school, we were very glad for him to have one for safety’s sake. Theft was a constant problem though, and every time he got a new one (whenever the contract renewed, we never went out looking to buy him a new one), it would be stolen w/in a week or two. My husband took up a collection of used phones from clients, co-workers, etc, and he would get to choose from them whenever one got stolen.
Our second son got one in about 7th grade. He didn’t need it at that point, but my husband got suckered – it was “free” w/ our contract renewal. My husband is a CPA, so we are always very good cell-phone customers. Our son did play golf, so it was of some use to us in picking him up from golf courses. He had the same problems with the phones being stolen at school. He started homeschooling in 9th grade (after a brief scary trial at the high school), and one of the best things about it, in his opinion, was that he got a new phone not long after and it was never stolen! I found that I did have to take it away from him during school hours, to keep him from spending the day texting all his friends still sitting in class, not just at the public school, but at all the expensive private schools too. I asked him what his friends were doing, were they at lunch, were they home sick, etc, and he said that they were in class! He said, “Mom, it’s what we do all day – I can text w/ my phone in my pocket.” I said, “Does it have braille? How can you read it?” He admitted that he did have to peek to read it, but he didn’t have to take it out of his pocket. He demonstrated this for me. That was one of my biggest suprises re homeschooling – it’s no wonder American kids don’t know anything, they spend all their class time texting each other!
In re to the comment about brain cancer, I wouldn’t worry about that – kids seldom actually talk on their phones, it’s mostly just texting. I do worry about my husband though, as he is actually talking, pretty much all day long.
My 10 yr old thinks she needs one too, since her brothers have them – HA! As a homeschool student, she won’t get one until she has significant outside activities or is driving.
I forgot to add that in TN, we have “Carly’s Law” that says that if an under-18 driver is caught talking on a cell phone, even on speaker, they automatically loose their license until they are 18. Our oldest is 19 now, but our 16 year old just got his license a week ago and I remind him of this every day. Along with a whole bunch of other stuff! It’s a scary time (for me, anyway).
We will go the route of “family phone” also – one phone, to be taken when we think it’s important the boys have it (ie: driving in the car, long trips). However, many of my friends are facing the fact that their kids manage to buy their own phone. I suppose at a certain point you have to let them do that, but you can bet it won’t be me paying for those bills! And if they do rack up $800 in texting that they can’t pay for, it will be a good lesson in money management for them!
I posted earlier that my 17 y.o. does have a cell phone and we pay the $10 a month for it, but I should add, he is really a great kid that does not give me any grief at all, he loves the Lord, has a VERY large savings account, works over 40 hours a week, etc. If he were not responsible or I had any concerns about him misusing a phone while driving, etc., I would not be paying for it. We got it initially because he went to Dairy Camp for 4-H and I did not know the people that he was staying with in a hotel. If we could not trust him, he would not have a phone at our expense. He went to Brazil on a mission trip just last month and the leader did not have a cell phone, so it came in handy that he did. I am thankful to have a teen ager that I don’t have to worry about.
We gave our 12 year old a cell phone last year as he gets home about an hour before any adults come home. He has it for safety reasons as we do not have home phone service but yes he talks to his friends as well.
I’ve always been pretty convinced my kids (4 of them – grade 8 down to kindergarten), didn’t need cell phones, but I’m starting to rethink things a little bit because if a conversation with a cousin. She mentioned that they found their highschool aged son was missing out on the social things going on because no one thinks to phone anymore, they just text everyone, which means no cell phone, no invite. And these are the “good kids”, the ones you want your kids hanging out with, not like its to arrange the drinking parties or anything like that!
It’s something I definitely think I’ll need to be aware of as my kids get older. It will be on their dime when that day comes though!
