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Old 07-07-2011, 10:50 AM
 
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Was discussing this with my wife the other day, when is a kid old enough to have a cell phone? Should they ever have one? Having not had one until adulthood, it never occurred to me that kids these days often have cell phones in hand. I have seen some pretty young kids walking around in public talking on them. A lot of the kids have way nicer phones than I do.

My opinion is why would I ever let my kid have a cell phone? (We don't have kids yet, we plan to start soon.) I don't see the need for a child to have one at all. My wife thinks it's good to be able to keep tabs on them or so they can call someone in an emergency, but we all survived childhood without such devices. Plus kids are liable to lose/break/misuse them. I think they're mostly expensive entertainment devices.

So, I wonder what some of you who are parents out there have to say about it.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Denver 'burbs
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I don't think there is one specific age. I think that once you have children, you and your wife will need to make all kinds of decisions regarding what your kids will and will not have or when they get things (or don't). Those decisions are based on what is best for your family. It may be different than what works best for other families. Cell phones are no different. Cross that bridge when you get to it.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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I think that in many cases they're just expensive entertainment devices for adults, too.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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Yep, we're nowhere near having to worry about that sort of thing, I'm just curious as to what other folks are doing.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:31 AM
 
Location: Denver 'burbs
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I can't remember exactly but it seems to me my kids got cell phones in about 8th grade. They are now seniors in college and high school respectively. Their cell phones are very basic (whatever our plan offered "free" with the contract). But then, so is mine. We do have unlimited texting but no data plans or anything like that. We found it helpful for any number of reasons and neither one has lost or broken a phone. I take that back, I think my son did "somehow" end up with a cracked screen on his a few years back. He paid for the replacement himself (same model - refurbished). Cell phones can be overused/misused/abused but so can lots of things. I think that part of parenting is teaching how to effectively and appropriately use the tools available to us.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Elsewhere
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As others have said, it may depend upon the kid and the situation. In my case, my daughter was 8 when her father and I separated, and when she was 10 he got her a cell phone so that he could call her directly. In general, most other kids her age did not yet have cell phones, though.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:58 AM
 
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Our kids were given cell phones as soon as they became heavily involved in sports. I just got tired of sitting in a parking lot waiting for the coach to dismiss them 45 minutes after the "official" end of practice time.

I think kids should definitely have them by the time they start driving, just for safety.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:06 PM
 
Location: The Ranch in Olam Haba
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Quote:
I don't think there is one specific age.
At this point I tend to agree. What we should be asking is what type of phone to give them. I've heard of a Kosher cell phone and it sounds just about right.
The kosher phone is stripped down to its original function: making and receiving calls. There's no text messaging, no Internet access, no video options, no camera.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:09 PM
 
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IMO it all depends on the kid and what they are doing. Their maturity determines what kind of phone they need. My son is currently 6 1/2, takes the bus to school and we drive him anywhere else he needs to go. When he does play with someone in the neighborhood it is at their house. This will be the situation for another year or so and he certainly doesn't need a phone.

When he is in second grade, he will be almost 8 and will have to walk or be driven to school. I suspect around that time he will also want a little more freedom to ride his bike around the neighborhood and see friends in other developments. Assuming he is walking himself to and from school and venturing more into the neighborhood, then it would be appropriate for him to have his own phone.

His first phone will be something basic and I plan on using all the neat little parenting features like GPS and restricting what he can do with it, I will also only give him two choices as to which phone to have. If he shows he is responsible with the phone, 2 years later he can upgrade to something with more features, he would be around 10 and I would give him more options. If he continues to show respsonsibility with it, then at the next upgrade when he is 12 I would let him pick whatever phone he wanted and unlock all the features.

The only other point I would make is that a lot of people seem to look at these phones like they are some kind of major indulgence, they really aren't. On my new Sprint plan I get 1,600 shared minutes, unlimited data and text as well as all the smart phone features for $129 a month for my wife and I. If I add my son to our plan, it will cost only $9.99 for a non-smart phone and $19.99 for a smart phone. On a 2-year contract I can get an EVO 4G for $99, many more basic phones are free or cost under $50. In most cases adding a child to your plan is the equivalent of a birthday present or Christmas gift and won't cost you anything more than what a prepaid phone would on a monthly basis. Add on $5 for the insurance and you are good to go. It really isn't that expensive.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
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I've already told my two older kids (boys, almost 11, and 6) that I am never getting them cell phones. If they want, they can use their allowances to get prepaid phones and minutes, but I'm not paying for it.

Some of the older one's friends already have them, but I think 11 year-olds' business dealings can wait for face-to-face, or a parent's phone.

I grew up fine without one, and thus don't see the need for it. A cell phone is a luxury item IMO, not something like clothing, food, shelter, etc. And I don't care about "what all the other kids have".
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