questionswhat is the appropriate age for a child to have a…


I don't have a problem with kids as young as 10 having cell phones, as long as they're not used in school. But if my kid told me to hush because she was talking on a cell phone that I bought for her, she would suddenly find herself without a cell phone until she could pay for one herself.


Depends on the environment.

If a kid is old enough to get to and from school on their own, then they should have a cell phone.

I'm trying to think back to when my daughters first got theirs... I know they rode a school bus the eight or so blocks to school until they were in third grade, so I'm thinking they got phones during the summer before third grade, which would be about eight or nine, right? (BTW- this is in NY City, and the older daughter is now 18.)

As for the hushing... that is a completely different problem. As the phone is there for ME to communicate with them, I wouldn't take the phone away. But there might be a bit of "slapping upside the head."


While I suppose some will not agree, I'd say not before 16. There really isn't a reason I can come up with for it.

Although, after watching some people, I'd suspect 34 might be a better starting age.


@mtm2: I wish I could vote more for this comment.....


This is an excellent question and I've wondered the same thing myself. I've been surprised at some of the young-ones that have cell phones.

I'm old and didn't get my first cell phone until I was over 30. I was able to survive without one but there were also pay phones all over the place. Haven't seen a pay phone for a long time except for maybe at an airport.


I think it really comes down to a question of safety. If a child walks to and from school alone at any age, why would you not spend the extra $10 or so for a simple cell phone for emergencies. There are a few cell phones like the Firefly that can only call pre programmed numbers. Some carriers offer these phones, or they can be purchased directly from Firefly mobile with no contract.


Teenage years, for my particular area and situation. Forget unlimited texting, or unlimited anything for that matter (unless they're footing the bill with a part time job).

I haven't hit this stage yet with my almost 10 year old. The school bus picks up within sight of our home, after school activities have very definite start/end times with instructors who have access to school phones (and their own cells) for emergencies, and I make it a point to get to know the parents of anyone my child might be playing with or visiting before he goes there. The only reason my child really will need a cell at some point before he's driving is the lack of pay phones in public places these days, but again, that's a teenage thing.


My daughter is 10 and I wouldn't dream of giving her a cellphone yet. Maybe 12 or 13 for EMERGENCIES!!!


I think it is much more a question of maturity than age. I didn't have a cell phone myself until I was 15 or so, but even then used it only when I needed to contact my parents. This wouldn't have changed even if I had gotten it when I was younger. Some older children would be using it during school and I still see people use them for hours at work for personal reasons. Even to this day I don't have a phone that can text or surf the web. But it certainly is nice to have if you do any driving just for the peace of mind and ease of reaching your family.


Unless they need contact for special reasons (afterschool sports of the travel variety), I would say not before they can afford to pay for some part of it themselves. I didn't get mine until I turned 16 and got my first job.


I think 8-10 year olds should have cell phones. That is when all the kids at school start getting them. If you wait until your kid is 16 to give him/her a cell phone, they will be SOCIAL REJECTS! When a kid at your childs school says, " Whats your cell number? Do you wanna hang out this weekend?" your child is going to respond with " I don't have a phone?"


I have 4 kids and I think 12-13 is the age. That's when they start having more scouting, youth group, and social outings. It was needed 3 or 4 times before they even got their practice out early, baseball practice cancelled, need the extra tent for a scout trip dropped off...etc.

It really brings you peace of mind when the little wankers get their driving licenses...yikes!

As far as the hush? I quote Mrs. Braxton from the TV show 'The Braxtons'..."if you ever dis me like that again I'll slap the piss out of you" Mother of the year right there....


@bzhitnitsky: I have friends who didn't get their phones until they turned 18 and went off to college. They had active social lives and weren't outcasts.

I think the age varies from child to child, based on their level of responsibility. I got my first cellphone when I was 13. I had just started playing football and needed a way to let my parents know when practice was over, or cancelled or something like that. If the kid wants to have a phone just to have one and isn't responsible or well-behaved enough to have one, then they should have to wait a few years.


So many things to consider, but if I had a child and I paid the bill... there would be a strict "no texting", "NO SEXTING", rule enforced by blocks.. for emergency use only. That goes for internet in their room as well. IDK, maybe I was just raised so differently... I have trouble with even the simplest things like kids having TV's in their rooms. IMO it's a reason for degraded families and lower grades in school. Technology is wonderful if it's used properly, but not when it's used to raise and spoil the next generation.


Kids should probably have cell phones when they can can afford to buy the phone and have a steady income to pay for the monthly bill!


I agree with the issues of safety... old enough to walk to/from school is a good reason to get one.

...but does it need to have TXT messaging, internet access... etc? I would say no.

If you don't need to call your child yourself on a cell phone, there are cell phones that are only enabled to dial 9-1-1.


@bellavampyre: "...for emergency use only. That goes for internet in their room as well...."

IDK what school district your in but starting in 9th grade my kids had homework and projects that specifically required internet access. By the time they hit 10th grade they actually got 20% of their classwork posted online.'s not the same anymore...and I know this doesn't make any sense but it PREPARES them for the future...

