- Family and Parenting
Prepaid Cell Phones For Kids - What Age Should You Get Them One?
Cell Phones For Kids - What's the Right Age?
Here’s a question for you – I don’t know if there’s even a right answer for this – but I’ll ask it anyway. What’s the right age to get your kid one of those prepaid cell phones? I used to pick my son up from the school and I’d see kids as young as 7 or 8 walking out of the playground with a cell phone pressed against their ear or texting away. At the time I thought that was ridiculous – I suppose I still do if I’m honest.
However, I got to thinking, what if my kid gets lost somewhere or wanders off, or worse for that matter. At least if he’s got a cell phone he can get in touch with either me or his mother. If he doesn’t think to do that – because children don’t have the same concept of time that adults do of course – we can always ring him.
It was bit of a dilemma. On the one hand, there are certain health risks associated with cell phones. Although to be honest, I couldn’t imagine him using it enough to get a brain tumour. That’s less of a problem with boys than it is with girls I suspect. Boys tend to be more interested in playing whatever games are on the phone rather than phoning or texting their friends. Girls do tend to be more communicative I suppose.
In the end, and after some discussion with my wife, I got my son a cell phone when he was ten years old. He was at an age where he was just starting to roam a little more and, whilst we did want to keep an eye on him, it seemed only right to allow him just a little bit more freedom. We do live in a nice area with a neighbourhood watch scheme and closed parks for the children to play in before you think we were being totally irresponsible. Even so, you can’t be too careful these days.
Obviously we didn’t want him running up huge bills – so the prepaid cell phone model was the best solution. To be honest, we needn’t have worried. He hardly ever makes calls on it and, as expected, spends more time playing the games on it than either texting or phoning.
Thankfully we haven’t had occasion to make use of it in any emergency situations – every now and again my wife will call him to get him in from the nearby park for his lunch – but it is nice to have that extra bit of peace of mind. And it makes him feel really grown up.
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