Hi fellow hubbers-
I would love to hear some input from parents or anyone else, on what age you are either giving your child a cell phone or what you think should be an appropriate age or circumstances to give a minor a cell phone. I am especially interested in your concerns about the freedom that comes with a cell phone and if you think children are equipped to handle that kind of freedom. Please feel free to include both positive and negative points about this issue.
I gave my son his phone at the end of fourth grade because I am well aware that friend hang out times change near this age and I would like to be able to reach him if necessary. Also so he may reach me if need be. There is always the potential for children to explore beyond where they should with internet on the phone but that is where your teaching comes in. If they are aware of the dangers, themselves, then chances are better that they will make better decisions. They need to learn and grow. If you have a trusting relationship with your child you can aid them but it is essential that they have freedom to make their own choices. Anyway, I hope this helps.
Hi there! Thank you so much for sharing. I'm curious though, how long has your 4th grade had the phone now? I absolutely agree that there has to be a lot of teaching. Would you be willing to share any examples of teaching moments you've had? Thanks again - your input is much appreciated
I taught him about the dangers before he got it. I am a very straight forward parent so my son knows that I am not sugar coating anything. We also follow God which instills wonderful morals and values if you live accordingly. I am very much aware that even the slightest flaw from me he will quickly emulate. I make it a point to be very self aware so I may be a good role model. When I fall I correct myself and move forward. Because I am consistent and honest he has grown to be decent as well. He does not like violent games (his own choice) and he spends his internet time watching stampycat videos or funny animal videos. Even spur of the moment check ups he sticks to clean videos. I think a phone in this day and age matters because many do not have landlines anymore. Plus it is an easy way to always reach my son if need be. He knows if I call it is for an important reason. I find that when I put trust in him he becomes motivated to show he can be trusted. He really looks up to me and does not want to let me down (which he never will). Some children have less personal relationships with their parents and this may cause the child to act out for the sake of either parental attention or revenge due to feeling less than important. Children like that would be in greater danger. I think if you have a solid relationship with your child (equal trust and respect) then your child will do fine with a cell phone.
I'm not sure I see the reasons behind believing a child needs a cell phone.
Hi! Thank you for the comment! I've definitely learned that the decision is situation dependant. I am struggling with exactly what you say as far as trying to see the reason for giving a child a phone. I am amazed at how common place this is becoming however.
I suppose it depends on how you define the age of "child", but ultimately it's a matter of the child having a resource to contact people when needed. Sure, the kid will chat and text for fun, which is fine since it's normal and healthy social behavior; but they'll also have the ability to call 911 if alone and in danger, call a parent if they find themselves needing to get out of an unsafe or irresponsible situation, get help if unexpectedly injured (like falling off a bike a few blocks away and twisting his or her ankle), or just get a ride home. And in some households they no longer use landline phones so a cell is the only option if the child has reached an age or situation where they're frequently apart from the parents or in need of some respectful privacy.
Just to offer a few examples. And of course the word child is so broad that I bet everyone here has a different idea of age in mind.
Most folks I know gave their child their cell phone around the age of 11 or 12. A lot depends on the area in which you live and the peer groups. Some parts of the world and friends may not be in to cell phones. There really is no answer, and the maturity of the child is often taken into consideration. I live in Oklahoma City, and am basing my answer on what folks do in the situation where I reside. High school graduation was an answer here, and that may be appropriate in that situation.
Thank you for the input! I find it very interesting that you mention it may depend on the area where you live. When my daughter was trying to talk me into getting her a phone she tried to convince me that she was the "only kid in [her] class who [didn't] have one." That was 5th grade. I'm still struggling with the decision years later. Thanks again - I greatly appreciate your input!
I think it will always come down to the part that is "your child." And though I know it can cause household drama, I don't think there necessarily has to be a set age for all the kids in one family. Differing maturity plays a role. For example if a kid doesn't take care of his current electronics then I wouldn't be trusting him with a phone.
But it seems like 10, give or take a couple years, is a good age. For a simple phone, that is. A lot of people seem to forget that cell phone doesn't equal smart phone! But I want any kid of mine (or currently my young sister - age 11) to be able to have her own resource for reaching me, other family, or an emergency number. Now it's unlikely a 10 year old will often be far away from an adult who can place a call if needed, but this way they will start getting used to taking care of the phone and carrying it with them before they get to the age of social outings with just friends, for example.
And whether everyone likes it or not, learning how to text is important in these days. I wouldn't want to delay a child's knowledge and experience in typing on a touch screen or pull-out keyboard. A parent can always set limits on usage.
Apart from safety and practicality, I also want to respect that preteens/older children begin to desire more privacy. Plus their social structure changes during this time. I think a low-level phone is an easy way to allow the child some freedom to respect those changes.
And hey, if we want them to become more responsible as they age then we have to give them opportunities to practice and demonstrate said responsibility. :-)
We decided that 10 was the appropriate age for our daughter. But we got her a basic phone (no internet functions).
Hi there -Thank you for the input! Does she have texting as part of the basic phone? I would be very curious to know what parameters you have in place. For example: Does she keep the phone in her room at all times? Do you have a curfew? Thank you again - I really appreciate your input!
My youngest got his at his high school graduation. And I should have waited a little longer.
Hi Kathleen - Thank you for sharing! Would you be willing to expand on this a little? My daughter is in high school and I struggle constantly with the different dynamics that involve her phone that I never even considered before. Thank you very much for sharing. I really appreciate the input!
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