7 Year Old and Cell Phone?

Updated on September 16, 2010
S.G. asks from Tecumseh, OK
14 answers

my daughter is 7 will be 8 in january, doing exceptionally well in school and above average in reading, very independent. She goes to a babysitter who is only 13 (not home alone without an adult for long) she keeps her for 30 min in the morning and only about an hour in the afternoon without an adult figure home. She has been riding the bus to the high school because her babysitter has a basketball camp at the high school and has been calling me to let me know that she made it to her babysitter ok (babysitter's mom picks them up from the school). We live in a rural area and i'm thinking about getting her a prepaid cell phone so she can contact me directly without having to be home and start home alone before and after school skills (we are surrounded by family where we live). let me clarify the cell phone idea, a 10.00 pp phone from wal-mart so if she loses it, no biggie, also her dad and step mom argue more often than not to the point she's in tears and sometimes pees her pants, but wont let her call me if she wants to come home so...that's another reason for a phone

Think she's too young for this? she knows not to answer the door to ANYONE unless i say other wise or the phone...period. and we've practiced using a "code" for when i call that code tells her she can answer.

she has had the opportunity to watch her older step sister who is 14 with her things. just for practice she carries a purse and knows from watching her older sister that if a purse is left out in the open in my car, it's mine, no questions no chances so she does pretty good with that and on daily routine's she reminds me of things i may have forgot.
In response to some of your posts

Ladies, I did fail to mention that I did call DHS on her dad and step mom and even denied him visitation rights at the authority of the case workers until the investigation was done, not only because they were fighting but because her dad was allowing step mom to shower with her actually IN the shower taking a shower WITH her. I asked him on a consistent basis to quit allowing and every excuse he gave is that step mom would throw a fit for not having her way. That has stopped since the DHS phone call. Also, I complained about the fighting around my daughter; they also admitted to it, and were suggested to go to parenting and marriage counseling by DHS. The showering stopped immediately when the case worker talked to them in their house, the arguing did too, and they did really good, but it’s slowly picking up. And sad part is, it’s about stuff that doesn’t even pertain to step mom-usually concern’s my daughter and its things she just needs to butt out of.
Ne who I’m fixing to take him back to court to get child support ordered (a whole other story) and in lieu of that process I will see if I will qualify or have enough against him to get full custody of her, or at least get the right to deny visitation if the fighting continues. I have proof of it from them admitting it to the case workers at DHS so hopefully that’ll be enough.

to some of the responses, i did try to get her in counseling for her dad and step mom arguing, but we have joint custody and therefore have to have both signatures for this. he refused to sign but said for me to use my judgment but would not sign any papers getting her in counseling.

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answers from Kansas City on

In this situation, my opinion is a resounding YES. Go to Walmart tonight! I have used a tracfone for years and have had good luck with it. I think what you are doing is responsible and wise.

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answers from Seattle on

Despite her age she does seem to have a maturity about her....based upon what you've written I do believe that getting a cell phone for the two purposes you listed would be a good idea.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Gosh... your poor daughter regarding her Dad and Step Mom.... they are really... not being responsible.

Per your daughter's situation... the cell phone is a good idea.
Her Dad & Step Mom don't seem responsible and very harmful.

Our neighbors constantly fought.... they had kids. About that age.
The children, would come to our home... at all hours... to tell us their parents were fighting and they were scared.... they asked to use OUR phone to call 911... the police, even on their own parents. And YES... the Police came. Many times.
Some kids... due to 'survival' instinct... will do this if they feel they are not safe.
THIS ALSO tells you... that some parents are SO busy fighting... that they do NOT even notice... their kids left the house... or their kids are gone.

Your daughter... could go into another room and make calls, to you etc. while Dad and Step Mom are fighting. That is a possible scenario.

Another scenario is: that her Dad and the Step Mom... will take away her cell phone... and not let her use it.

Next, they fight a lot. It affects very negatively, your daughter and she even pees in her pants. She is frightened.
Can't you get sole custody???
They are harming her... emotionally and psychologically......
Document everything and your daughter's well-being of it and how it damages her....
Some kids, need child therapy over things like this.
The 'legacy' of it... really really affects them... and their future.

all the best,

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answers from Portland on

Having a cell phone is extra responsibility. You didn't mention how well she keeps track of her belongings. At 10, my granddaughter still loses things, including jackets.

If she's wanting to use a cell phone for those reasons only, I'd give it a try. Cell phone providers do have phones designed just for children. They're easy to use, can have a tracking device so that you know exactly where she is and have screening options. A prepaid phone from the grocery store probably would cost less but it wouldn't have security features and may be too difficult for her to use, tho she can learn. I'd compare.

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answers from Charlotte on

S., I would not count on her being able to use the phone when she's with her father and step-mom. If they won't let her use their phone to call you when they are being so selfish as to fight in front of her enough to bring on tears and panty-wetting, they probably just don't want her calling at all. Pretty selfish people, and I don't blame you for not being married to him anymore!

I think the Walmart phone you are planning on is fine. Just make sure she understands that if she uses her minutes to make calls to her friends, she'll run out and you won't buy more for her friends. You can figure out how many minutes she'll practically use and keep an eye on that part.

Don't hesitate to check the history and know who she is calling and who is calling her.

Good luck,

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I think the reasons that you give are valid and she should probably have the kind of phone that you want to get her. I would generally not advocate this (girls that age in my neighborhood have them and text all day) but each case is different.

