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What age to allow cell phone

Posted by eric_92037 (My Page) on
Wed, May 7, 08 at 22:50

Are there guidelines as to what age a child should be allowed to have a cell phone? Some say no younger than eight but then Verizon makes cell phones for children as young as five.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Both those ages are way too young, IMHO. Obvious each family and each situation is so different so I don't think there is an exact age that is right.

Do schools even allow phones? Why would a five, or even eight year old be anywhere without an adult and have to use a phone anyway? I would think when kids start working or driving it may become more of an issue to consider.


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5? That's ridiculous.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

I think Jr. High or middle school age is about right. I didn't get my kids cell phones until they were in high school but my youngest is 18 now, so that was about four years ago.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

If there is a need for a phone, then I would get one.

A 5 year old is not responsible enough to handle a phone.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

I gave my 14 year old (now 15 year old) a cell phone last year for Christmas. From my experience, cell phones create small monsters. Lay down rules before giving a cell phone and BE STRICT!


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

My daughter got her cell phone when she started high school. I must say that it REALLY helped with her anxiety issues. It gave her a feeling of "security". She doesn't abuse it either.

Cell phones are not allowed in schools here. They must use the pay phone. With our plan, she and my husband have unlimited usage when calling each others cell phone. It's great when we go shopping. DH and I, and DD and a friend. We can easily get in touch with each other to meet when we're finished, etc.

It also gives ME a piece of mind knowing that I can get a hold of her whenever we're apart. I know, I know... paranoid mom! LOL Not really, but I just like KNOWING that I can get a hold of her when I want or need to.


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I would want a teen age daughter to have a cell in case she needed a ride home. If my child spent the night somewhere I would want that child to call and check in with me from the friend's land line to verify where she was.

I don't see how people afford cell phones for everyone in the family. My phone bill was $50. a month for a land line only with caller ID. I talked to other women and they all have cell phones varying from $30 to 40 a month. If I had several children they would have to pay for their own.


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high school. 9th grade. we had to get it so i can get a hold of her and she can call if she needs a ride, and she attended high school that had no bus transportation, so she had to have a phone. before that she had no need.

DD never abused cell phone. while visiting my DD this spring break in college I used her cell phone. on few ocassions she gave me a hint that i talk too long and overuse her minutes. lol So i am the one who abuses cell phones hahahahah


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stargazzer

star, family plans that offer good deals when you have multiple phones.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

First off, remember that many of us survived and made it through childhood/high school without a cell phone. Sure, they make it easier to get a hold of the kids, but they aren't necessary. (I know, we've gotten so dependent on them that it might seem like we can't live without them)

I pay about $185 a month for a family plan (4 phones). I would definitely take away the phone of any kid that abuses the privilege and runs the bill much higher.


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when DD was in high school we bought her a cell phone, but as soon as she was out to college she had to buy her own phone according to what she was making at her job. she lost her phone during New Year party (was careless) and had to buy a new one even though money was tight for her at that point. We are not mean parents but if she lost a phone it is her job to replace it with her own money. We would replace a necessity such as food or medication but not cell phone.


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Talking to my friends, their children haven't found a good plan. They are usually like imamommy's. $185. a month would pay half of my yearly taxes, specials and home owner's dues.


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While I agree 5 is to young I do think that when a child no longer goes to day care and goes home from school alone a cell phone is a good idea. In many areas day care stops at 10-11 and that child could be home alone for 1/2 - 1 hr. I would want that 10-11 yr old to have a cell with certain numbers and instructions what to do. Get home, look at house, see a broken window or dog was left in and is now out etc -- don't go in. Call mom at work, call police and head for a neighbor.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

I would think that maybe when children are old enough to go somewhere without parents supervision or stay home alone it is okay for them to have a cell phone. Before that there is really no need for one.


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Almost every where a child goes would have a land line phone, except for a date that's gone wrong. That is the only security issue I can think of that would be of help. If you think about it a land line phone is safer than a cell, because it doesn't run down. People have funny ideas. I told someone that I was thinking of getting rid of my land line phone and they said, but you would not be able to call 911 if you needed help, then I said the cell would work, the reply was, but they won't know where you are. If I can dial a cell, I can tell them where I am. LOL


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Also, for cell phone emergencies, if you dial 211 instead of 911, they can track your location.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Thanks for that information.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

First of all, please don't take this personally, but just my own opinion.

