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What Age is Best to get a Cell Phone for Your Kids?

Updated on December 21, 2011

This a tough question all parents face with kids in elementary school. What age should parents get the cell phone? Do they really need it? Are you, as a parent, really that paranoid about the need of having one or about what lack of control you will have?

In our case, the first begging from our daughter began in 5th grade and many of her friends had them. I did not see the need being great enough and I was not willing to pay for the plan. However, by the end of 5th grade, she did have one with the usual constraints. She had no Internet access, texting was unlimited (thank god!), she had the phone she wanted. There was no way I would splurge for the iPhone.

I think it simply a total waste of money and zero need for most kids to have a cell phone any younger than age 10 or 11. Just having a cell because all the friends have it and it is cool is not enough. Had there been a real need, maybe, but in our case, it was not there. Of course, I can access it at anytime and if her grades fall below 3.0, she might lose it.

Research shows that 75% of the kids ages 12+, have a cell. Makes sense. Schools have no cell phone rules. Makes sense. Parents should always set the rules for cell phone use, what conduct results in its loss and get an agreement. They should not be afraid to enforce it. If a lost or broken cell occurs and it will cost you considerable money to replace, make them wait for it. Some lessons are tough to learn.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      @OMG- hmm, really? I think around 5th-6th grade is the earliest.

    • profile image

      omggoshgosh 6 years ago from Belgium

      Well I got my cellphone when i was 12 years old, I was changing school and my parents always wanted me to be reachable. In my opinion 12 year is to early, I'd rather give them one at 14-15 yo (:

    • profile image

      oldandwise 6 years ago

      I see no need for a cell phone until age 13 or older. Even then I would make sure the picture sending and internet access was blocked. Not to mention, monitoring the call history and viewing text messages from time to time.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      Okay, U are crazy! They will lose it or it will be left somewhere and get stolen or they will drop it. A 1st grader is way to immature for a cell. But.......some lessons are hard to learn!

    • lifeintoronto profile image

      lifeintoronto 6 years ago from Toronto

      To me, a cell phone is like a security measure. I have a 5 year old son, and I am already thinking about getting him a cell phone next year when he goes to the 1st grade - he goes to school (Senior kindergarten) by school bus, and a couple of times the bus came too early and I wasn't able to pick him up on time, thank goodness there were kind parents who took care of him. And once he got lost in the crowd at an Auto show (by my husband, not me). I made him memorize my cell phone number, and at large gatherings I write my number on his wrist just in case, but I am seriously consider getting him a cell phone at age 6, call me crazy!

    • doubleklm profile image

      doubleklm 6 years ago

      We have four kids. The older kids we waited until 7 th grade. My third child got hers in 6th grade. Now, my 5th grader is really pushing for a cell phone. Everyone in his class has one. So far we are holding out but I imagine by his 11th birthday, we will wind up getting him one. There are lots of times when I give him one of our phones if he's going somewhere and we need to keep in touch with him. Times sure are different from when we were young.

    • baby-strollers profile image

      baby-strollers 6 years ago

      Cell phones for teenages is a tough one. My kids have a 1 chance rule and they are not allowed to take it out of their locker at school. I'm prepared to enforce the rule and they know. I don't have a problem.