The question, “How old should my child be to get him/her a cell phone?”
Hubby and I have asked this question before… I have four kids and my oldest son, who is now 13 years old, had simple cell phone at 9 years old, because I would get to his school late for pick up at time for whatever reason it was for that day. We both felt safe when we could call each other and let each other know where we were at. He knew to use the phone for emergency only and not for personal use.
Anyhow, he’s now 13 years old and here’s an entry I had posted in a forum on the web in regards to the question above… I thought I would share it here, too:
My son is a middle schooler and at the start of the new school year, we asked him what’s his goal this year? He would say to get straight A’s. And we told him, if you get all A’s, we will reward you. This year, he asked for an iPod 5 Touch. We asked him, “Why?” He said it’s because he can play music and play games on it. Well, he got his straight A’s. Before we bought the item, we saw that the iPhone 5 was more appealing at a lower price. My son already had a text only phone to use for emergency only. We figured, why not get him an iPhone so that both the phone and the IPOD features are in one. But before we bought it, we told him of the deal and asked what he thought. Of course, he was excited! However, there was a catch… He had to pay $15 for the data plan, which allowed him to not only text, call, but also connect to the web. He agreed and has done extra chores and has kept his grade up. He does not have Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or even a Youtube account, which doesn’t stop him from trying to ask if he can have one. He understands that it takes a lot of responsibility to have a social networking account where complete strangers can read and access personal information and make it their own. We, as parents, are computer savvy, and have resources to find out if he’s opened an account or not, but anyways, did not feel comfortable in opening this area of socialism until our son is old enough to know what to do if his personal data and life is ever violated. We are protecting him and preparing him for his future in a society where networking from a distance can play a vital roll in getting a job. It can make or break a person’s opportunities for advancement or a career in a desired field. Until a child can understand the value of money, the effort it takes to earn something, and the consequences of irresponsibility, then wait just a little longer until they are ready. I promise you, it will teach them to be patient and show more appreciation of what life (and parents) will offer.