I also have 13 yr old son who thinks he’s the only 13 yr old without a phone! Maybe we should get them together! ;)
Anyway, we homeschool our children and really felt that there was no need for them to have one since they are with us the majority of the time. Our standard has always been that once they drive, they can have a phone. So our daughter (who is now 17) has had a phone for one year (about 6 weeks after turning 16 and 6 weeks before the license). The only reason it was BEFORE the license is that we also had a trip planned and it was the end of our contract. The purpose of the phone is for her to text us whenever she leaves or arrives somewhere. Hope this helps! Maybe your son can call mine on their landlines and be the only 13 yrold boys without cell phones TOGETHER! ;)
I think texting can get WAAAAAYYYYY out of control. When kids start texting in the early teen years, it becomes such a habit. We’ve experienced college kids (who stay with us during the summer) texting almost nonstop–at the dinner table while we’re eating, during recreational activities, etc…
I’ve been places where the teenage employees are texting on the job.
So I think that’s just kind of over the top.
Our oldest is 14 and received his on his birthday last Dec. He uses it mainly as a socializing tool. Texts A LOT. He’s in public schools and with the activities he’s in it is coming in handy. It’s also very nice for when he is roaming our small country town (or when we go to the mall), then I can find him easily.
Our kids are NOT homeschooled, but are also pretty young yet to even consider getting them a phone. when the time comes, they will each get a pre-paid phone. Hubs and I have I-phones, but the kids won’t need anything that fancy lol. This way we won’t have to be concerned about an out of control texting bill.
I’m not really sure at what age we will allow our kids to have cell phones(they are 7 and 4 now), but I can tell you that they will NOT have texting capability on them. I got my texting cut off of my phone. I absolutely cannot tolerate texting. It’s a useless waste of time and a bad habit in my opinion. The US govt has recently come out with a statement saying the affects of cell phone use if far greater than they once thought. I try hard not to use mine but I keep it around when I’m out in case of an emergancy. We are having the wireless internet taken out of our house as well because I don’t like when I read about what that technology can do to your body.
Our children are 17 and 11. We have a family plan on our phones, so when our eldest started driving we added him for “only $10 a month”. But then we had to add unlimited texting because they DON’T talk on the phone :) Our youngest will probably get a cell phone earlier, because our house phone doesn’t have long distance and our cell phones are an easy way to contact the many people who live 5 miles away but are a long distance phone call.
For now, we let him email a text to mom or dad’s cellphone if he is home alone and needs to talk to us (then we call him)and if we are together, we sometimes give him one of our phones so we can find him(like when we’re at the mall and he wants to go to a store by himself). There are very seldom times when all of us are going separate directions, so we don’t see the need for him to have his own phone yet.
Oh my! PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE don’t allow your 11 y/o alone in a store. Too many pedophiles hang out in the mall. Phones can be snatched and throw in the trash on the way OUT of the mall.
Oh, that didn’t sound good, did it? I have to confess that I usually
hover nervously outside the store, where I can see him when he comes
out. Don’t tell him, though! It’s the small record stores and
collectible stores where he loves to go into and act like a teenager
:) Too many memories of Adam Walsh for me, though…
Thanks for the reminder and for your concern!
My personal opinion on the cellphone issue is no cellphone until you are at least in high school but preferably when you can drive and it would just be a basic phone with no texting. Texting is distracting in schools and driving (which is deadly), it’s not something that needs to be encouraged.
Thankfully we have at least 14 years before this will be an issue (we’re expecting) and by then who knows what they will have out.
My son (now 11) has had one since he was 7 years old. His biological father lives in another state and so my son has flown, unaccompanied, to visit him several times. When he was 7, American Airlines changed gates once they landed with no announcement or anything… and I was at gate B38 waiting on him and he was at gate B2 crying, wondering where I was thinking we forgot to pick him up… the flight attendant just dumped him off at the counter… two women on teh plane couldn’t bare to leave him standing there crying and waited… about 15 to 20 minutes while I was RUNNING in a DEAD SPRINT from one end of the airport to the other. He was scarred for life. I was a loser (in his eyes) at that moment… and it’s impossible to explain someone else’s incompetence to him at that age. I got him a phone the next day to use so that woudl never happen again.
