My daughter now has a few friends who have cellphones. My daughter is 10, and in my opinion does not need a phone yet nor has she asked for one. But it has made me realize that we need a plan in place for when she does ask or for when we decide she needs one.
But at what age should kids get a cellphone?
In talking to other parents of tweens – the best advice to follow is that you need to do what works for your family. Maybe 9 or 10 years old is the right age because that child has a sports practice where they are dropped and need to call for a ride. Maybe it's a two family household so you want your child to be able to call you at anytime if they are not living with you that week. Maybe you dropped your land-line so you want to make sure your tween has a phone if they are now left alone at home for short periods of time. Maybe you just think your tween deserves a phone. Maybe there's no reason for your tween to get a phone until middle school?
So is your tween ready? Here are FIVE questions to ask your self before making that decision:
1. Why does your tween need a phone? Practices? Home alone for emergency situations? Why do they need to stay connected? Does it benefit the family?
2. Do they understand the cost and responsibility of having a phone? Do they just use it for emergencies? To only call you or home or family? Can they call friends? Can they text?If it's damaged or lost, who replaces it? Who is financially responsible?
3. Do they need a Smartphone and access to the Internet? Does it make more sense to just have a basic phone with calling and/or text only?
4. Do they understand the rules you've set and discussed for the phone? Do they only have the phone for specific reasons otherwise it is left at home? Does it get shut-off at night? Do you get to monitor all calls. Rules need to be discussed and agreed to before purchasing the phone.
5. Do they understand safety issues and possible texts or calls from strangers?
As with anything – your child's maturity level and your parenting rules will play into whether or not you think your own child/tween is ready for a cellphone and it's an individual family decision with many variables that only you can answer. Just make sure to communicate openly with your child and keep talking.
Does your child have a cellphone? What age did they get their first phone?