questionswhat is a good age to give a young teen a cell…




@driley1974: I agree. But I think it also depends on the maturity of the teen. When my daughter was a teen, there were times when I would have like to have been able to reach her, especially if she was traveling on bad roads (we live in Maine). So a combination of their maturity, reason to have a cell phone and ability to earn the money to pay for it woud be what I would be looking at.


Why don't you get your niece a pre-paid phone and give her so much activity per month? If she wants more, she has to pay for it. That way, you can both be kinda happy. She gets a cell phone, and you get a decent amount of control over it.


Age 32. And some of them I wouldn't trust with a cell phone either.

It's taken away if:

It goes off in church, school, or any similar setting.
You use it while driving.
You EVER think about texting while driving.
You can't find it.

During a very popular criminal trial a few years ago, the judge go so ticked off about cell phones/pagers (they were still popular then) constantly going off, if he heard one in the hall while court was in session the offender got 5 days in jail. I like that idea.


Once they start showing some common sense, I would start them out with one for emergencies and family only, and tell them not to give the number out to anyone. If they break the trust, then cut it off and have 911 capability only, until they show they can be trusted again.

You can also have GPS in it, to keep watch on where they go, and make sure they are in a safe area.


Cell phone or smart phone?

My daughters got cell phones around age nine so that we could know when they left school and check up on them at times. We put reasonable limits on their usage and I don't recall either daughter screwing up more than once. As they demonstrated the ability to control their usage and not do bad things, they were allowed to do more with the phones.

Smart phones (or more precisely, a data plan) comes with their 17th birthday, though Daughter#2 has had an iPod Touch and/or my old smart phone (without a data plan) since about age 16.

It really boils down to how mature the kid in question is.


@baqui63: Agree with you on this one. BIG difference between a cell phone and a smart phone. Just because "everyone else has one" doesn't work with the guy who pays for it. Props to teens are currently paying for their own phones/plans. That makes a perfect impression on how money works.


For me it was when my son was going places with out me (other than school) and might need to contact me. That started in 6th grade when he walked home from school. I got him a cell phone so he could call me and vice versa. This was before the days of smart phones so we both just had regular flip phones.


Back in my day, we were happy with two cans and a string and kids didn't care what was "cool" or "popular"....Ok that's a lie. I got my first cell phone when I was 16 because my parents wanted me to call them every time I went anywhere without them. So I tend to think when they can drive is a good time, but I guess most people get them earlier nowadays.

As mentioned earlier, you don't have to get her a smartphone, although I'm sure that's what she really wants. Maybe you could have her do some chores around the house to earn a phone. Also, if you were to get her a smartphone, you can set parental controls that prevent them from adding or deleting apps, buying things, etc so you can still have some control over it.


Well if it's a necessity then get a very, very basic phone with no texting.

If you have to get one that does have the ability to text, again a more basic phone would be more appropriate I think, specifically one without access to 3G, 4G or WiFi. Limiting activity can be easy, but check around with service providers to see what you can and can't do and keep in mind its not usually free.

If nothing happens in the two years that it takes for the contract to expire, then upgrade to something nicer -- this way you can built trust over time, see how responsible your niece will be, and gives them some incentive later.

This was what my parents did with me and my siblings. Though honestly if they're going to do something bad, chances are they already have a means to do so without a cell phone.


Being one, my answer will always be NEVER


Pretty much the only reason a 13-year-old wants a cell phone is to text their friends. In other words, it's not necessary. If your child wants to pay for it and you trust them to use it appropriately, then fine. Otherwise, I don't think it's necessary for a kid to have a cell phone until they start driving so that you can keep tabs on them and find out where they are and when they'll be home.


A flip phone from NET10 or even a phone with a keyboard is only about $30. I pay $30 every 2 months for NET10 - that's 150 minutes/month. It's from the same company as TRACFONE and uses the same towers as AT&T.

Texting uses half a minute per text. So you can't go crazy with texting. There's no such thing as an overage. When you're out, you're out. At 13, 1000 texts in a month is easy, and not having 1000 available prevents that obsession.


I just ran across a column addressing this question. The author cites a public health doctor who says 11-13 is becoming the "consensus" for "old enough," but doesn't provide any evidence for that statement. However, the article includes some good advice (IMHO) for establishing rules and limits on the use of cell phones that seem relevant to this discussion, which is why I decided to post it.

Personally, my gut reaction is to try to make a cell phone "not a big deal" for kids, maybe give them one with very basic features when they're young so that its novelty wears off before they're old enough to drive or before it becomes the center of teens' social interactions. Cell phones have become so ubiquitous that I feel like I'd rather center the cell-phone debate with my hypothetical teen on things like "no phones during meals or after 9PM" and "ZERO phone calls or texting while driving."