At What Age Should Your Child Have A Phone?

So what are your thoughts on the topic? If you don’t have kids, what are your thoughts about your future children? [name_f]Do[/name_f] you think it’s too distracting? Or do you think it’s a wonderful way to communicate and share with friends and family? I sort of believe that we’re becoming too reliant on cell phones. What does everyone think?

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I didn’t get my first phone until I was In seventh grade (so 12/13). By that time all of my friends had phones. Once you reach middle school it makes sense for you to be able to contact your parents. Whenever I felt extremely anxious/on the verge of a panic attack I would text my mom to calm down. For those reasons alone, I think it’s important for a kid to have a phone when they enter middle school, so 11.

However, I knew kids who had phones in 4th and 5th grade. As society continues to change, I assume the age at which kids get phones will get lower and lower. It’s not fun to be the only kid in your friend group without a phone, so if it became commonplace for kids to have phones in 3rd/4th/5th grade, I’d give my kid one. I would put parental controls on their phone until they were in 6th grade, since that age is when kids start wanting independence (from my experience), plus it’s invading on their privacy at that point imo.

Hubby and I agree that they can have a phone when they are over sixteen and can afford one. Paying their own upkeep and bills teaches responsibility. If you want a phone, you get a job - that’s how I see it. (I know I’m probably in the minority with this approach haha)

I think it depends on the kid and the situation. I got my first cell phone in 5th grade, when I was 10 years old. This was 2009 so the phone I got was a crappy flip phone but the reason I got it was because I walked from my elementary school to an after-school care, and my parents wanted me to text them when I arrived each day. At that time, I’d say maybe 50% of my grade had cell phones, and smartphones weren’t really a thing at all. I didn’t actually get my first smartphone until I was in 8th grade, and that was really late compared to my peers.

I agree with @Quilliza that society is changing though. It’s not fun feeling left out, and I completely felt that way when all my friends would spend free time playing games on their smartphones while mine couldn’t do anything. I will do what my parents did when they gave us phones. I received my first phone on a random day in the middle of [name_u]August[/name_u]—nowhere near [name_u]Christmas[/name_u] or my birthday—because the phone wasn’t a present, it was a privilege. I’d hold my kids to that same standard as well.

I do think that cell phones are becoming more necessary for young kids. We don’t have a landline anymore, and I can’t think of anyone I know who does. They all just have cell phones. I’d be worried about my kids going out and not having a way to contact me if they needed help. For that reason, I think it’s a bit dangerous for a teenager to not have a phone, maybe even younger, if that kid goes out by themselves (bike riding, playing with friends in the park, going for ice cream, etc).

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Such a difficult topic. I got my first cell phone much younger than my parents intended (I was 10) because I started going to a school that was in an office building and we walked to a park for lunch and had to cross a major street to get there. [name_f]My[/name_f] parents were concerned if a teacher got hit by a car and wanted me to be able to contact 911. Super simple, basic sliding phone. I was only allowed to have 5 contacts, all of whom had to be approved by my parents. They used every parental control that was available (which I agree with and would also do).

It’s hard to say with my own kids because I have no idea where society will be by then. Preferably (maybe not so realistically) they wouldn’t have a phone until they were around 13 or 15 and it would be a pretty basic phone. No social media and/or once they did have it, hopefully we will have taught them the dangers that lie in it well (sooo many pedos, the data’s actually pretty scary). Again, this is all ideal, maybe not realistic. Depends on the kid and the general situation. I also feel like I’m forgetting to mention things, but can’t think of what lol. [name_u]Story[/name_u] of my life :joy:

I got my first phone (a flip phone) at age 13. I got a smart phone at 16. I think that if a child needs a phone for safety, then a simple flip phone won’t be too much of a distraction. I wouldn’t buy my child a smart phone until they were 16, because I feel like it’s the right age for that kind of responsibility.

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I’d say 16. [name_f]My[/name_f] parents won’t let me have a cell phone, slider, or flip phone, even though I said I would pay for it, until I drive.

I got my first phone when I was 17 in 2007, and had to share it with my 15 year old sister. It was a brick and by no means entertaining to use. We still had payphones at my high school at the time! Times are so different now, and it seems like every kid has a phone. I think it all depends on the situation, so it’s tough to say what I’d be okay with since I’m not a mom yet.

I’m currently in high school, and I got my first phone in 6th grade. I was one of the last kids in my grade to get one.

I don’t have kids (and won’t for a while), so I expect there might be different norms by the time my kids would be getting phones. Right now, I think starting middle school is a good time for a phone, or younger if they are going places on their own and need to be able to contact parents or emergency services.

I wouldn’t let my child have their own phone until they were thirteen. And that would be only after they had proven they were responsible enough to make good decisions, and I wouldn’t let them have any social media accounts until they were older. I personally think that the environment of most social medias is quite toxic, and I wouldn’t want my child exposed to that at such a vulnerable age. From the moment they got the phone, I would want to have an open dialogue with them about how to make smart decisions online, how to use your intuition when something doesn’t feel right, and how it’s always better to share with an adult rather than try to handle a situation on your own.

