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At what age should kids get cell phones?

At what age should kids get cell phones?

At what age should kids get cell phones?

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!

At what age should kids get cell phones?

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?

At what age should kids get cell phones

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.

View Comments (51)
  • I’m totally against kids having cell phones. My nephews both have the latest iphones and have had iphones since they were like 10 years old. I think that’s a bit much.

  • I actually wrote a pot about this… .here’s my opinion: I got my son a cell when he was 11 because I was working a job where I had to start very early and he stayed home with his younger sisters in the morning time for about 30 min. before school. It was cheaper and easier for us to text back and forth. He would text me when they were awake, when they were done with breakfast, and when they walked out the door for school and then again when they arrived at school. Then he would text me when they left the school in the afternoon and when they got inside the house. I was home 30 min. later and the phone stayed on the counter til morning time. It was not a toy. When I was able to change shifts, I took that cell phone away. Now – I he is 16 and is working and just got a real cell phone. I agreed to pay half of the monthly service and am making him pay half. My 14 yr. old is not doing any kind of work, she does not have a cell. My 13 yr old is babysitting and she jut saved up enough to purchase a cell phone. She will pay half and I will pay half of the monthly service. That is the arrangement I make with the kids. It’s THIS way or NO way. The cell have come in handy for after school activities/sports – because they all get out at different times and need to be picked up so I can understand the need for kids to have cells. But I think it needs to be done in a responsible way that teaches them that these cells are for necessities and not for fun.

    • You are so right about setting those limitations, and I think it’s good for older kids to contribute toward the bill if they are able. It’s definitely a great way to teach responsibility.

  • My oldest didn’t get one until she was 16 and driving. My next daughter got it at 15, and it will probably be 15 or 16 for my son. I don’t find he needs a phone very often, and with four of us having phones we can usually find one for him to borrow when he needs it.

  • My oldest didn’t get a cell until high school. He is still mad about that. We only use pay as you go plans for the kids. THat way they are forced to learn to budget their minutes, texts, data, etc. We are debating a house cell though for our two younger Autistic kids. Technology soothes them when we are out in social situations that are new for them.

  • That’s a tough one, I always told my kids that when they are 16 they would get a phone; their dad bought them a phone when the youngest was 12 and I didn’t really like it; he hardly used it but now he is 14 and he is using it all the time and I’m kind of glad they both have a phone now that they are 14 and 17 because it makes it that much easier to keep up with them, BUT they also need it in school for teachers to TXT assignments and stuff…

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