I am probably going to be lamblasted, but here goes:

I'm an elementary/middle school teacher and I have to say, one of the biggest pet peeves are 2nd and 3rd graders telling me about their cell phone. I always say, "why do you need one?" And their reply is usually, " I call my Mom when she needs to pick me up." Like parents don't know what time school is out and when they should pick you up???? Puhlease! Think of something better than that one. I've taught for nearly 30 years and believe me, it disheartens me greatly to see what parents do in order for their kids to be "somebody"! I've seen it with clothes, material "things", over the top parties, extravagant vacations/ski trips, etc., and now cell phones and other hi tech gadgets.

Sorry to vent so much on this one, but I feel strongly about it. And as as far as the age for getting one, we had 1 cell phone that we let our teenage son use when he was going out. He finally got his "own" cell phone when he was able to pay for it. He's almost 20 years old now and has had it for nearly 2 years!

I've made my share of mistakes parenting, but these cell phones have gotten waaaaaaay out of hand. If you don't think so, just watch the kids at malls. t They can't take their eyes off of their phone for one minute,....they might miss a text or a call or LOrd knows what.


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We have four children and three of them have phones our rule is that you are given a cell phone in 5th grade. They are allowed to call when at the other parents home, when they are to be picked up (they all do after school sports and the time changes daily.) They are NOT allowed to text and we review their account with them each month.We have a business plan so we don't pay extra for their lines and we share minutes and always have plenty left.

There were a couple of times that my daughter got ditched by friends and would have had to walk home alone had she not had a cell phone. In our middle school I would say 80-90% of the kids have phones because when school is over and everyone exits the building the school doors are locked and no one is allowed back in even to make a call so kids without phones have to borrow from kids who do.

I love that my kids have phones. They are very responsible and they also call their grandmother who lives out of state a lot more than they used to so she loves it too.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

You know, newgardenelf probably touched on something that I find disturbing especially if you're not big into phones at a younger age. First off, why would school sports times change daily? We know in advance practice times. I can't change my plans (and those of my other kids) every day last minute just because sports practices go early or late. This would be just not workable for us...phone or not. I'm not doubting your word; just surprised the parents would allow it.

And, at our school, all the kids exit and if a parent does not show up for a child they are escorted back into the school office to call their parents. Do these teachers take no responsiblilty and just lock kids out when their parents/rides may have had an emergency, or even be in an accident, etc?? I find it very irresponsible of schools to allow this sort of handling of our children. Phones should not be required to survive at school in for fifth graders, IMHO. Phone or no phone...I'd find a new school if that's the way they were treating my kids.


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At my child's school, Grades 1 - 8, they will not let any child who is not bussed leave without checking the ID of the parent who is picking up or checking the ID of the person designated by the parent to pick up. They have this big worksheet, they check the ID, check the list of who can pick up, and then release the child to you. When DD was still bussed, the bus driver would not let the child off the bus if there were not someone waiting for them. They would take them to the bus garage, and you could pick them up there.

It's always bothered me that at my SD's school they just send the kids running out and they can go home with whoever takes them. Her school is K-8. One time her mom was sleeping and didn't come to get her. She stood outside alone until a janitor noticed her and brought her inside to call her mom. She didn't get picked up until 6pm (school lets out at 3:15). I wish she had had her cell phone then. She has one now, and although generally I don't think a 4th grader NEEDS a cell phone, I'm glad she has it for emergencies like that!!


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Middle school ends at 2:25 and the teachers come outside until about 2:45. They lock the school to keep kids from coming in without supervision. I'm sure if a kid knocked on the door the secretary would leave the office and come over, same if there was an emergency. Neither our elementary nor middle schools check ids, the bell rings the kids come out. We have over 500 kids and most of them are walkers so the id chart would not work. At the elementary school a teacher does stay until the last kid is picked up or that child is brought to the office to call and wait.

All of our kids play sports and their practices vary and yes it is a huge challenge. The practices are everyday after school but practice "ends when it ends" according to the coach. When they have travel games we have no way of knowing what time they will return to school until they call to tell us they are on their way or back at school. Some schools are far away and others are closer so it literally can be anywhere between 5:30-7:00

We live in a city so many kids walk to and from school so I think coaches feel like a 10-20 minute practice change doesn't affect people but we don't let our daughter walk home alone so it does affect us. I can get upset with the coach or have her call, calling is easier.


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I went to a seminar on raising children at a time in which they are so privelaged. It's not just money based that they have more of now. It's that we are raising kids not to understand consequences. If a child forgets their homework they call their parents between classes on their cell phone and then sometimes a parent misses work to rush around getting the homework to their kid. I am only 37 but I never had a mom that would have done this for me.