He now uses it to talk to his dad… me… family members and he and his best friend text each other. Unless he’s going somewhere and I want him to take it, it’s at home.
Lee Ann says
My kids are little so I don’t really have an opinion. However, when my brother’s son complained with the…..”I’m the only kid who doesn’t have one” comment, my brother said, “then borrow one of theirs!”
I just thought it was a pretty good come back :)
the inadvertent farmer says
When they were old enough to buy a car, have a job, and pay for it themselves. Not sure why society seems to think cell phones are a necessity. In our home they are a luxury you need to earn.
3rd son didn’t get his until he was 18…he pretty much thought we were the lamest parents ever! Kim
This is a difficult issue in our home. We don’t get them a cell phone until they go to college. We have two in college with and two in high school without. I am informed weekly by the high schooling duo that EVERYONE has a cell phone. We deal with the sport and away from home issue by sending my husband’s cell with them to use. We also let them borrow one of the parent’s cells a few times a week in the evening to text their friends and briefly be “cool”.
Therese S. says
I married my husband when his kids were 10 and 13; he loves technology and thought each child should have a cell phone.
About a couple months later, 10-yo daughter told us that she lost her cell phone….I asked her when she had it last and she said a while ago. I went online to view my cell bill and saw that it was $1800 (it seems that whomever found the phone enjoyed calling everyone in the world)
Didn’t want to tell my husband “i told you so” after that nightmare, she was phoneless for about a year….we then gave her a pre-paid phone to use and if she was very careful, we would think about getting her a “real” cell phone.
On her 13th birthday we gave her a new cell phone. This helped us a lot as when we are in the mall, she can shop on her own and then call me when it’s time to pay.
Now the kids are 16 and 20 and have taken good care of their phones (one phone was dropped in a toilet, but was covered under insurance)
I think that kids having cell phones is more of a safety tool than anything else. I bought my middle school-aged son a pay as you go cell phone. I allow him to spend $15 worth of minutes a month (with Net10, it’s 10 cents a minute) and if he wants to text, it comes out of his allowance (5 cents/minute). It has worked wonders in helping teach him about repsonsibility and has given me peace of mind knowing he can contact me should anything happen.
My son has had one since he was 12. He doesn’t need one but we try to say yes to the things we can since there are so many no’s out there. He doesn’t use it much at all but it is nice that I can ALWAYS get ahold of him. He is older now and it is great being able to send him off knowing that I can call him. I will give my other children one if they want one when there are getting to that preteen, teen stage but that is just me. I keep an open mind during that teenage stage because it is a tuff one. I don’t think it is a huge deal and being that we say no so much it was nice being able to say yes. Hope that made sense.
Parents of older children, PLEASE for their sakes do not think that their having a phone automatically means you can get a hold of them. Granted, probably 99% of that has to do with parenting/trust/character issues….but I have sadly watched my younger siblings get into a LOT of trouble because my folks think they can “get ahold” of them since they have their phones. I realize that in these cases, the phones are just one symptom of many bigger problems but the fact remains that it only takes ONE time of getting away with dishonest phone use, or non use, to make your child feel he’s getting away with it.
I love the idea of the “family” phone line. Thank goodness, my son is too young to want a phone for anything except buttons to push….but come to think of it, lots of older kids want phones for the same reason:)
Wow! I just discovered this website and I am going on and on reading old posts. Took my time to read all the comments because this cellphone issue is a big one. All you parents who commented here rock!! Here in Zimbabwe the kids want cell phones too. My ten year old daughter also said she is the only one who does not have one. Their headmistress discourages parents buying phones for their kids. I will buy her one when the need arises. We are having problems already with my kids wanting to play games most of the time. There are 6 phones in the house, 2 belong to my young sister, 1 to my MIL’s nephew, 1 for hubby, 2 are mine. Well, I bought a new one with better features and kept the other one to remain home in case we need to call home when away. It’s not being used now since the maid has her own. That makes them 7, right? I can call on maid’s phone if I need to talk to anyone.