When I heard my 15 year old having a discussion with an adult friend of mine about 'port settings, ping rates, hard DHCP, and throuput rates of various wireless standards at range...well, I didn't mind paying TWC that month..:)


We're standardizing on the beginning of high school - about 14 years old.

Kids are much more independent, coming and going more on their own. The phone allows them to stay in contact with us and others they do all their activities with. It's the right time for this level of responsibility.

That said, no iPhone. Ridiculously expensive, status symbols, and frankly theft magnets.


When the child shows he/she is mature enough to use it responsibly.

Using this logic, many adults should not have a cell phone. :)


When they're old enough to pay for it with their own money. With kids today it would likely be the first bill they'll ever see, so bring it to them and make them aware of what it costs. I grew up just fine without a cell phone, and the world hasn't gotten drastically more dangerous for kids such that we need to re-evaluate that. Some people seem to have confused the luxury of mobile communications with actual necessities of life.


In South Dakota we got out drivers license at 14, so I'd say you should have a cell phone when you start driving. Other than that give them an old cell phone so they can dial 911.

(I live in Iowa now, so 16 here.)


when the child has gainful employment and can pay their cell phone bill on a timely basis.


Though my oldest child started asking for a cell phone in Kindergarten wher mother and I waited until she was 10 years old. That seems to be below the consesnus age based on the comments here but it was decided very logically.

First of all we took into consideration the child's maturity level as well as her need a cell phone.

My daughter is 13 years old now and we have had no issues with her having a cell phone. There has been no excessive use, no inappropriate texts, and she hasn't once lost her phone (for more then an hour or so).

She is a gifted and talented student and involved in multple after school activities, including Destination Imagination and College for kids in the summer. We felt the phone provided her secuity when walking around the college campus, allowed her to comunicate with her peers and class mates on school work and group projects and gave her a better social connection. Not to mention she is always just a phone call or text away.


@undrpsi: I think @bellavampyre meant that his kids can use the internet, but just not in their room. We only allow our kids on the internet in an open area where their surfing can be seen by others.


As to those who are sying the child should be able to pay for their own phone or service. Most cell companies offer better deals w/ multiple phones on the same account. I pay and additional $10 per month for my daughters phone. It's not as if her phone creates a financial burden.

My daughter has unlimited text, but not unlimited minutes. This has never been a problem as I moniter use regularly and the kids hardly ever call anyone when they can send a text.


My kid got his when I got tired of him asking me for one. Obviously, i'm not that great of a parent...


@wingnutzero: "...if my kid told me to hush because she was talking on a cell phone that I bought for her..." I completely agree, except that if my kid ever tells me to hush, taking away their cell phone would only be a very minor part of the overall punishment package.


I think circumstances are a pretty big factor here..

Plus, to address this issue they have those "kid" cell phones that can only call pre-programmed numbers (mom, dad, 911, etc.) and receive calls.

It's already been said, but I think necessity and maturity should be the biggest factors.
A lot of these newer generation kids are already angry, spoiled little bastards.. so anything we can do to mitigate the damage is good :)


If my [nonexistent] kid ever told me to hush, they wouldn't have any need for a cell phone because they'd be deaf a few seconds later :) least in one ear.


@wnyx585am: Yes, exactly... Internet is a wonderful tool, I just worry that it isn't monitored enough.


high school. Not before, it bugs me to see 6th-8th graders (or younger!) walking around with phones, it seems that those who have phones before high school get an air around them, plus they tend to become unsociable. Before high school its only a status symbol that everyone forgets in a week, but in high school it does become useful.


This is no longer my problem. I pre-dated cell phones by quite a bit, so my kids were in high school before you could get a "mobile" phone. That mobile phone fit inside a small, back-pack-like case.

However my grand-kids have brought the debate back into focus.

I hear justifications given for a cell phone such as:
"All the kids have them"
"I need it for school"
"I have to talk to my friends"

None of those convince me. I don't care what all the other kids have, I care about your well being. I can't buy you self-respect. Friends can always write notes, email or try face-to-face chat.

If a youngster is providing their own phone, great. If I am paying for a cell it's for my reasons, such as safety and security. Any incidental use is going to fit within my budget and guidelines.

One young friend of mine (12) is constantly texting, even when others are in the same room. I would have taken her phone months ago, but her mom thinks it is OK. Apparently we have a generational divide.


@mtm2: I agree. I did not get my cell phone until I was 16. My parents reason (which i thought was completely valid) was that until I could drive, I would never be anyplace where they didnt know where I was (seeing as how they were always the ones to drive me around)


I didn't get a cell phone until I was in high school, and I'm pretty sure I only got one because I was driving to and from school/work. But, I know of several children (9-11) who have cell phones for communication purposes. One has gets home before her parents, one to communicate with his father (lives with mom), and one in case of emergency. Personally, I don't see the point in anyone under 15 or 16 having one unless they are going to repeatedly be in a situation where they won't have access to another phone.