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#1 of 61 Old 06-24-2010, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is sort of a spin off from the kids walking home thread. I have been sort of thinking of getting DS a cell phone at some point. At 4 yo he's never on his own, but sometimes he's with GP who can't use a cell phone (they confuse him.) I was kind of thinking about it the other day and then the other thread reminded me. So, here are my questions:

How old was(ere) your DC when they first got a cell phone?

What made you feel they were ready/needed it?

Do you trust them to turn it off when it isn't appropriate (school, library, etc) to have it, or do you not let them have it in those places?

Is it a regular phone or a special child model, and what is it capable of doing??

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#2 of 61 Old 06-24-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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I don't know. My oldest is 8 and there have been a few times I wished he had one. He's rarely without dh or I (or at school), but when he is, it panics me a bit when I can't get ahold of whoever is watching him.

I'm thinking we will get him one in the next few years. And probably a very basic, regular phone with some rules attached.
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#3 of 61 Old 06-24-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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DS got a cell phone for Christmas this year. He is 10. Its a regular phone, though not very fancy. He actually uses the camera more than the phone part and loves taking photos and sending it to people. Sometimes I get the most random image on my phone during the work day, especially when he is off doing something fun. I love that he thinks of me during the day.

We actually got the phone because, while he was rarely away from adults, there have been times when he has wanted to call but was embarrassed to ask (a playdate that went badly, for example), and we do drop him off an many of his activities now. While the karate studio has phones and teachers, if class were cancelled for some reason, I'd rather he be able to call rather than wait for the other 30 kids to do so as well. At school sometimes I am running late for pick up and it is nice for him to call me as say "where are you" or to have me call him and say "I was late leaving the office, I'll be there in 5".

Once he had the phone, we realized we were now comfortable with him going off on his own a bit more, so have increased his "roaming radius".

He generally carries it with him, but turned off. He turns it on specifically if he needs to make a call, and then turns it off again. The only exception is that we ask him to turn it on and leave it on if he is riding his bike or scootering around the neighborhood.

He knows how to call, how to send photos and how to text. So far he has never overdone any of those things and I do monitor his usage via the bill each month (he's on my plan). I'd say more than half of his classmates have phones by this point, though this is a private school, so I have no idea if that's the norm anywhere else.
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#4 of 61 Old 06-24-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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My 9 yo has a cell phone - I think it's been about a year? She knows to turn it off at school, and for the most part, she remembers to keep it charged.

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#5 of 61 Old 06-24-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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My oldest ds was around 11 when we first got him one and it was a cheapo TracFone. I didn't want to put him on our plan as I was not sure he was ready for the responsibility of a phone. He was not allowed to text or to call friends. It was solely for contacting us or someone else in case of emergency (or to say he wanted to stay after school or stuff along those lines). He did great and it helped him to be much more independent.

We just recently got him on our plan and now he is allowed to text but we still request that if he wants to talk to friends, he use our home line as we have limited minutes. Short calls are fine but he only gets 200 minutes a month to use. If he wants more minutes, he'll have to pay for them. Also, we are really strict about texting around people and in public. I think cell phone etiquette is very important.

I think 10ish would be the earliest for us for the littler ones but we'll see! We will reevaluate as we get closer.
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#6 of 61 Old 06-24-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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Dh and I are thinking about getting our oldest one when she turns 10, she will be 8 in August.

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#7 of 61 Old 06-24-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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There are times I've wished my 8-year-old had one. For one thing, half the time mine rings is when a neighbor kid wants her to come over to play or wants to come to our house to play. Also, it would be nice to call her if I need her to come in instead of going to get her, although I do often call the parents at the yard she's at. And then she has a couple of activities she's in where I don't wait through the activity, and I always think it woudl be nice if she could call me if they get out early or something, though the people running the activity are of course capable of calling me.

So I've thought about it, but I think it'll be a while yet because I'm afraid she'd lose it, and I'm not sure it's worth the expense at this point.
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#8 of 61 Old 06-24-2010, 06:56 PM
 
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Quote:
How old was(ere) your DC when they first got a cell phone?

What made you feel they were ready/needed it?

Do you trust them to turn it off when it isn't appropriate (school, library, etc) to have it, or do you not let them have it in those places?

Is it a regular phone or a special child model, and what is it capable of doing??
my oldest got one when she was 11. She goes enough places with her friends where either she needs to contact me or I need to get in touch with here where there are no phones or it's just easier to text her.