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Literally everyone in my grade has a phone and we do text groups so I have to put in my mom’s number. And when she’s late to pick me up all my friends are usually gone and the office is closed soI have to email her and hope she sees. I do get why I can’t have a phone, but I do think by the time a kid is in highschool, he/she should have at least a flip phone,

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I remember playing with flip phones when I was younger (not necessarily mine but more my parent’s old phones). I think I first got a smart phone in year 5 (aged 9-10) so I could contact my parents. I’m a while off having kids, but if I do, I’d want them to have a smart phone by secondary school (age 11), so they can contact me/their friends/etc, or before then if it’s necessary (e.g. they go out often and need a way to contact me or emergency services). Before then, I can see myself giving them an older phone to play around with at home, but any younger than 10-ish, I think I’d keep to just an iPad or something similar so they can watch shows/play games/etc. I don’t intend on having cable TV because I don’t see the point in it anymore, so having something like an iPad will be helpful there.

In terms of social media, I was never prohibited from it but I only downloaded Instagram/Snapchat/etc. when I was about 13, and I wasn’t active online. I was aware that I’d regret pretty much anything that I’d post so I just didn’t :joy: Now, at 16, I still don’t post anything but I find social media a very useful way to keep up with friends and family, so I’d want my kids to have that too, though obviously I’d want them to be careful with what they post and who they follow.

I completely agree with @SparkleNinja18 that not having a cell phone as a teen is actually quite dangerous, so I wouldn’t want to put my kid in that position. I also think there’s a level of expectation, even now, that everyone in secondary school should have a phone. In my class, someone had a Nokia brick for years and, whilst there were jokes about it, it didn’t lean into bullying. However, I imagine that might change by the time I have kids, and I think the societal pressure to be active online and up-to-date with technology will be much more extreme. Also, even now, my teachers use our phones as a way to keep in contact with us on school trips/etc., so I definitely think some sort of phone is necessary in those cases.

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This is also true! In high school, there was an app I could use to check my grades, which was the biggest reason I stayed on top of them. [name_f]My[/name_f] parents didn’t have to monitor how I was doing in school because I had the means to and took that responsibility seriously. I also had an app for the online learning platform that my school used which was how teachers could contact you with information about school: updated assignment deadlines, “wear comfortable clothes because we’re doing an activity outside today”, links for further reading if we were interested in the topic of our homework, etc. Not having a phone in high school would’ve made it very difficult to stay on top of schoolwork!

To a lesser extent, I also had an app for my competitive dance team outside of school. That’s where they posted competition schedules, lists of what we needed for costumes, and if we needed to bring something to class that week (costume piece to practice in, ankle weights for our workout class, etc).

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Yes, my school also uses an app to notify students about homework/exams/assemblies/etc. It’s been used for a while now but only in the last two or so years did we completely transition from physical planners to an app on our phones, which means it’s effectively impossible to stay on top of things without a phone since teachers often won’t notify you on things they’ve set in person but they’ll just do it through the app. We also have a platform where parents/carers can keep up-to-date on our grades/behaviour in school, although I think students can access it too. At this point, I definitely think a phone is necessary in secondary school (11+), and sometimes earlier in certain cases.

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yeah. it’s really hard to go into highschool without a phone.

I struggled to manage without mine for a week, so I can’t imagine what it’s like for you :frowning_face:

Same for me. I have to wait until I am 16. Lots of people in my grade have a phone.

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No, I completely understand. [name_f]My[/name_f] brother was 16 and had worked for a year when he recieved one. It was only to contact our parents- no social media and he has no data for YouTube or the internet. To make it even better, my parents do phone checks every few days and he had to pay for it and his insurance. I totally understand.

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As a freshman in high school last year, I was the only kid without a phone. [name_f]My[/name_f] father works at my school, so I’d go to him after sport practices, ect. I remembered doing varsity swimming at a college eleven miles from my house and having to be taken home by another parent because I had no way of contacting my own.
I feel like not having a cell phone in high school is sort of an innocence thing. I was never bullied or made fun of- I was the [name_u]Christian[/name_u] girl with strict parents, though I never blamed my parents for never having a cell phone. I actually didn’t want one.
It wasn’t until this past month that I received a smart phone and I actually HATE it. It feels like a burden- always remembering it and stuff. So I leave it at home and only bring it to work. That’s the only reason I have it- to contact my parents at work. I don’t think I’ll bring it to school or text my friends. I like having that childlike innocence though I’m not that much of a kid anymore.
[name_f]My[/name_f] brother got a phone at 16. 16 is sort of like the magic number in my house. You can date at 16 and drive at 16. But my parents decided that it depends on maturity for phones. If you’re a mature 14 year old, you can have a phone. Lots of phone checks, no data or social media and that’s okay with me. I think I would do the same thing with my kids.

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I understand how someone who didn’t grow up with a phone might see remembering it as a burden but I almost think this is a reason why it’s a good idea to teach younger kids about having a phone. Smartphones are part of society now, like it or not, and future employers will likely expect their employees to have knowledge of their devices. With my current job, I get updates on my schedule from my manager via text before I get emails about it because they expect people to be familiar and comfortable with their phones. [name_f]My[/name_f] friend didn’t receive a smartphone until she got to college and she’s had instances where she’s missed opportunities because she didn’t know how to work the phone.

I also want to touch on something interesting about social media. I have social media but I’m really only active on Instagram and Snapchat; my Facebook and Twitter are pretty barren. I was talking with my friend about social media, and she said there was a girl from her high school who had decided (in a very holier-than-thou way, which is how it came up) to delete all social media. [name_f]My[/name_f] friend shared this with her mom, who is on a school board and is in charge of hiring teachers in the district, and her mom said she would be hesitant to hire someone she can’t find on social media because she’d be worried what this person might be hiding on there! All this to say that I think phones are a part of society enough that a child not having one (and subsequently not learning how to work one) would be at a disadvantage, and it’s just more important now to teach kids how to balance their time on electronics, as well as how to be safe on social media.