I recently posted a reader survey on our Facebook page to discuss kids and cell phones, and to get your feedback on the following question: At what age should a kids get cell phones? As expected, the survey results were mixed. Here are the survey results:
25% Age 11 – 12
38% Age 13 – 14
38% Age 15+
In addition to the survey results, I received some really great feedback. For example, one reader stated that her oldest daughter just got her first cell phone when she got her driver’s license and a job! Before that, they have had a “house cell” that travels with whoever might be going out – babysitting, to a school event, etc. The “house cell” is a really great idea!
Another reader shared that she bases the decision on each child’s level of maturity and responsibility, which is something I totally agree with.
During a Today show interview earlier this year, Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and father of three children stated that he made his two daughters wait until they were 13 years old to get a cell phone.
My own son did not get a cell phone until he was 14, although part of that decision was based on my single parent economic situation at the time. At 14 he was starting to do more activities off with friends, and I really just needed to peace of mind to be able to reach him.
Some of the benefits of letting your child have a cell phone include convenience and safety. If your child has a cell phone, you can call or text him to make plans, find out where he is and what he’s doing. It can also bring you peace of mind just knowing where your kids are. And in an emergency, a cell phone can be crucial if your child needs to reach you. On the flip side of this, letting your child have a cell phone might put them at risk. As active as kids and teens are on social sharing sites, they are at risk of coming into contact with a predator.
A few things to consider:
1. How independent are your kids?
2. How responsible and mature are they?
3. Does your child need the phone to stay connected with you or for emergency situations?
4. Can they be trusted not to text during class or while driving, and to not disturb others with their conversations?
5. Does your child understand what types of apps are okay to download and how to surf the Internet safely?
6. Does your child know how to use the phone safely and appropriately? For example, who not to communicate with and what is appropriate to share?
Cell Phone Safety
Once you have determined that your child is ready for a cell phone, It’s important to set limits on use and establish parental controls which will enable you to monitor usage. I personally use Sprint Guardian to safely connect my family. There are also some great online resources to help teens and parents learn about online and cell phone safety.
Back-to-School Offerings from Sprint:
If you have decided to let your child have a cell phone, there are currently some great back-to-school offerings available.
HTC One from Sprint – Buy One Get One Free (8/16-8/29). Just launched in new red color! Also, now preloaded with the new NextRadio app that provides students with access to their favorite local FM radio stations while on the go. Interactive features allow listeners to easily enter to win concert tickets and more.
Tablet offer from Sprint – $100 off any LTE tablet, includes iPad and iPad Mini (Now- 11/7)
Galaxy Family bundle from Sprint – Buy a Galaxy SIII, S 4 or Note II smartphone and instantly save $200 on a Galaxy Tablet 2. (8/16-9/13)
Sprint’s Accessible Education ID Pack makes it easy for millions of K-12 students with print disabilities – individuals who cannot effectively read print because of visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive or learning disabilities – to access Web-based educational resources on their smartphone. Free on a wide array of Sprint ID-enabled Android smartphones.
If you want a no-contract cell phone, there is a great offering right now from Boost Mobile®. Just in time for back-to-school, new customers can get their FIRST MONTH FREE when they switch to any Boost Mobile® phone now through September 22, 2013. Learn more about this offer here.
Will you be sending your child to school this year with a cell phone?
Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. As a Sprint Ambassador, I receive products and services to use throughout the year.