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At What Age Should Children Get a Cell Phone?

Updated on January 30, 2013

Cell Phones And Children

Technology has evolved at an alarming rate over the past few years and cell phones have been at the very center of that evolution.

It used to be that a cell phone was simply a mobile phone that you could make or receive calls with on the move and then came along text messaging.

These days though cell phones have become hand held computers with full Internet access.

Almost everyone you know now a days carries a cell phone, they have become an important part of today's lifestyle and they are so popular that most children carry a cell phone too.

Parents buy phones for their children mainly because they see them as a safety net, they can contact their children at any time and their children can contact them too especially in an emergency situation.

Cell Phones And Child Safety

My Daughter Jennifer shows off her Cell Phone. It had to be pink or we would have had to return it to the store.
My Daughter Jennifer shows off her Cell Phone. It had to be pink or we would have had to return it to the store. | Source

Cell Phones For Children

Jennifer and her phone are inseperable, even when having her hair done she has it in hand.
Jennifer and her phone are inseperable, even when having her hair done she has it in hand. | Source

Cell Phones And Child Safety

Giving your child a cell phone for their personal safety is actually a good idea but because today's phones have full Internet access they can also lead your child into danger.

Cell Phones And Child Predators

Chat rooms, Facebook, email and messenger services are now available on most cell phones and although they are a great addition to any phone they can leave your child exposed to predators who scour the Internet looking for victims.

There are cell phone applications that allow you to track where your child is but remember if you can track where they are a complete stranger can do that too.

Cell Phones and Cyber Bullying

is also on the increase, children can be cruel to each other and cell phones have given them another media to attack their victims, we read reports every week about children trying to kill themselves because of cyber bullying.

Pornography On Cell Phones

With full Internet access on most cell phones, your child could be visiting pornographic websites without your knowledge. Even if you put a bar on adult sites on your child's phone, they can often discover a way around it.

Cell Phones Have Camera's Too

An ever growing trend amongst teenagers is to send nude pictures of themselves to the girl or boy that they are dating. When the lovely couple split up two days later, one or even both of them in an act of revenge begin sending the pictures to all of their friends, who in turn send them to their friends and soon enough there are nude pictures of your son daughter all over the place.

Children With Cell Phones

Percentage of Children Owning A Cell Phone
Under 10's
2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Cell Phones Do You Trust Your Child?

Whenever you see Jennifer, Her cell phone won't be too far away.
Whenever you see Jennifer, Her cell phone won't be too far away. | Source

Is Your Child Ready For Cell Phone?

There are many factors to be considered before you decide whether or not your child is ready for a cell phone of their own.

  • Is your child mature enough?
  • Is your child responsible enough?
  • Can you trust your child not to use their phone during lessons at school?
  • Do you have safety concerns which merit your child having a phone?
  • Can you afford the extra expense?
  • will your child take good care of a phone?
  • Does your child understand what types of apps are alright to download and how to surf the Internet safely?
  • Does your child know what they should and shouldn’t share online?
  • What sorts of words and pictures not to send?

The most important thing to ask yourself is simply can you trust your child to be responsible and avoid any situation that could lead them into danger.

Cell Phone Poll

How Old Do You Feel Is Old Enough For A Cell Phone?

See results

At What Age Should Children Get A Cell Phone?

There are no real hard and fast rules about how old a child should be before they get a cell phone, at the end of the day it is up to the parents of each individual child.

If you as a parent do not feel that your child can be trusted with the responsibilities that go along with owning a cell phone then of course the answer is don't get your child one.

If you believe that your child is mature enough and can be trusted to stay safe and look after their phone then maybe it is the right time for them.

Try them out on a prepaid simcard that way they have a usage limit that they cannot go over that way you know that you wont receive an enormous bill at the end of the month.


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    • martin321 profile image

      David Martin 

      5 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Great hub and the information you provide made me to think whether i should buy a cellphone for my child or not.

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      5 years ago from Austin, TX

      The questions you posed are very important in knowing if your child is ready to have a cellphone. I guess when he/she reaches puberty and has a mind of his/her own I think it's the right time to give him/her a cellphone; after all, all people are connected through new technology and it is really unlikely to be left behind by that.

      Having said this, as long as your child is in your household there should be certain rules and restrictions (e.g., no cellphone during homework, cellphones should be left in the school locker, etc.). I think it would help kids to be responsible using those cellphones (no smartphones at the moment, please!) and other gadgets. I guess when the time they leave for college the restrictions should be pulled off one by one.

      Very interesting hub, enjoyable to read. Up, useful/interesting and a following

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 

      5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Great Q&A for a hub! My oldest son got a cell phone at age 13. My middle son at age 12. Now, my twins are 10 and would like to have their own. I'm going to have them wait until middle school (11, almost 12).

