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First cellphone?

Posted March 24, 2013 - 6:57pm
At what age did you give your child their own phone? I just had a slumber party at my house for ten 10-year olds, and I could not believe how many of them had their own phones!!! (Mine does not - but now I am thinking maybe she should...for emergencies when she is away from home at a sleep over, etc?) Thoughts?
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Mercedes Samudio
I think that in this new age, a cell phone has almost become as necessary as a notebook and school uniforms. I think the question each parent should ask when considering a cell phone is: Is my child ready for this responsibility? I believe that the cell phone has become the new way for parents to gage a child's level of responsibility and reasoning. If you decide to give your child a phone, you should become familiar with your cell phone company's chaperone services, data usage limits, and parental controls. Also, you should establish a set of rules/limits on the phone as you would the television or video games. I think each household should determine their child's maturity level first before deciding to give the child a phone. Does that give you some perspective? We can definately discuss further!

I gave my daughter a cell phone after the Christchurch earthquakes, I wanted to be able to contact her in case of emergency. It was a boring old cellphone with a $10 sim card - she was 10. She was excited at first but then realised that she had no one really to text and it was actually quite a big responsibility. She lost and found it several times. It has come in handy for contacting her and at school they have to put their cellphones in a plastic bag which is kept in a safe place in case of emergencies. If you are giving a kid under the age of 11 a cellphone don't be cross when they lose it -they probably will! And get pre-paid so they get a sense of the value of what they are spending. Always keep the right to check everything they are doing on it.

You never mentioned whether your daughter even wants one, but I'll assume she does. (If you don't know, ask. That's a great jumping-off point for a discussion of expectations and rules.) It sounds like you are okay with her having one for your peace of mind. A pay-as-you-go Tracfone (or similar phone) with only the ability to call (and text, if you desire) is a good choice here. It's all right to have her pay for some of her minutes if she chooses to use them outside of reaching you. And at age 10, they do not need an iPhone, even if her friends do, or if you do! it's like a car--you're not going to get her a Lexus the day she gets her drivers' license!