She has only taken it to school 1-2 times, they're not supposed to have them there. She's in Grade 6(for 1 more day,lol) & up until May they don't have locks on their lockers & there are some kids I really wouldn't trust to not take it, yk.

Next year in middle school they can take them, but they must be in their lockers during class time. They can use them before/after school & at lunch. They are not allowed to take photos with them. The school has the authority to search any texts/photos if such a need is warranted.

If we go to a restaurant she's not allowed to text while we're eating, but it's fine when we're waiting for food. She has to turn the ringer off & tones for texting off.

She has a LG Rumor 2, the same phones that DH & I have. It has full capabilities of a regular-not smart phone.

Before she got her own phone if she went somewhere & needed one I'd give her my cel phone. It's actually our old phone now as when we got her phone Dh & I got new phones too. It's a pay as you go & we'll keep it for when our other 2 kids(8 & 9) may need to use it. With our pay as you go phone we've gone as long as 6months without adding any funds & it hasn't cancelled our number. It doesn't roll over minutes either.
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#9 of 61 Old 06-24-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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I got my older dd a prepaid Tracfone when she turned 12 in August. She was going into junior high, and is involved in a bunch of afterschool activities, and I needed to be able to talk to her.

I'm pretty anti-cell phone in general. We only have tracfones, and tend to use less than 15 minutes/month.

She's a very responsible kid. Yet she managed to disable the first one entirely by trying to put a password on it so that I wouldn't read her texts. We told her up front when we gave it to her that she had no expectation of privacy and that we would read her texts and monitor her usage carefully. Guess the password wasn't such a good plan, huh?

So, she didn't get it replaced for a couple of months. She's been bugging me to get her a fancier phone and get a regular plan with unlimited texting. She just managed to lose the second phone. That provided excellent evidence to my explanation that the fancy phone and unlimited texting will happen when she's self supporting.

I have no plans to get her younger sister a phone until she turns 12 either.
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#10 of 61 Old 06-24-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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We had a very basic cell phone for our kids to share when one of them did something away from family from the time they were about 8 and 9. It was a "for emergencies only" kind of phone and I kept track of it and keeping it charged up and such.

When my younger DD turned 12, she asked for a phone with unlimited texting, so we got them for both kids (older DD has some special needs and never would have asked).

The cons are keeping track of where the phones are and keeping them charged up.

Neither of my kids have abused their cell phone/text capabilities.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#11 of 61 Old 06-24-2010, 10:17 PM
 
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We're getting one for my daughter this fall. She's 6.

Special circumstance though - she's diabetic and will be going to school. I want her to be able to reach us just in case. She's very careful with belongings and since she's attached to and takes care of a $10,000 insulin pump I'm thinking that a Tracfone won't be too big of a deal to keep track of

My son is 8 and doesn't have a phoen. He'll get one when he gets the point that he needs one. He's careless with belongings and his maturity just isn't at the point where he would take care of a cell phone.

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#12 of 61 Old 06-24-2010, 10:54 PM
 
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My 11 year old does not have a phone yet. I haven't felt she needs her own and where we live coverage is spotty at best. I do anticipate getting her one soon after school starts in the fall as she will be starting middle school and have more activities, etc during which we may need to get in touch. The middle school is also in an area with better coverage than her elementary school. I do often find myself giving her my phone when she is roaming the neighborhood and I am at home.
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#13 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 07:41 AM
 
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I am pretty sure I will be getting my daughter one for her 8th birthday. She really wants one, and I would like her to have the ability to call or text when she isn't with me.

She wouldn't bring it to school . . . I trust the nurse there to call me/send her home if she ever says she's not feeling well (in two years of school, she has never gone to the nurse for more than a bandaid, so she would be taken seriously if she said she felt sick), and her school is a really great place . . . so she wouldn't need to contact me there. I'd probably remind her to turn it off when we go to the movies, but otherwise, there aren't a lot of places that we go that aren't appropriate for a phone.

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#14 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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I am thinking when DD1 is 8 which is in 6 months. She does a lot of activities, dance, gymnastics, swim team, she snow boards in the winter and DH and I are not always with her.

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#15 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 11:04 AM
 
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The rule at my kids school is that phones must be turned off and stored in a locker. Chidlren are not allowed access to the phones during the school day at all. It's considered a discpline issue.

The kids who carry them back and forth only have them for the journey -- such as a child who waits at a bus stop without their parents, or a child who walks to school without a parent.

It's a pretty big deal. I've heard that some new schools are being built so that cell phones will not work inside the building.