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answers from Seattle on

My son (8) has had his own cell phone for a couple of years now. It's worked out grand. We had a little bit of boundary pushing last year, which was easily dealt with. And I am SO glad we got it for him young, so that there is no question of his following our rules about the phone (and getting them ground in young), instead of as teenager.

I did NOT get a cheap "disposable" phone, because durn straight I want there to be GPS tracking on it, so in case of emergency either I or the 911 crew can locate him.

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answers from Phoenix on

She seems awfully young for all of that BUT I live in a city and our state is terrible for crime....soooo it may be different where you live. =) Otherwise, to answer your question, a cell phone in this situation wouldn't be a bad idea unless she will "play" with it or lose it. Good luck!!

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answers from Birmingham on

We started our daughter off around 7 also with a Trac Fone model, very inexpensive for the phone itself and we got a good package with double minutes on every purchase. She used it and then an upgraded Trac Fone until she was 10 and we added her to our AT&T plan. I felt it was a must for when she was away from home, spend the nights, etc. Just so she would have it to call ANYTIME she wanted. She proved to us she was very responsible and never used all her minutes. She could also text on it for a quick note when needed. On the main screen it shows you the date the minutes expire and how many are left. Perfect for monitoring.

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answers from Chicago on

I think that your daughter is too young. I too have a 7 yr old daughter. She too is well behaved, doing well in school, etc. However, I don't think a cell phone can be used in lieu of adult supervision. I am not judging you. It just seems to me that the few people I've heard who have young children with cell phones are doing it because they can't be with their children, are concerned about the child walking home, and don't have another adult who is taking care of their child when mom or dad can't be there.

Personally, I think you'd be better off getting some adult help. For me, a 13 yr old watching my child would not be acceptable. For me, believing that my daughter would not open the door to a stranger does not fly - and I DO trust my child too.

It's not about the money or the ability to take care of the phone.

And as for your situation with your ex, it sounds to me that you either need to get your lawyer involved again or get a social worker involved. No child should be so scared or upset around grown ups who are caring for her that she wets herself! Again, a cell phone isn't going to fix anything. Getting an adult involved on her behalf is what she needs.

I hope my opinions help you. Please don't think I am being rude or judgemental of you! You asked what we think. And I think that 7 is too young to be fending for herself or in the care of a 13 yr old or with a dad and step mom who are so involved in their own problems when she is in the house.

Best wishes. This is clearly a hard decision.

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answers from Dallas on

Everybody's situation is different, but I think she is too young to be home alone even for a short period of time. You may think she knows not to open the door, but my 14 year old nephew (who certainly should have known better, and was taught better) did open the door. Completely bought the story he was given. Nothing bad happened, but yikes!

So, if you have any other alternative I'd say consider it. I don't think the phone is a bad idea since you are already okay about the possibility of her losing it.

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answers from San Antonio on

my friend with brain tumors has a facebook status right now that reads: "Stop putting cell phones to your head. No conversation is worth this... " and went on to say something about wanting to throw her tumors at people who spend so much time on cell phones.

I was listening to NPR a while back and they had a panel of doctors saying they would never put one up to their own ears. If you get her a phone make sure she gets an earpiece or uses speakerphone. Have her carry it in a purse and not a pocket. Also, I'd get a social worker (court ordered) to do a home study and reccommend a course of action when the fighting gets too bad for your daughter to handle. She deserves more security than that and she shouldn't have to sneak a call. That's heartbreaking and I understand why you're worried.

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answers from New York on

My GF gave her son a phone at 8. Unfortunatly her situation was that her son had to go home from school alone. So when he left school he called her, she knew exactly how long it would take. The second he was in the door he had to call her from the landline so she knew he was inside. Obviously you are getting this for her for her comfort and opportunity should she need to contact you and to get out of her dad's house. If I were in your shoes I'd already be on my way to Wal-mart. Bottom line you know your daughter and it sounds like she can handle the responsibility.



answers from Baton Rouge on

I agree with the many responses that despite her maturity and all the trust you have in her, she is not old enough to be left without an adult. Even the most mature 7 year old lacks the ability evaluate a situation due to brain imaturity and concrete thinking.
However, I also think her having a cell phone is fine. Especially in the case of divorced parents. The situation with her being so scared by your ex that she urinates, means you should bring her to a counselor soon. On a semi personal note: I know of a divorcee whose ex do irresonsible he left her little girls 7 and 5 with his 17 year old brother while he went to work for a few hours. The 17 year old wanted to go to the store so he did and left the girls alone. Their mom had bought a real cell phone for them and had them on a family plan with them using it often to preset family numbers, so they knew how to use it. The older one immediately began dialing the list of family until she reached one of them who immediately went to get them. They were scared to death.
Certainly don't use the phone as your sitter etc as there are age laws regarding children without an adult and vary by county. Don't get a false sense of security from it but do add it to your tool bag. I'd let my child have a cell phone much younger if I was divorced or not able to be there in every primary way. Since I'm the primary caregiver I do not have this concern. Do what feels right for your family and do not worry about what others think or a need to justify. Though also check your local laws about age of minors unattended.
Also try to remember that no matter how mature, smart or practiced your child is, they are only as safe as the situation they are and their brains maturity to react. Much of the brain does not completely develop until age 24.
Best wishes,

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