Cell Phone - Middletown,OH

Updated on January 24, 2014
J.S. asks from Middletown, OH
23 answers

At what ate should your child have a cellular telephone. My son (13) has been asking me for a cell phone all weekend and he says that all his friends have one but him. I told him that I go my first phone when I was 30 and that's when he'll get his. When do u think is the right time?

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answers from Grand Forks on

I think the right time for a child to get a cell phone would be when he has a job and he can pay for it himself.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

When he:

1. Actually NEEDS one (not just wants it).

2. When he can take care of his other stuff.

"All his friends have one but him" is not a good reason.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Miami on

After reading Katrina's answer here, I looked at what she was talking about because what she referenced was SO bizarre. I clicked on your answer to the woman whose 13 YEAR OLD wanted to date a girl, and that was your answer. That answer is the answer of a teenager, NOT of a mother.

If you want to write on here and ask questions, fine. But stop pretending that you're the mother when you're really a teenager. Life doesn't just hand you what you want all the time. Cell phones cost money. If you don't actually NEED a cell phone, your mother doesn't have to get you one. If she really DID say you could have one when you're 30, it means that either you can get an after school job when your old enough and pay for it yourself, OR that when she actually knows you need one, she will reconsider.

This is a mother's site. Not a stick your finger in your mother's eye's site.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

First question.
Only answer was to a question months ago asking if 13 was too young for one on one dating. Answered today. And I quote:
"Yes I would have to say yes have you ever seen your child crying because of you. And then when it's all over and they start to mumble under their breath, "killjoy, I hate you". Then how do you feel when you are no longer loved by your child it's also better for their personality for them to socialize "

Your mom said you could not have a cell phone. What she says goes. Coming to a mothering board to get someone to say it's OK to have a cell phone at your age to show your mother to tell her it's wrong is going to get you in trouble.

To answer your question. No, my almost 13 year old boy does not have a cell phone and will not have one until he is driving unless there is a specific reason for it, which there is none now. I was almost 30 when I got my first cell phone. I was pregnant with my first child and we thought it would be a good idea to have in case of emergencies.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

These days, safety is an issue and it can be good for a kid to have a phone.

However, I would consider these points and discuss them with your son in clear, plain language:

1. Does he lose belongings or is he responsible with backpacks, musical instruments, books, jackets, etc? A child should be able to demonstrate taking care of personal property before taking on the responsibility of a phone.

2. Is he trustworthy, on time, honest? A kid who lies, breaks curfew, etc., might be tempted by a phone and all the freedom it can bring.

3. Is he willing to do more than just hold his hand out for a phone? For example, is he willing to either research or help you research plans, phone types, costs, data plans, text costs, etc? If he just wants you to hand him a free phone, nothing doing.

4. Is he willing to write a contract with you, clearly stating that the phone will not be used during school hours except for a true emergency (and that does not include "I forgot my homework, can you bring it?" - a true emergency is that the school is being locked down or he has sprained his ankle)? Is he willing to put into the contract that he will learn how to keep track of minutes and data and texts and not go over any limits (either yours or the phone company's)? And can you agree in writing that no phone use will take place after 9 pm or 8 pm or on school days or whatever works for your situation?

5. Is he willing to agree to perhaps a basic trial phone (one of those cheap pay as you go types) for a period of time (6 months or 3 months) before earning the privilege of getting a nicer or smarter phone?

6. Is he willing to look at the bill with you so that he knows how much a phone costs?

7. Is he willing to write into the contract that if he loses the phone he will not automatically receive a new one, but he'll have to wait 30 days or whatever you agree on?

8. If his grades suffer or he stops taking part in activities, the phone goes, and this has to be discussed before hand.

I can't stress enough how useful it is to put all this into a simply-written contract and have it signed by the parents and the child. Kids have no idea (usually) about phone contracts, early termination fees, overages, limits, etc., and I think if a kid is going to have a phone they need to be willing to participate in the responsible use of the phone and the contract and the plan. If they're not willing, then no phone yet.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

There really is no right answer. Many kids get cell phones because their parents don't see it as a big deal, and the kids want it. Some families are very busy and very active and things are much easier for everyone when the kids have phones. A friend of ours is the primary caregiver for his 7 year old niece. He gave her a phone for Christmas because sometimes she's with Mom, sometimes she's with Grandma and having a phone just makes life easier for everyone.

I'm going to guess that your son wants a phone because lots of kids his age have them and they seem cool. If it's not in your budget then that's just the way it is, and he'll have to accept that. If it is something that you can easily afford the just treat it like you would any other request - XBox, IPad, remote control car - what questions do you ask yourself before saying yes or no to any of those requests?