The staff is great to call if there is a problem.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#16 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 12:02 PM
 
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Maybe I'm a weirdo, but I can't imagine buying a cell phone for a child before puberty. I just don't see the need. I would think 11 or 12 would be the earliest I'd allow it, and then there would have to be some agreement for how the child would contribute towards paying for the service. The radiation from cell phones has never been proven safe, and I don't want my growing kids to walk around all day exposed to that radiation. I don't even let them sit in front of the computer for more than a very limited time. Furthermore, I am on a very limited income, and electronic devices for kids are not something I can budget for. If my kids were in danger or needed to reach me, they can ask their teachers, the nurse at school, or a neighbor to call me. They all (even the three year olds) know my phone number and their father's number and their grandmother's number, and how to approach somebody to ask for assistance.

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#17 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 12:04 PM
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My son is 7.5 and I'm thinking of when to get him one; maybe for his 8th birthday. I want to be able to leave him home alone for short periods but we don't have a home phone, and when he is at his dad's I'd like to be able to call him without having to rely on his dad to pay his bill/charge his phone/have it with him.
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#18 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 12:10 PM
 
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4 years old

a children's phone (so 'call daddy')

ex bought it for dd, but really it was for me as i dont have a cell phone and he could reach us anywhere as we are pretty loose about child custody.

dd is almost 8 and i think he might be getting her a regular phone. i am not sure why. she doeesnt really yet use the phone.

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#19 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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I think 4 is way too young for a cell phone. I will consider one at 8, but I will prefer to wait until at least 10. There is no reason any of my children need to have one at this age.

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#20 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 12:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KirstenMary View Post
I think 4 is way too young for a cell phone. I will consider one at 8, but I will prefer to wait until at least 10. There is no reason any of my children need to have one at this age.
You know, this sounds a little judgemental. She did say that 1. her X bought the phone and 2. there seem to be special circumstances here. I know of several children with divorced parents who were given cell phones specifically so they could keep in touch with the non-custodial parent. Given the number of issues I've heard with "my ex won't let me talk to my child" or "my X uses the ability to block phone calls as a way to make me give him/her what he/she wants", this seems like a great thing.

Clearly there are different circumstances for different families that dictate when a cell phone might be necessary/appropriate/convenient. I think its a great tool in the right circumstances -- just like all the rest of technology.
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#21 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
You know, this sounds a little judgemental.
I disagree. The poster said
Quote:
There is no reason any of my children need to have one at this age.
Clearly she's speaking about her own situation, not directly about the OPs. The OP asked about when we gave/would give cell phones to our kids, and why we would or would not. The poster was just answering the question.

I understand that there might be special circumstances where a parent would consider giving a child a cell phone at an early age. However, I do think that for my kids, a cell phone is an unnecessary expense and an unnecessary distraction.

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#22 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
You know, this sounds a little judgemental. She did say that 1. her X bought the phone and 2. there seem to be special circumstances here. I know of several children with divorced parents who were given cell phones specifically so they could keep in touch with the non-custodial parent. Given the number of issues I've heard with "my ex won't let me talk to my child" or "my X uses the ability to block phone calls as a way to make me give him/her what he/she wants", this seems like a great thing.

Clearly there are different circumstances for different families that dictate when a cell phone might be necessary/appropriate/convenient. I think its a great tool in the right circumstances -- just like all the rest of technology.
Who am I judging? I quoted no one, and I had only read the OP and not the rest of the thread. I happen to have a 4 year old, and I could have been referencing her for all you know. Please do not judge my post. And I still stand by my opinion. I think four is too young.

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#23 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 02:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Llyra View Post
I disagree. The poster said


Clearly she's speaking about her own situation, not directly about the OPs. The OP asked about when we gave/would give cell phones to our kids, and why we would or would not. The poster was just answering the question.

I understand that there might be special circumstances where a parent would consider giving a child a cell phone at an early age. However, I do think that for my kids, a cell phone is an unnecessary expense and an unnecessary distraction.
Thank you.

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#24 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
You know, this sounds a little judgemental. She did say that 1. her X bought the phone and 2. there seem to be special circumstances here.
Except it was OP who stated that she was considering getting her 4yo a phone.

Sorry, I wouldn't get a 4yo a phone, either.
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#25 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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I'm sorry -- I didn't mean to start a debate. I actually misread your post to say "There is no reason for a 4 YO to have a cell phone". That, coupled with "I think 4 is way to young" struck me badly.
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#26 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
You know, this sounds a little judgemental. She did say that 1. her X bought the phone and 2. there seem to be special circumstances here. I know of several children with divorced parents who were given cell phones specifically so they could keep in touch with the non-custodial parent. Given the number of issues I've heard with "my ex won't let me talk to my child" or "my X uses the ability to block phone calls as a way to make me give him/her what he/she wants", this seems like a great thing.

