38 answers

12 Yr Old and Cell Phone

I am a foster mother to a 12 yr old girl and she is having a fit to have a cell phone. She says all of her friends have cell phones and she wants one also. I wanted to get some advice on whether I should get her a cell phone and what type I should get. I currently have a Verizon cellphone and if I do decide to get her a cellphone I will be adding her to my plan. thanks

9 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

I took the advice I got on here and got her a prepaid phone. I explained the rules and because she has dance and gymnastics it is a great way to keep in touch with her. so far she is doing well and I have not had to take it away. thanks for all of the advice

Featured Answers

Hi L.,
My son is also 12 and he has a cell phone on an as needed basis. We initially got kid connect through T-moble which gave him 100 minutes but he could call my phone and 911 whether he had minutes or not.
He gets his phone when I think he might need to call me to pick him up early, if he goes somewhere with a group (like school events) if he is at a friends house. He doesn't get to have it all the time to talk on and text with. It works out well, he gets a phone to call his own but he has limitations and he knows he either gets it on this basis or not at all. Actually it gives me peace of mind when he is not around to know he has a way of contacting me if needed. HOpe this helps.
J.

2 moms found this helpful

I agree. I have two teen aged sons. both have had cell phones since the age of about 12. it made it a lot easier on me as a parent to keep track of them. they know if they do not answer the phone when I call I take the phone away from them for however long I feel necessary. they learned the hard way that it was not a toy and that I expected them to use it appropriately.

1 mom found this helpful

Wow - a fit? And she's twelve? I'll tell you right now; any child living in a home with my name on the mortgage would have to have her attitude addressed before we'd even discuss such privileges.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Hi, L. M--

Please take a look at the link below regarding cell phones. I forwarded it to friends and family earlier so this also includes a short note from the forwarded message.

http://renegadehealth.com/blog/do-cell-phones-emit-harmfu...

"The e-mail message below is about health, and I thought it is worth sharing with you. Click on "Do cell phones emit......" It will open up to a series of video clips. Somewhere past the middle is the one about the cell phone and EMF (electromagnetic field) waves. It is shocking to know how we are surrounded by gadgets around the house that emit EMF waves without our knowledge. Some experts are convinced that EMF waves cause brain tumors, leukemia, birth defects, miscarriages, chronic fatigue, headaches, cataracts, heart problems, stress. nausea, chest pain, forgetfulness, cancer and other health problems."

E. C

2 moms found this helpful

First of all, you have to determine if it's a "want" or a "need." I noticed that your daughter's reason was "all of her friends have one." That sounds like a want. If your daughter doesn't need a cell phone, then don't get her one. I didn't get my son a cell phone until he was 16 years old and driving. Then there was a definite need for safety reasons. If your daughter wants to just text her friends or talk to them on this cell phone, then explain to her that she can easily use the home phone, e-mail or face to face. Stick to your guns, mom, kids usually just want the latest gadget, and cell phones fit that bill.

2 moms found this helpful

As a teacher, I have to tell you what I overhear in the classroom when they think the teacher is not listening. They text each other into late hours at night because their parents don't know they are on the phone. Parents must not be checking their kids' phone logs. They are also sending nude photos of each other. Middle school kids don't understand that these pictures are forwarded to their friends!

There is no reason anyone needs text messaging unless they are unable to speak on a phone. Kids will say it's necessary but actually they want to "talk" when they should be doing something else or when the parents can't monitor them. And they certainly do not need the Internet or picture capabilities.

If your child insists she needs it to keep in touch with you, then get that basic phone that can only call your number.

Adding your child to Verizon is not as cheap as they make it sound. There are taxes and fees that add much more than they initially tell you.

It's okay to say "no" to your daughter.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi L.,
My son is also 12 and he has a cell phone on an as needed basis. We initially got kid connect through T-moble which gave him 100 minutes but he could call my phone and 911 whether he had minutes or not.
He gets his phone when I think he might need to call me to pick him up early, if he goes somewhere with a group (like school events) if he is at a friends house. He doesn't get to have it all the time to talk on and text with. It works out well, he gets a phone to call his own but he has limitations and he knows he either gets it on this basis or not at all. Actually it gives me peace of mind when he is not around to know he has a way of contacting me if needed. HOpe this helps.
J.

2 moms found this helpful

Oh, she is working you!

I'd have her do this:

Write down 5 good reasons why she needs one.

Write down 5 things she would do with it (the answers would not be necessarily the same as why she needs one.

Write down 5 people she'd call.

Write down 5 things she can do to earn it.

Write down 5 things she can do, ongoing, (a chore or help in some area) to keep the phone on.

And at 12 she doesn't get privacy yet. EVERYTHING on the phone is subject to your inspection, at any time. This latest thing about kids sending naked and/or suggestive pictures to each other is a huge concern, and at 12, she is not to young to be doing that. You need to know EVERYONE she is in contact with, whether they are in her contact list or not.

If she is willing to jump through these hoops (and continues to do so), she just may be responsible enough to have one. You may be able to limit her minutes through the company so it doesn't cost you more than you plan to spend.

By the way, do you remember using the "All my friends..." scheme? Did it work for you? LOL.

2 moms found this helpful

How about splitting the difference? Get her a phone...a PREPAID phone! If you go with Verizon (www.vzw.com/prepaid) then you'll both get unlimited mobile-to-mobile so calling you is free. But, she'll learn to better budget her time/money and not waste a bunch of time making silly calls to her friends. She may also grow a little more by getting firm with her friends to only call when they have something real to say and not just to talk about the color of some girl's nail polish.

You can also layout a few policies--you will buy her an $X card every 5th of the month. (Wal-Mart has a reloadable card that you can just use over and over) If she talks/texts up a storm and exceeds that allotment then the phone dies. If she wants to talk more, then she'll have to pony up her own money to buy a new card for more time until the next allotment. When I got my own beater car in high school I suddenly became popular but had to turn into the gas goon...no gas money, no ride!

2 moms found this helpful

I would give it a try. I have a 15-year old who has had a cell phone since sixth grade. There has only been one occurence in middle school when she forgot to put it on vibrate that is was taken away, and I was VERY eager to get it back because as parents we came to depend on it as much as she did. Now, it is our "consequence" of choice to take it away when she acts up, but sometimes it can punish us just as much as parents. Overall, I think it is a great tool to keep in touch with your kids. I would establish a trial period of a month to three months. Show your child the verizon website where you can track their usage and numbers they call. If they know you are watching and what your expectations are for their use they are more likely to stick to it. I also think my daughter was more responsible with her usage before she went to high school. You'll be happier with her level of responsibility now than you will be when she's in high school. Right now she wants to prove to you she can have one - after three years, she'll just expect it. Since we didn't wait to get her one I can't tell you if the same reaction when she is 15 will apply or not, but my experience with the cell phone and middle school was positive.

2 moms found this helpful

My 12 year old is also wanting a cell phone. Yes, it's the "in" thing. I spoke with Verizon last week, and they have something they call "Chaperone" where you can know where the child is besides who they call, etc. You should check into that. You can also give them a certain number of minutes per month, and that's all they get! My daughter has good grades, and for us it would only cost $10/mo. to add her to our plan, so I told her it would be okay as long as she saves up to buy the phone and pays the $10/mo plus any extra charges she runs up. (She babysits a lot.) Another issue that might need to be watched...I saw a special on TV about kids who text answers to tests during school.

2 moms found this helpful

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