Plus, I never would have gotten permission to call from the office phone to track my mom down. We didn't even have an answering machine.

The woman who taught the class said she and her friends made a pact that the kids would not have cell phones until they were 16. That way there wasn't just one of them.

It worked for their group. I don't plan to let our children date until 16 so I think that would be a good time for a cell phone. Any earlier is added expense and kind of silly.

Plus, the school we plan to send kids to do not allow phones anyway. So that will help the cause.


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Here is my take as a non-parent. First of all those cell phones meant for 5 year olds only hold about five preprogrammed numbers and are great for emergencies if the child gets lost (say at the mall)--much easier than trusting a distraught child to memorize a phone number, plus others that are programmed in can't call the number!

2. I would say any child that is not supervised for a long period of time, such as with extracurricular activities or latchkey kids.

3. Some families choose to use cell phones rather than land lines and happen to have an extra line.

4. It could be a good way to teach budgeting and bill paying. For example on a family plan each phones minutes and the cost of the calls/texts are given on the bill (paper and online versions)--each month expect the child to pay (from allowance or job earnings) his or her base share (if he/she has a job) and any other costs, such as excessive texts or whatnot. I think it could be a teaching tool for many kids, as long as the parent doesn't allow the child to pull the "I'll pay you later" or the "I'll do (fill in blank chore here) instead" Treat the situation as if you are the phone service and creditor. If the child defaults on a payment (at least 2-3 weeks after the actual bill arrival, or when the bill is actually due), then take the phone and garnish allowance until it is paid off. Just an idea.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone 2

Also, in terms of school rules, this is mainly to avoid interruptions. I would still let my kids have it with the expectation that it was turned off during the school day and if not and it was confiscated, then I would not (except under extreme circumstances) help him or her get it back.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

If a 5 yr old lost their cell phone .. would they still know the number to call?

How many of the numbers in your cell phone do you have memorized? So that if you lost your phone could you still make a call?

Cell phones have made us a very impatient society all instant gratification .... I hate them.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

pseudo, I am 71 and just bought my first cell phone. I am trying a pay as you go to see if I can do without the $38. phone service that I rarely use. I agree with you 100%. I think there is something wrong with part of our society that can't go anywhere without their pacifier, oops I meant cell phone. LOL


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RE: What age to allow cell phonewer

I meant to add, if this cell works out for me, I plan to leave it at home most of the time instead of carrying it with me.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

I also am 71 and have had a cell/mobile/car phone since 1991. It was a bag phone and sat under the dash of my car and plugged into the cigarette lighter. What a blessing these newer more modern phones are!! I went digital when my flight was cancelled and I was standing in an interminable line waiting to make new reservations, and those around me were talking to the reservation desk on their phones.
Also remember being 3 or more likely 3 1/2 and knowing how to use the phone (well before cell phones!) We didn't have dial and I couldn't read so I had to remember "2849J" and "4807" to tell the operator if I needed help.....that was also before the days of 911!
Why worry about someone buying their 5 year old a cell phone? If they can afford it....that's fine! I also remember when friends of my kids parents wouldn't allow them to answer the phone until they were 8 or something. I said as soon as you can say "hello" and "just a minute please, I'll get my mom" they were good to answer the phone.
And what skin is it off of your nose if some kid has a cell phone at 7....as long as you aren't paying for it....there may be circumstances you don't know about where the child needs a cell phone.
My kids haven't bought their kids cell phones until they were 12 or 13.
I think the event that made my son and his wife realize that their oldest needed a cell phone was when they got a call saying "Mom the field's too muddy for practise so you need to pick us up. I borrowed Josh's phone to call you"....they got him his own phone a month or so later.

Schools that my grand children go to don't allow a cell phone to be turned on during school hours nor are kids allowed to use them....but as soon as classes are over, out they come!
Yeah....I think lots of kids are too tuned into the electronics today, but I also think lots of kids are too programmed and too much involved in soccer, music lessons base ball and whatever else kids do. The answer is moderation....but cell phones are here to stay, as are social security numbers, palm pilots and computers.....and frankly I see no reason to object to other people having and using cell phones, unless it's the "fuddy-duddy factor" kicking in.
My cell phone is always on and always with me.
Linda C


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

linda,

I think if you had kids that age and you saw the difference between the very young kids that have them and use them all the time, and those that don't, you'd have a different opinion. I agree it's good for an older lady to carry a phone with her at all times. Kids aren't generally using them like you are. You are more mature; they are, well, kids and the phone usage, like most things, will be abused by them.