It's obviously ok for you to say no to a phone, but it can also be ok for you to say yes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It is a personal decision for each family.

Things have changed since you got your first phone at 30. I hear parents say things like that and just shake my head with frustration. It sounds like a jealous kid when a parent makes remarks like that. Some parents will make sure their child has no more than they ever did as a kid out of spite.

Make your decision based on facts, not emotion.

Much of it depends on the child, the primary use of the phone, in cases of children living with divorce I think it is good that a child has access to both parents at any time.

That said, our daughter had her first phone around age 10. She is 19 now and we have no regrets. She is a good kid, she was very involved with school activities and it was nice that she could text me when/where to pick her up at school etc.

In 10th grade, she bought a $5 app for a special type of calculator for math vs buying a $50 calculator at the store. There are some good things about a child having a phone.

I was in my late 30's when I got my first phone. I am not going to deny my child something just because I was 30 when I got one. Gees, technology has improved greatly since my first phone and I would hope my daughter would feel the same way toward her children...

I support her.. I don't hold her back because I didn't have something.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I think it depends on each child. Their level of responsibility, their actual need for O.. If your child is in situations where a cell phone would make life easier for the child or you and he's responsible why not?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Mine is 12 and has one. She got one almost a year ago. Not big fancy expensive one. One for the main purpose of being able to contact us. When she goes on a sleep over she can call on her phone to check in. Or if she is just out with friends she has a way of communicting. She does not take it to school. Also as me and her father is split it is a nice way of contact as well. I actually feel safer knowing she has that way to communicate with us. Yes she calls her friends and plays minecraft on it or fruit ninja but that is ok also.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

13 is kind of the magic age at my house. My oldest got his at 13 and my #2 got his this past Christmas, and he will be 13 in a couple of weeks. It wasn't so much the age that I looked at, but the maturity level and the need level. When they started doing school events after school and in the evenings, and walking their little brothers home from school and I needed to be able to communicate with them about events that were happening, AND they demonstrated the maturity level to understand what the rules were and that they could follow them, then they were eligible to get a phone. I know kids whose parent don't feel the need for their kids to have phones at 15. Or they only get the basics - none of the smart phone stuff. It is different for everyone. I was in my late 30s before I got my first phone.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think times have changed, and the only reason you got your first phone when you were 30 was because they didn't exist when you were 13! At least that's MY situation. Anyway, we got my daughter her first phone was she turned 12 this past summer, just before heading off to 7th grade. Believe it or not, we seemed to be the last hold outs. When my daughter said ALL her friends had phones she was right. We didn't get her a phone just because all of her friends had one though. It just felt like the right time. She was beginning a new school with different hours. Now she comes home at 2:30pm and I don't get home until after 4pm (I'm a substitute teacher at her little sister's elementary school), so we have a system where she texts me the minute she walks in the door. It's comforting to me to know that she is in the house. It's mostly the texting that has been really helpful for us as a family. She also texts friends. So far it has been great, and not a nuisance. She's not allowed to have it at the dinner table, etc. If you don't think it's the right time to give your son a phone then don't give him one. But it is probably true that he's the only 13 year old at school without one!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

I think it depends on their need.

If he is in a bunch of after school activities, or is out of the house a lot, it wouldn't hurt to get him a basic prepay to keep in touch with. (Definitely no need for a phone with Internet access or anything like that.)

Otherwise, I think kids can wait for a phone until he can pay for it himself. Maybe he can "work" for you doing extra chores around the house, babysit, or mow neighbor's lawns this summer. If he will work for it, maybe even meet him halfway and pay for part of the bill. I am not against kids having cell phones, but I do feel like it is a luxury (IF he has access to a landline phone at home, or is allowed to use yours to talk to his friends... If he doesn't have relatively easy telephone access, I would consider that a point towards getting him one.) and things like that are more appreciated when earned.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I think kids should get a cell phone when YOU have a real reason for them needed one. We have college kids who got their 1st phone when they went to a high school that was across town, and they would have practice and need to let us know when they needed picked up and when they found a ride. When your kids start to drive, it is easier for them to send a text to you to let you know where they are and when they will be home. And the friends don't have to know they are checking in with mom and dad.
I also have an 8th and 6th grader. Neither of these 2 have a phone yet because they don't need one. But more WE as parents don't need them to have one.
Bottom line is... why do you need a phone? The answer needs to be better than everyone else has one. REAL reasons are the only reason you get a phone.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