Clearly there are different circumstances for different families that dictate when a cell phone might be necessary/appropriate/convenient. I think its a great tool in the right circumstances -- just like all the rest of technology.
I agree, in a case of shared custody I would definity want my child to have a cell phone, even at age 4. She's probably only need two numbers in there - Mom's and Dad's, and would probably be mostly receiving calls.

Each of my DDs got their first cell around 10. I find them invaluable tools for allowing "loosening of the apron strings" while still being connected.
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#27 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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I think it depends on the child and circumstances. My oldest has had a cell for a couple years because she is more active in sports. Her sports that she has chosen generally are held after school but not at the school. One year they were bussed to the location, and 2 others we've all taken turns carpooling them (basketball). Its not uncommon for one of the girls to miss the bus or lines get crossed and a parent is not able to transport. Most of them have cells and a quick call to one of the other parents solves the issue. We've gotten the call several times from our daughter asking if we could give xyz a ride too or is it ok if she rides over with xyz instead of coming home first. She can also walk to the library after school and walk home. She now has tennis lessons all summer and its only a few blocks from our house, she walks there with friends. I feel better with her having a cell in case anything comes up.

Not to mention, she is at that age where her friends and her want to gab and text. We have strict rules and she has to earn her phone each month. All the girls have strict rules and its not uncommon to hear that a friend is grounded from her phone and working on earning it back.

On the other hand, my son is older than my daughter was when she got her cell and he is no where near ready. He is also involved with sports and activities but he needs far more supervision so one of us is always present anyways. Our youngest is no where near ready either.

So I can't say what I feel is too young in general because it could vary so much! I think there is also a difference between using a cell for calling just parents vs calling friends too. I think some added responsibility comes into play once you start adding the social aspects of it too.

PS: my daughter had to help pay for her last cell as well. She wanted a camera and a keyboard so we made her help buy it and then do extra chores too. It taught her responsibility and the worth of money and how to save. But she takes very good care of it. I can't figure out how to use hers, so its definitely not a "basic" one... her first phone was extremely basic though.

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#28 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do to a certain degree have special circumstances. There have been times when DS is with my dad, that I have had trouble finding them after I gone to use the bathroom and come back.

Though I can sometimes get dad to carry a cell phone, actually dialing and using it are a bit beyond him. Also, dad's phone is rarely properly charged, so telling him to give it to DS to use wouldn't always work.

I was thinking, that one of those specialized kids phones might be simple enough for either of them to use, and since would basically be responsible for it, I could make sure it was properly charged. If DS and grandpa got separated from each other, then DS could just call me.

To a fair degree when they are together, they become responsible for each other. I view DS as some what responsible for grandpa as well as grandpa being responsible for DS.

Just yesterday, I wished one of them had a phone when they left the ice cream parlor a few minutes before I did. When I got outside they weren't in view. They had gone around the corner and found a bench to sit on. It took me a few minutes to find them, and definitely made me worry.

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#29 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 04:18 PM
 
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How about a pre-paid phone? We got a $5 phone (not for dd, for another reason) off of ebay, then bought a $15 card for it. When you are dropping off your ds, leave the phone with grandpa, and when picking up ds, take the phone back and hang on to it to make sure it's charged. ETA: You can teach your ds how to use it if you think that your dad can't figure it out, but put him (your dad) in charge of it when they are together.

For us, dd(8) will not have a phone until she's old enough to be going places without adult supervision and can pay for it herself. In our case, there are no kids in our neighborhood, so dd doesn't wander around without us. If she is at an activity, there is an adult there who has a phone. Phones are not allowed at the school (private), even turned off. The location of the school doesn't permit any kids to walk to the school, even if they lived close, so all kids are dropped off and picked up via an adult driving a vehicle. There are not places dd ever is that there isn't someone else with a cell phone.

Not to mention that she doesn't even use the home phone... a cell phone isn't even on her radar yet.
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#30 of 61 Old 06-25-2010, 06:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
I'm sorry -- I didn't mean to start a debate. I actually misread your post to say "There is no reason for a 4 YO to have a cell phone". That, coupled with "I think 4 is way to young" struck me badly.
Ok. Especially since what I actually said was:

Quote:
There is no reason any of my children need to have one at this age.
ETA: I'm cool

Kirsten - wife to Mark and co-sleeping, breastfeeding mother to , :, and
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