      It seems like kids are getting technology at an earlier and earlier age. Facebook is another issue. Hmmm.... another idea for a hub! Cheers, Steph

    • Triplet Mom profile image

      Triplet Mom 

      5 years ago from West Coast

      Excellent Hub! I really went back and forth with this with my kids. I think its different for each and every family. I finally decided to get my kids a phone but it was a $5 phone with only texting and calling capabilities, no internet, also my kids have to share their phone because its main use is to keep in contact with me and my husband. Maybe when they get older (high school) I will consider getting them each a phone but for right now the one phone serves its purpose. I can tell you that most of their friends have phones (not the reason we got it) and most of those phones are top of the line with all the bells and whistles. Of course most of their friends have had their phones since they were in elementary school. I don't think its necessary in elementary school unless there is a medical reason. But that is my personal feeling.

    • jimmythejock profile imageAUTHOR

      James Paterson 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      Thankyou for reading and commenting everyone, My wife and I felt that our daughter was mature enough to get her first phone when she was 12 years old. Our son on the other hand was less mature and we got him his first phone when he was 14 years old and although we thought he was mature enough it lasted 2 days before he lost it.

      Age doesn't really matter it is maturity and responsibility that counts.....jimmy

    • DJProfessorK profile image

      Kyle Ilgenfritz 

      5 years ago from York, PA

      I was given a cell phone at 15, with specific rules to only use it when necessary. As I got older, the restrictions were taken off one by one. I believe that it (as well as the capability of phones then) helped me use it responsibly.

      High school-age seems to be appropriate, in my opinion. Excellent hub!

    • danielleantosz profile image


      5 years ago from Florida

      def think it depends upon the specific child. But, I have to admit this scares me when I think about having kids. I got my first cell phone at 18, when I was old enough to pay for it. Times, they are a changin'

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 

      5 years ago from Texas

      I would say it depends on the child and their mental/maturity level, my kids have had cell phones since the age of 10. Simple phones with no internet/picture capabilities, but could txt and talk. Wasnt until about 12-13 the got internet access through the phone.

    • braydonmoore profile image

      Braydon Moore 

      5 years ago from Canada

      When a child thinks that what's good or bad then i think he/she deserve for cell phone.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I suppose there are many factors to determine what age, but I truly like the point about personal safety. Technology has been kind in that department, ie alarm systems, GPS and other stuff. Great topic to share!

    • allelsematters profile image

      Lady Jen Palven 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      I have students ages 9-11 years old and surprisingly they have already cellphones. Plus their phones are not just an ordinary phone but a very expensive one like the galaxy s3 and an iPhone 5. Grrr. I envy them!But anyway, I think at that age parents should not give them the latest mobile phones since there are a lot of new things going on with the new phone and I agree with your list of negative effects to the children and the result is that they can easily adapt to a certain situation.

      Great hub by the way, very interesting and useful to read.:)

    • jimmythejock profile imageAUTHOR

      James Paterson 

      5 years ago from Scotland

      My Daughter prior to getting her phone always pleaded with "All of my friends have one," I always replied back "If all of your friends smoked I wouldn't go out and buy you a pack of cigarettes,"

      thank you all for your input and visiting my Hub.....jimmy

    • ComfortB profile image

      Comfort Babatola 

      5 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

      I asked this same question a week ago in a classroom of elementary school kids - 4th graders. While some of them already do have a cellphone (given to them in case of emergencies), a good number of them agreed that kids should get their first cell phones at age 16.

      My two oldest got theirs when they were both 14 & 15. Prior to the cell phones they acted like their world will end if they didn't get one. Now they hardly even remember to take it with them to school.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • KEAD profile image

      KEAD Consulting Group 

      5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Great hub and a topic constantly discussed in our household. You hit on most of the key points that drive the constant debate. My oldest, a girl, is a few years away from her own but we do want her to be tech savy and learn in a safe and controlled environment the benefits Smart phones offer and also the dangers. The problem we face daily is the "so and so from school already has a phone." I don't like being the bad guy but when it comes to this I'll be the first to say you're not ready and it's not necessary. Great hub!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I'm happy in this case that I had boys. If I had had a girl I know I'd feel differently, and allow her to have a cell phone at an early age for safety reasons. When my boys were in their teens they all wanted a cell phone but the only way they got one was to save up their money and buy their own. Back then you couldn't go on the internet with your cell phone.

    • Boulism profile image


      5 years ago from Short Beach, CT

      Boy I am dreading this....thanks for posting this, it's making me think.


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