Both my 16-year-old and my 10-year-old have cell phones - primarily because it makes me comfortable. I know my kids can contact me if needed - and I can text them to communicate important information - like if I'm running late or have had a change of plans. I also have the "find I-phone" app and can locate the 16-year-old whenever needed and know exactly where she is. All of the phones are on a family plan...the 10-year-old has no data...just the ability to send/receive texts and calls. Being able to communicate with them whenever I need or finding them is really helpful for me.



answers from Washington DC on

We got my dd a phone and she is 10 (she got my iphone 4s when I upgraded). I know that's quite a gadget for a 10 year old, but we got a family plan and she uses it for tons of stuff including school work searches, calculator, educational apps, etc.



answers from McAllen on

The "right time" depends on your lifestyle and how you weigh/reconcile the benefits and the pitfalls. It depends on your parenting goals and how his having a phone or not will affect those goals.



answers from Anchorage on

My boys just turned 8 and 10, they share a phone. They have one because we got rid of the home phone, and we found out that it was only $10 a month extra to add an unlimited call and text phone to our existing plan, and that came with a free phone as well (we use AT&T). Then, after I ungraded my phone we let them switch theirs for my old iPhone. The add on price is only another $20 a month for the lowest data plan, and they love it. If they go over their data allowance then they know they are responsible for paying the extra $20 that costs. I really don't see the issue, and when they do have activities I take comfort in knowing that I can call them or them me without us needing to find a middle man.


answers from Jacksonville on

Totally depends upon individual circumstances. When it is appropriate depends upon the kid, his life, his activities, his level of responsibility, and YOUR ability or willingness to pay for it.

For what it's worth, my 15 1/2 year old son JUST got his first phone for Christmas last month. Mainly, because the bus that brings him home after wrestling practice doesn't actually bring him HOME. It drops him off 3 miles down the road at a gas station. And the time it drops him off can vary considerably... we didn't want him just standing around there waiting, and we didn't (and couldn't) just SIT in the parking lot in the car every night in case the bus came on time or was early. Sometimes it was 7:00 pm. Sometimes 7:40 pm. Sometimes earlier, sometimes later.

My 12 yr old very responsible daughter, does not have a phone at all. And has no current need of one. And we have no current plans to get her one.



answers from Oklahoma City on

We told my granddaughter we'd talk about it when she was 10. So when she turned 10 we talked, she doesn't keep her room clean, she doesn't feed and water her cats or change their littler box regularly (her little brother does all this when he sees she hasn't done it yet, he's 7), and she simply does not act like a person who is responsible enough to manage a phone.

No matter what her age when she shows responsibility for her belongings we'll get her a simply smart phone, my new phone that costs $749.00 will cost me one penny and 10,000 of my 20,200 believe points with U S Cellular. I am getting rid of my Note 2 for something a bit smaller.

I often don't pay squat for my phones. The very first phone I got at the U S Cellular store was on sale for $99 buy one get one free. Then on top of that they each had a $100 rebate so basically they paid me a dollar to have their Samsung Mesmerize.

So phones are basically free if you buy them the right way. For us to add her to our account and her have the same plan as ours it would cost of $50 per month...of COURSE that's never going to happen. So we'll likely go with another provider.

I have even seen cell service plans advertised for $7 per month unlimited and something like that will likely be what she gets. We will have the safety settings set as high as humanly possible.

The world our kids are growing up in is not the same as ours. Not at all.



answers from Dallas on

When they need it to contact you for pick up. No data plan. Just a plain Jane phone. Too much temptation for anything else.



answers from Austin on

Each of our kids got a cell phone at a younger age.......

our last one got one in middle school.... nothing fancy, just a basic flip phone so he could contact us when he was done with his after school activities.....



answers from Pittsburgh on

I know several moms whose policy is that their child can get a cell phone when they can afford to pay the bill. So - is your 13 year old willing and responsible enough to babysit, do yardwork for neighbors, etc, so that he can pay for it?

Does he show responsibility in other ways? Does he keep his room clean? Does he do the chores in the house that are assigned to him without his mom asking? Does he demonstrate good judgement by being polite and respectful?

Or does he demonstrate that he's definitely NOT ready to be responsible by doing things like going online, without his parents' knowledge, under fake names, asking questions to try to get around his parents' rules?


answers from Norfolk on

What does he want to use it for?
The right age depends on the kid.
We got our son a cell phone for getting all A's through 8th grade.
He uses it to tell us when his after school activities change - he doesn't text/call friends or play games - he just texts us.
If he's a good kid then maybe now is a good time for a phone.
But if he's prone to goofing off, then no.
Oh, and the minute anyone pulls the 'but everyone ELSE has one/does it, etc' card - the argument is instantly lost.
We don't care what everyone else is doing.
We don't cave in to whining (which is what that really is).

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