Plus, sadly what I often see around here is that some young kids are generally given phones so that the parents don't have to watch them or know where they are, etc. They are being used as substitute babysitters in a way. And they really allow kids to get away with murder in some instances. You'd be surprised.

It's all a part of that "my kids have to have everything" mentality that so many US families buy into. It is an unneeded spoiling usually non-necessity that can often contribute to the disrespect so many children have for each other and adults nowadays. If you don't understand the coach situation above, let me explain how I see it... the kids are learning to disrespect their parents by making them drop whatever they are doing and come get them whenever "they" call and are ready. It's not right.

Plus, we're not even factoring the car accidents that happen because of immature teenage drivers that don't know how to maturely handle cell phone calls. They don't need to talk and drive, but of course, if they've been using a phone for everything since they've been five, they may thing why not? It's not about being a fuddy-duddy. Have you tried to talk to a child (even say hi to one) that had a phone attached to them? Some kids don't even know how to communicate face to face anymore.

Just because the Jones next door are doing it, doesn't make it right. And, don't be fooled into thinking all technological advances are good for our society.

I have a cell phone; have since I've been in my 20's and I carry it with me all the time too. No one but my immediate family and my kids' school even have the number... (friends don't call me on it, etc. - I don't want to talk to them when I'm out anyway) I think it's disrespectful not young, hip, or technologically cool to be talking on the phone in the middle of the supermarket or at the doctor's office. IMHO, it's not being a fuddy duddy; it's realizing and respecting that there's a time and place for everything.


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I saw a young mother with 3 small children trailing after her in the store, all three fussing and one crying, trying to get her mother to listen to her. The mom was on her cell phone which it seemed was more important than her child. What annoys one person does not annoy the other. Cells don't bother me but that growth some people growing out of their ear sure does. It's their right to have it, but to me it seems they want others to see them as important and needed.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Count me as the meanest mom in the world (or at least in town). My oldest DS, almost 15 and a HS freshman, is, in his words, "the last kid in school without a cell phone." There are over 900 kids in just his freshmen class, I'm betting there are 2 or 3 others. LOL. He doesn't think that's funny.

I will probably get him one and add him to our plan in the next few months. Maybe even when school is out, and I know he'll be "hanging out" within our subdivision and communication will be harder.

Maybe I keep my kids on a short leash, but up until this point, I saw no point in them having cell phones. We live in a suburban area, but the places they go are too far to walk. They walk 2-3 blocks to a friend's house or a playground, but heck, I can yell that far! They don't go anywhere there isn't a trusted adult and access to a phone, and I know what the phone number is. I can see how giving kids a cell phone would give parents a false sense of security. It should not be taken for granted, we still need to know the name/address/phone number of where our kids are. We can't slack off and say "Oh, it's OK, we can reach other on our cell phones." My kids go to school, where of course there is a phone. To practices, and only DS#1 practices where there isn't a landline and the coach is there (actually, DH or I are also usually there). They go to friends' homes, but I can reach them/they reach me with the house phone. Up to this point, our lifestyle just does not require us to leave our kids anywhere there isn't already a phone and/or adult with a phone. Actually, not having a cell phone helps keep us vigilent about making sure to have contact information for where they go. Their childhood lifestyle is not much different from what mine was.

Having said that, I do expect to get DS a cell phone in the next few months. I expect that this summer he will roam a little farther in the neighborhood, his social life is bigger than the younger ones. He could walk to the movies, an ice-cream shop, convenience store, community pool, basketball courts, and lots of friends houses. A year ago his social life was not that busy, now it is. Lately, when I am home and goes out to walk around w/friends I give him my phone. But that won't always work out. My parents would have let me do all those things without a cell phone, obviously, and I survived. But since it is an option now, I'll take advantage of it.

That doesn't mean his younger siblings will get them anytime soon! And it will be a minimal plan. It is not for entertainment purposes. I do not buy toys that come with monthly bills.

Parents might think cell phones are for all the well-meaning practical reasons. But to the kids I know, they are toys and entertainment. Most kids want them (my DS included) b/c "everyone else has one." Having a phone and having the "right" kind is a status symbol among their peers. So the question of how old is old enough is subjective. There is how old for the responsibility/independence of using a cell phone to communicate with parents? Then there is how old do your kids have to be before you bring them into a world where what you own makes you fit in? How old do your kids have to be for a parent to condone buying something because "everyone else has one?" At what age do you teach them to play the Keep Up With the Joneses Game?

