At what do you think a child should get a cell phone for the sole purpose of being able to contact them and have them be able to contact you at any time?
The phone would not be for chatting or texting friends
DD1 got one right when she turned 8. She is heavily into sports and is dropped off daily at practice alone. While she could find a coach and ask for permission to use a phone if wanted to call us, it made her feel more comfortable knowing that she had the ability to call us herself. We don't call her, well we could but we have her phone set to silent because she keeps it in her backpack at school and she doesn't like to change it. If there is a change in plans, we just wait for her to call us because if someone is one minute later to get her, believe me, she is already dialing their number! It has been over a year and she has been very responsible with it, she checks it daily to make sure it it charged and in her bag. We also put it in her jacker when she snowboards in case she gets separated from her team or DH. I'm glad that we got her one. There have been numerous incidences where it was essential.
We got DD a phone when she was in 7th grade (here there is elementary school through 6th and then junior high). We figured it would be more likely she would need to contact us at that point.
They are now shifting to middle school, so DS will probably get one when he is in 6th grade. Of course, with our family plan additional phones were so cheap we would have been fine with DS getting one when DD got one, but he emphatically didn't want one.
DD texts a lot, too.
My older two kids have phones - smart phones, even. They will be turning 11 and 9 next month. I don't care if they chat with friends and text - that's pretty much why they have phones (well and to get ahold of me and watch Netflix - lol).
Im sure most kids, adults even, don't *need* a cell phone, so I can't come up with an arbitrary age. I do know my almost 7 and 5 yr old kids really don't need phones. They do have iPod touches, though, so all the capabilities besides the actually calling that their sibling's iPhone has.
Like a PP said, it was cheap to add phones to our account. Like, $9.99 more a month, and the phones were free or like .99 cents with a 2-yr contract. Even my kid's iPhone was free b/c it was an older model. It wasn't a huge deal to get them phones.
We had an extra phone when my kids started doing activities on their own, that whichever kid was on their own took it. Otherwise it was in a drawer. They have each gotten their own phones when they went into 7th grade. That was the year I stopped dropping them off and picking them up from school. They were on their bikes.
I'm not sure. My oldest is in 6th grade and I haven't felt ready yet. I'm not against cell phones, I have one, but I am leary of opening a can of worms. My oldest has an ipod touch and that's about as advanced as we are right now.
I just don't think opening the floodgate of phones, texting, and FB is a good idea yet. I often hear of teens who feel "enslaved" to their phones once they have them and have people text them a lot. And I think peer pressure makes it hard for kids to turn it off.
I don't know when we'll go there but we just can't afford anymore distractions in life right now.
DH has an iPhone and loves it. I couldn't justify the expense personally and I myself have just a basic, ugly, un-smartphone that only has basic phone and text functions. I would NOT be getting my kids anything that I wouldn't even let myself splurge on! I might get them a very basic cell phone plan when they're... I'd say about ten? Who knows what cell phone options they'll have at that point, though.
For me it's more about whether the child is out and about on their own than their age. Dh and I each have a basic flip phone. Ds will use one that has the numbers programmed in to call me if I'm out and I can see giving him one if I was dropping him off somewhere, even just a playdate. He likes to check in with me from time to time and might not feel comfortable asking to use someone else's phone if he is having a problem at their house. His friend's phone number is also programmed in so he'll call him once in a blue moon, too.
My dc were 13 and 10 y.o. when we hit the point where we were all involved in so many activities that it made sense to communicate directly using cell phones during the day. I was working cross-town part-time on an irregular schedule. The kids had many after-school activities. Relying on school secretaries and other parents and dance/drama studio receptionists etc. to pass along messages became unworkable - and resulted in a few worrisome incidents when my messages didn't reach the kids or the kids didn't get access to an office phone.
Honestly, life became so much easier to co-ordinate when we could communicate directly and quickly. Cell phones are a useful convenience. If a child is 8 and that convenience makes sense, then why not use it? If a child is older and doesn't need it, then that's okay too.
I'm guessing this will be our first step. No texting, just a phone to take when needed.
it is different in our case. as coparents.
since i didnt have a cell phone dd's dad got her a cellphone at 5.
since 8 dd has soooo badly wanted her own 'phone' - not to use as a phone but to use to download and play games. she has a DSi but still would much prefer the iphone. or itouch.
i have started leaving dd alone at the library now at the age of 9. if i had to get her a phone, i'd get it now.