20 answers

Poll: Kids and Cell Phones/computers

OK, so I'm just seeing if I'm out of the loop. My daughter is telling me that all her friends have cell phones. She's in 4th grade. (Now I know the "all" is an exaggeration, but it is quite a few for sure.) My son has mentioned about some of his 2nd grade friends having phones. I am a 1st grade teacher and I know some of my students have phones. I just think they are too young. My kids are with me, what do they need their own phone for? They aren't ever alone. If they want to call someone, they can use mine. So, I've said all along that they don't need a phone until they drive. I'm keeping the bar a bit high- we might give in around middle school, but not sure- Def. not elementary school. So, I'm just wondering... what age do you all think is ok for cell phones? What age did you let your kids have their own phone? Now, I'm not changing my mind about elementary, but I'm trying to decide what age after that might be a good idea. On another note, I don't agree with elementary kids on Facebook, but not sure what age is appropriate after that. I know my 13 and 14 year old nephews have accounts.

So, moms- let me know what you do! :) THANKS!

Update: A couple more thoughts... If parents aren't together and the kid wants to call their mom/dad, I think it's fine to have a phone. Maybe one of those family plans that only let you call person A,B, or C. I just know my daughter and the minute she is with my mother in law- she grabs her iphone and begins playing games, listening to music, and texting people. It drives me nuts. I know if she had one she would be CONSTANTLY texting people. She is like a teenager trapped in a 9 year old body and has been ever since about 1st grade! I know, I have my work cut out for me when she's a teenager. For those of you who do have younger kids with phones, do they have the other features like texting or is it mostly a locked plan to call parents?

Computers: I let my kids use the family computer for webkinz, starfall, homework, and such. I'm a bit hesitant on them having their own computer with internet access. Honestly, I just know she'll look up other stuff if I wasn't able to monitor as closely. We already had to ban the computer for 6 weeks because she was not following the rules and being inappropriate. Since then, she's been a lot better. She can go to the sites that are marked favorites and she loves making powerpoints. If she needs to research for school, I'm pretty close by. If she wants to look up something else, she has to check with me. She likes pictures of animals and stuff- loves the San Diego Zoo website. :)

What can I do next?

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I think kids are getting into this whole technology thing way to early. My nephews got cell phones for xmas, 6 and 8 years old. I think it's ridiculous and a huge distraction. I would say high school, but maybe I am way out of the loop.

3 moms found this helpful

Ugh, the little girl (7 y/o) that I babysit has a phone and it drives me crazy. It just seems so unnessesary! My DD is almost 10 and no way, no how will she be getting one any time soon. Maybe around 12-13 when she's able to go off with friends...
She has her own laptop, but it's mainly to play webkinz and do school work. She is not allowed on facebook or anything and won't be allowed until she is at LEAST 15-16 and with it monitored.

2 moms found this helpful

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I think kids are getting into this whole technology thing way to early. My nephews got cell phones for xmas, 6 and 8 years old. I think it's ridiculous and a huge distraction. I would say high school, but maybe I am way out of the loop.

3 moms found this helpful

My daughter got her first cell phone around 10. She is 16 now. Personal preference... no one is right or wrong... you do what is right for your family.

Computers.... my daughter was on the JumpStart Series by age 2 and learning keyboarding in preschool. Computers are an integral part of the classroom beginning in K around here. It is VITAL in high school. She does a LOT of homework presentations and research for her honors classes on her laptop.

She got her own laptop about 3 yrs ago. It is loaded with resources and programs for her education. Yes, she has internet access. SHe has a facebook account and used to have MySpace account.

Our deal is I have the login and passwords and I randomly check the account to make sure all is on the up and up. So far, she has been very responsible with her phone and laptop.

Texting... yes, we both text a LOT. We both do more texting vs talking on the phone. Yes, she texts her friends and as long as she is responsible... we are ok with it.

When I was her age, I was in my room on my own phone talking all the time and it drive my mom nuts. Texting is basically the same, except a varied form of communication with the teens.

You just have to figure out the best balance for your family. I know my family probably texts more than the average family and we are all on our laptops a lot. I run our company from my laptop, daughter is also learning what I do with the company in case she needs to step up and help more someday.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

With my daughters they got cell phones upon starting middle school (age 12, and age 11). Why? because I wanted to be able to contact them and for emergencies. They participated in several activities and if I was stuck in traffic or needed to work late I wanted to let them know what needed to be done or who was picking them up. They needed to call if they were staying after school for something. They also walk from school.

As for facebook, oldest mid 9th grade, youngest mid 8th grade. It took it alot of convincing and begging on my kids part. Yes, I know their passwords and I frequently monitor their activity.

Texting - absolutely no way, non-negotible. When they go go college maybe?