I like the way some family friends of ours gave their sons their old cell phone, no special features, just a phone. Mabye that's what I'll do. Get the new one for myself, let DS have my old one. ;o) He won't like that, but it will do the job.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

This is an interesting thread and I agree that not every part of technology is a good thing. For our family the benefits of having cell phones have outweighed any negatives (in fact I couldn't think of any negatives).

The next time you see a kid on a cell phone though instead of assuming they are spoiled or trying to keep up with the Jones's you might wonder if they are calling a grandparent to tell them about their day or a cousin to wish them a happy birthday or a single parent who works to let them know that they are out of school and walking home with so and so. That's what I've seen kids using them for in our area.

To be honest, I think the kids are better behaved with cell phones then many adults. Cell phones aren't a big deal to our kids- everyone has them. My biggest pet peeve is a loud cell phone conversation in a restaurant or even worse the hair dresser (that's my no kid quiet time). I've seen the mommy on the cellphone with the kids trailing (so sad) how about meet your friend at a park and let the kids play while you talk.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

excatly my point... but, it's not about who they're calling, although I doubt more than 1% of those calls are to grandma! IMHO kids shouldn't be calling grandma or cousin Bill from the mall or playground...it's disrespectful to the others around them, and because of interuptions, even disprespecful to the person they're calling.

IMHO, The spoiling isn't about who they are calling or if the calls are to family or not. They need to learn to prioritize their time so that these type of calls can be made at the right time. So, why can't they call from the privacy of their home? I guess they may be too busy playing X-box then?? It really helps creates a "me" attitiude. When it's convenient for "me" and without regard for respecting other people in public -- that's the spoiling part; I can only fit grandma in while I'm out; this is my only free time. (No, it's really not, people think that and make it that way, but it's really not. My kids and I talk to my family more than anyone I know and we never use a cell or call them from out in public). When we're out eating at a restaurant we talk to each other, and don't pick up a phone to call grandma. When we're at a soccer game, we watch the game, when we're in line and the supermarket, we're in line. It may save me time, but I don't brush my hair, clip my toe nails, or makeout with my husband in lines either. I try to respect other people when I'm out in public.

And, without the phone, do you think maybe the single mom would have arranged beforehand for Johnnie to be walked home with an older neighborhood child or be driven home by another parent? What does calling to tell her he's out of school and who's he's walking home with help -- especially if he has no one to walk home with that day? Can't he call when he gets home so she knows he's home safe? I know, I know, he needs a cell phone, I'm just not seeing how it's really helping anything. I think often it's making parents less responsible for their kid's safety, not more.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Oh well to each their own.

I think our kids are really well rounded they aren't calling from the mall they aren't allowed there unsupervised, they don't call from games because they are playing in the games, if they call family while waiting to be picked up or before practise it isn't because they can't prioritize and want to play xbox (we don't own them)- it's because they know when they get home they have homework and chores and if they are lucky 1/2-1 hr of tv) and they love their friends and family.

I think a single mom who does make arrangements beforehand and still wants a call when they leave school and when they get home is about as responsible as she can be in a pretty tough situation and the parents who use cell phones as babysitters were probably never responsible to begin with- now at least their child has a chance of getting some sort of help if they need it.

It is a me world and it isn't because of cell phones it's because of parenting. Our kids don't have IPODs or WIIs or other material things but they are at the center of our time- in that way they might be spoiled (although) I'm not dropping what I'm doing to bring in forgotten homework- they can take their consequences for that mistake.

I would hate for a parent whose circumstances dictate getting a cell phone to not do it just because other people think that means their child will be spoiled just be really firm with the rules and teach them proper etiquette.


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cell phone

I meant to add, if this cell works out for me, I plan to leave it at home most of the time instead of carrying it with me.

You should carry it with you when you leave in case of emergency. Just leave it turned OFF.

My mother is 77 and a few years ago, her car broke down on the Trans-Canada highway. She wasn't very far from home (if you're driving). She had no way to contact my dad so she got out of her car and flagged down a passing car. When realizing that this was very dangerous, she got a cell phone (at our urging). I called Bell Canada and informed them of the reason why my elderly mother needed a cell phone for emergency use only. She pays $13.70 a month for 30 free minutes. Her phone is always turned off and nobody has her number. It's only for emergencies!

IMO, cell phones for kids is not for "gabbing", it's for emergency purposes only. My daughter has had one for 2 years now (since starting high school) and has never abused it. Her school is a 40 minute drive from home and it has come in very handy many times!

However, for a 5-year old? I'm not too sure. But then again, there are so many sickos out there nowadays! I guess it would depend on the location of where you live.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Khandi, you are right, I had not thought it through. I was just thinking of friends calling to chat.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

I have to defend Linda here. She may be 71 years old with no young children at home, but I have read many of her posts and she does spend lots of time with her grandchildren. Linda is one of the most up-to-date and informed 71 year olds I know. I think she is just giving you her perspective on young children who are raised properly. My own children (ages 11 and 12) have shared a cell phone for several years now and we have taught them the proper use of a cell phone for their age. I can not stand to see young kids with phones glued to their ears or constantly texting. My kids do not even have text messaging. Their phone is included in my plan and they use about 5-10 minutes a month during the school year and about 20 minutesa a month during the summer -- all calls are to me. The phone is used when they walk to the neighborhood tennis courts and I call them home, or in the summer when I drop them off at the pool and they call to ask if they can go home with a friend, or to see if I can order them a pizza and have it delivered to the pool, or to tell me there is lightening and the pool has closed. I think the young kids always "glued" to a cell phone is as much the fault of the parent as it is the child. It is up to parents to teach proper etiquette, and that includes cell phone etiquette.

My children are not allowed to bring their phone to school since there are phones available for them at the school. However, cell phones came in very handy here a few years ago when we had a blizzard and school closed early. The teachers had to personally talk to every single parent before allowing the children to get on the bus to go home. If it weren't for all of the cell phones, it could not have been done in such a short amount of time.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

dlynn,
I totally respect your opinion and understand that there are many parents out there that do teach their kids responsibly ways to use cell phones and there are "some" cases that they can come in very good use.

But, I do think there are many more parents that do not teach respectable cell phone etiquette, and many more cases that really don't benefit from cell phone usage even when they may seem to. I took exception to linda saying "frankly I see no reason to object to other people having and using cell phones, unless it's the "fuddy-duddy factor" kicking in."

I think there are a lot of rational reasons to object to cell phone usage in younger kids today that have absolutely nothing to do with a "fuddy duddy" factor. That's why I responded to linda's post.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Carla this is your comment about Linda that I was responding to:
"I think if you had kids that age and you saw the difference between the very young kids that have them and use them all the time, and those that don't, you'd have a different opinion."

Like I said, Linda has several grandkids and I think she is very up-to-date and informed for her age. You were the one that insinuated that Linda was out of touch and clueless abuot younger kids just because she didn't have any young kids.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

I think you need to consider WHY/WHEN/WHERE your child will be without a parent or older sibling with a phone and then decide if they need their own phone.

My olderst got her phone when she switched to a private middle school that was 1 hour from home and it enabled her to stay in touch with me in particular about her rides for the day. We were part of a car pool... occasionally a driver would forget to show on time... be running late, have an unforeseen event cause delay on the ride, etc. that parent would contact their child who would let all the carpool kids know the dael and they would then call home to let everyone at home know what was going on.

My middle childr is now actually older than DD was whan she got her phone. He is still in school in town and rides the bus both ways. He really has no 'need' for a phone just yet. To be fair, there are times when we will give him one of ours (mom, dad, or DD) phone when he's going out and will need a ride, it's easier to arrange where to meet when we arrive... but it doesn't happen often enough to justify the $10 per month expense to add him to the plan. Would he like his own phone? SURE! but he's smart enought to realize it's a want and not a need at this point.

Yo need to evaluate you own situation and decide... there is no one size fits all to this issue.


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ages and cell phone

71 now is not the same as 100 years ago. I find it strange when people comment on others' age. My dad is 71 and he is more uptodate and informed than many younger folks. And is very much aware of what young kids or teenagers do or need since he has grandkids of different ages.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Whatever, dlynn,

You yourself even stated that Linda "is just giving you her perspective on young children who are raised properly". I was just telling her there are many other kids that are not raised correctly. Sorry, but I still think that if she thinks everyone who is against cell phone usage in younger kids is a "fuddy duddy" then she really doesn't know what the average kid is doing...active involved hip grandma of the year or not. Sorry, but I didn't start the name calling.

So, do you personally also think those that are against phone usage in younger children are necessarily just "fuddy duddys" or do you think there may be other valid reasons to be against cell phones usage in some young kids?

Being a hip older person with all the new techno advances, like knowing how to text message, play Guitar Hero or get a WebKinz account has nothing to do with this agurment, IMHO, although it appears some people may think so. This isn't a popularity or "How cool are you" contest. I guess you can just call me a young old fuddy duddy and call it a day, because as I'm sure you and linda know, everyone likes name calling; it's so darn proper and hip especially amoung the cool youngin's nowadays! That must be where linda gets it from.