2 moms found this helpful

Ugh, the little girl (7 y/o) that I babysit has a phone and it drives me crazy. It just seems so unnessesary! My DD is almost 10 and no way, no how will she be getting one any time soon. Maybe around 12-13 when she's able to go off with friends...
She has her own laptop, but it's mainly to play webkinz and do school work. She is not allowed on facebook or anything and won't be allowed until she is at LEAST 15-16 and with it monitored.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm glad you updated that SOME kids do need phones (those who aren't with their parents all the time). A lot of parents I know make unilateral pronouncements that no ______ aged child needs a cell phone, or this, or that, or whatever.

My son has been using my phone (calling and texting -early reader) since he was 3. He got his own cell phone when he was 5. (He's 8 now). Here's why:

- To be able to reach me 24/7. He's NOT always with me. He's frequently with his dad (who has temper issues), in outside classes, on playdates, or being babysat.

- Along the same lines of "not always with me"... he goes on runs (snowboarding) without me... he uses the bathroom in the movie theatre or ball park without me... he's often out of shouting distance playing forts in the woods with his friends. There are tons of times where having his cell means that I know *exactly* where HE is, and can track him or coordinate with him. (Esp. in the winter when we're on different parts of the slope.

- GPS tracking. Mostly, I just use it to keep an eye on where he's at, when he's not with me. But in the (exceedingly unlikely) event of being kidnapped, he's too young for most people to think that he'd have a tracking device on him. Because of the tracking he gets to FEEL independent in ways that I would never allow him otherwise (like being out of sight in the woods playing forts... or running ahead while hiking... or going to the restroom alone at the ball park or going on a black diamond run or the freestyle park that I'm not advanced enough for... or... or... or. YES a lot of those things I did on my own growing up, and even though the world is much safer... *I* feel comfortable allowing him to do those things knowing I can track him AND reach him in a moment's notice).

- We don't have a landline. (too freakin' expensive... even in our own area code it costs more than having 3 cell phones, and half my calls are out of area code). Having his own phone means that in the (rare) chance that he needs to call for help, he can.

- LASTLY (and most importantly, imho) he's being taught phone etiquette YOUNG. I was taught phone etiquette as a child... but cell etiquette and landline etiquette are 2 totally different things. There was a "gap" generation when cells became commonly used that has DEPLORABLE behavior with cell phones. Talking in restaurants, texting while driving, ignoring the people in front of them to talk to someone else entirely... the list goes on. Because the "rules" are being ground in young, after only a few years they are *already* 2nd nature. And the rudeness that many teens who are suddenly unleashed on the world with phones is as baffling to him as someone who would pee on a dining room table. Because he was/is so young he accepts phone rules as a "matter of course" and not something to rebel against or "mom doesn't get it" kind of thing.

I should add... that starting this year... he also PAYS his cell bill every month.

As far as computers... we're a techie house. Kiddo's been using the computer for starfall / etc. since he was 2.5. He had an old hand-me-down laptop since he was 5ish/6ish. And is the proud new owner of his own macbook. Which he saved for for over 3 years and just bought a few months ago (we meet him halfway on large purchases). It's indispensable as far as school work goes, and it's invaluable as far as sooooo many other aspects of use. From watching videos on long plane flights to, again, teaching proper use and etiquette, to behavior management, to Skype-ing his friends or family that live overseas or out of state. I'm not mathematically or programming minded (greek to me) but kiddo's been programming now for over a year. He also uses Adobe AfterEffects (and other video editing and sound editing programs like Garage Band to make and edit the films he shoots with his Flip, and Photoshop on his stills). We LOVE that all three of us can be in the living room curled up with laptops working on various things / sharing air / talking back and forth / being right there to help or to show something interesting to. He's not allowed unfettered access to the internet (youtube, for example is banned without a parent at his elbow), but the internet is a wealth info & experience that is too valuable for us to neglect. ESPECIALLY from an educational standpoint.

2 moms found this helpful

You will definitely want her to have a cell phone by middle school. They are not always with you at that point and it gives you peace of mind.

So, I think when she starts going places by herself, she should have a cell phone. That will certainly happen by 7th grade.

1 mom found this helpful

oldest got his phone in 8th grade and it is "grade dependent" if he keeps up his grades he gets to keep his phone grades drop phone service suspended untill grades rise. I dont think they need one until about 12-13 when they start to hang out more with friends and are gone from home getting more independent. Both my boys have computers in thier rooms but they are parental controlled and really they spend more time on the one in kitchen

1 mom found this helpful

I agree that unless they need one to get in touch with you or their father, there is no need for the cell phone..

I know here in the public schools, the children are taught how to use the computer in kindergarten.. moat of their research is done on the computer by 3rd grade, but the schools can provide the safe research on campus and parents are offered "parental controls training" through the schools.

It is easy to say you will never, but technology and kids are going hand in hand with childhood, so you never know what will be necessary. Once our daughter was in high school, almost 100% of her Ap classes, the homework was sent electronically, My niece is in 7th grade and a lot of her work is sent in electronically also..

1 mom found this helpful

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