Well, I'm off to buy my 4 year old a cell so he can be cool and keep up with all the other kids on the block. -- You never know, the landline could die, my own cell could be dropped in the toilet, I could have fallen down the steps, and my 4 year old may want to call for a pizza all at the same time (I certainly hope he remembers the pizza coupon - and can pronounce pepperoni correctly). Thanks for the suggestion; I don't know how he could have ever survived without one.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

If being a "hip" older person means you let your child do everything the other children do, then I am definitely not "hip" and not ashamed to admit it. No piercing except ears, maybe a small, dainty, tatoo on an ankle or hip, no dread locks, no baggy pants. Might buy a child an Ipod if their grades are good and stay that way or a Nintendo DS. If they lose them that's it, no more. I was in a store and there was a Grandmother complaining her grandson had lost two Nintendo DS and she was buying him a third. the kid could have been selling them because he knew Grandma would replace it.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

We have 3 kids and over the years have given up alot to see that they had things. BUT, a cell phone was not one of them. Our rule was, when you could afford to pay the bill you could have one. Our goal was to get them college educated and on their own with good jobs.. They are all grateful at this time in their lives... The all still talk about what we gave up so they could enjoy... Not having a cell phone didn't kill any of them..


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Like susie, we told our 4 kids that they can each have their own cell phone whenever they are willing to pay for it. We have a family plan, so it is only $10 / month additional for an extra line.

So far, only my 12 year old has one. She found out quickly, though, that texting (which is what all her friends do) is expensive! She added a $5 / month , 250 text option to her plan, but always runs out and has to tell her friends not to text her until next month. She'll have to do a little more babysitting to move up to the unlimited texting plan....

It's definitely a "want", not a "need" for her, but I don't mind that she has it, as long as I don't have to pay for it.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

DH and I have 5 phones on our plan. One line was added originally for a family friend who was struggling, but has since moved.
We now have 2 "house cells" that our kids use, especially DD11. We gave up on landlines years ago. I like that DD can carry one phone when she's off to a friend's house, the park, whatever. She has done some silly stuff (downloads) that cost $$$, but so did SD16 repeatedly when we gave her her own cell @ 15. We blocked that nonsense. We've had less issues with DD11 than SD16. Now we have unlimited texting-how SD sends/get 4,000 texts/month I do not understand.
DD11 wants her own phone for her next Bday, I am not ready to agree.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Every child is different but 5-10 is generally too young for me. I think when children enter middle school or junior high they might be capable of the responsibility. However, you need to understand their level of communication need, responsibility level and your pocketbook. Make sure you set clear and consistent rules for your child.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

mrsmaddog, I think that is a very good way to use a cell phone. If I had a spouse we would share our "one" cell phone. Whoever left the house could take it with them, then call home if needed. I could take it with me on my nature walks, which always made him nervous. He didn't like me alone in the woods.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

LOL!! I am flattered at my "hipness" or "anti fuddy-duddy" being a source of a heated internet discussion!!

Some people seem to take pride in doing without and/or depriving their kids of the latest innovation. I have friends who won't use a computer, don't know how and don't want to learn! I have friends who don't own a cell phone....and know several who have one but never turn it on.
I remember once trying to make contact with my grand son's "other grandma" at the state fair, as we were going to transfer custody of him...I was to meet her and take him for the rest of the day while she went home. She called me and asked if I had arrived and told me where and when to meet. I had go to the appointed place, but she and my grand son were not there. I waited, still no show....I tried to call...it went immediatly to voicemail....I waited...and eventually she called me. I told her I had tried to call her but her but got her voicemail....she said.."Oh I never turn it on, it's just for emergency"...Yeasch!
Like it or not, cell phone usage and ownership will increase over the coming years. From the bag phones of the 80's to the tiny razors of today, we've come along way in less than 20 years.
Linda C


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Linda, I love technology, but still I have to have a good excuse to take a service that requires a $30 or $40 monthly payment, along with my $38. a month land line. I don't use my any phone but once or twice a week and I rarely get calls. I bought my first pay as you go cell phone a couple of months ago and have only had the call from my neighbor to see if it worked ok. I am going to start using it for all my calling out to see if I like enough to do away with the land line. Mostly it is because it is a waste and more money saved is more money to travel.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

18 - until then, they aren't legally old enough to "own" anything. Kids don't NEED phones on them 24/7, they WANT them, big difference. Kids NEED to learn the value of a hard days work, and of earning money and budgeting it, and that there is no free lunch. I allowed my kids to have a cell phone once they were 18, and were able to pay for it!


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

I have four children ages 14,12,11,and 9. My 14 year old has a cell phone that she bought and pays the bill. My 12 year old has one that I bought but she only uses it if she goes to her friends house so I can get ahold of her or she can call me without tying up their phone. My two youngest do not have phones.

My fourteen year old takes it to school but leaves it off until after school is out. They are not allowed at school but when she needs to stay after they never let her call me so she takes it with her.
We use the phone as a way of showing her that everything costs money. She doesn't pay she doesn't get to keep it. She has worked at least enough to pay her bill, and not by working for me. She babysits for the money. She ended up buying her own cellphone...looking for the best deal she got a great phone for little money. Hopefully she will carry this lesson with her for a long time. She has never "not payed her bill". Even though she pays for the phone bill she is on our plan therefore we take it away if she is in trouble. The one thing she doesn't want to lose has kept her from breaking the rules...so far.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Stargazzer, let me know if you find a "pay as you go" plan that works for you. I don't use my phone much either, so I tried a "pay as you go" plan a couple of years ago. You could reload the minutes for $10, and the minutes were good for 90 days. So, it was around $3.33 / per month. Then my carrier was bought out, and with the new carrier you could still reload for $10, but the minutes would expire in 30 days. Or you could reload for $25, and then the minutes would be good for 90 days, but at that point I figured it was just better to add a $10/month additional line to my dh's plan and have unlimited calls back and forth.

With pay as you go, you don't have a contract, so it seems you are at the mercy of your carrier if they decide to change their options.

But it's frustrating, because I was happy with the $3.33 / month emergency-only phone and wish I could just have that back!


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Feezetag, not sure what mine costs, between $7 and $10. a month. I just renewed for an entire year so I don't have to worry about it expiring and loosing my phone number. It cost $100. to do that and my minutes rolled over. I am happy with my service, but haven't used it very much yet, I have T Mobile To Go and have been cruising in Alaska. Now that I am back I plan to start using it all the time to test it further.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Cell phones are great for kids that are overly-involved in activities instead of spending quality family time at home. It gives parents a feeling of actually "parenting" when they are not.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

We have the best of both worlds- our kids are involved and we spent lots of family time at home (and as a family with their activities, neighbors, friends, etc).

We have the convenience of cell phones when needed and we actually parent these children- cell phones don't change who the parents are or have been....you either are or aren't a responsible parent regardless of cell phones.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Considering that cell phones may contribute (some say cause) to brain tumors, I've read that it's not recommended that kids under 12 have them because their brains are not fully developed. Why do they need a cell phone before they drive anyway? We were the only parents that said no until ours was 16. Oh, and check the texting...it will go on all during class too. We cancelled that.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Every families situations are different. Ath the time my daughter was age 6 and son age 9 they had to travel by plane to their father's for visitation. I gave them both a cell phone with my number and their dad's numbers pre-programmed so if there was ever a problem, they knew how to use the phone. A six year old 'DOES' know how to use a phone if taught correctly. They never abused the phone or lost them. But they sure knew how to use them if ever the need. In these days with our children being abducted everyday, I think it is wise for children (even as young as 5) to have a cell phone that is on. So if they ever did get nabbed, they could at least be traced by the phone. There are ways you can keep the phones on and in their back-packs at school. As long as they are for emergency use only. I believe like my children, if you teach them how to use it and it is only for emergency use, then they will abide by it. And, yes Verizon has a great child one that can be only programmed by the parent. Better to be safe than sorry. My children are now 16 and 19 and still travel to see their father and always have their cell phones with them. It makes me feel safer and when they touch down in the airport they call me and when they see their dad and they are with him, they call me. I never have to worry.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

Freezetag, my cell phone is working out very well. I am still undecided about doing away with my land line yet. By signing up on line I bought a cell phone that retailed for $139. for only $39., and got a few free minutes, a very good deal.


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RE: What age to allow cell phone

IMO for a young person's personal use they should have to be able to pay for the phone themselves. That is what we have done with my DD now 20 and DS now 16. When they were younger and went to an activity that I wanted them to be able to call me from I gave them my cell to use. We are very conservative with our spending on these types of things and feel that they need to work for cell phones, car insurance and so on.

A special circumstance would of course call for a different way of dealing with them having a phone. It was a want and not a need with the two oldest. Should the youngest, who is now 10, begin to fly by herself to visit family in Ca. then we will make arrangements for that situation.


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