Cell Phone for Child

Updated on August 08, 2008
S.B. asks from Vienna, VA
52 answers

I need some advice. I have an 11 year old and bought him a phone.

Who out there thinks this is too young ... please explain?

And who out there thinks I should have gotten him a phone earlier than 11 ... please explain?

Thanks.

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S.K.

answers from Des Moines on

It's a phone, a form of communication. There should be no age limit. If anyone is afraid their child will disobey them and send too many texts or go over the minutes, then it is a behavioral issue, not a phone issue. If the child has listening problems, don't get them a phone, regardless of their age.

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N.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

I think getting him a pre-paid cell phone is appropriate. These days it's too dangerous for him not to have a way to reach you in an emergency. Getting him a phone with unlimited minutes, and all the bells and whistles is a mistake. He's too young, and doesn't need all of that stuff. Get him one, but don't leave it up to him to regulate its use. You put the restraints on it, and start with limiting minutes, and that will prevent him from wasting minutes and force him to use it responsibly and only for emergencies not foolishness with friends.

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J.C.

answers from Minneapolis on

I also just read the safety information about cell phones and kids. SCARY! My kids will be calling grandma and grandpa from a landline from now on - not worth the health risk in my opinion.

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M.M.

answers from Milwaukee on

My daughter just turned 12. She doesn't have a phone either. I think that unless there is a really good reason, they are not responsible enough for a phone. My daughter begged us for an IPOD. Her dad finally bought one and it went through the wash. Also, the phone is a potential distraction at school..also, I know my daughter's friends that have phones, call boys, let other people use their phones, etc. It just gives them more potential to get into trouble. Just my opinion.

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C.Z.

answers from Omaha on

I am in agreement with the last poster. We have four children and our rule is that when you begin driving, you will get a phone. There have been times that my children went to the mall and I would send my phone with them but for an 11 year old child to have a cell phone, I think is unnecessary. They text CONSTANTLY, their phone will ring in the night, it will ring at mealtime, it will ring during church, it will ring during school...the list goes on. No matter how many "rules" you put down, eventually, they will go out the window and the cell phone will become one more headache. I also agree with no landlines, t.v., computer or gaming system in their rooms. Our oldest three are 21, 19, and 17 and they did just fine without. My thoughts on leaving these things out of their bedrooms is this: it is so easy for a child to go in their room after school and start using the computer, phone, etc. and you will never see them. It is very difficult to monitor what they are doing if they are in their room with the door shut. As parents, we become lazy about spending time with our children, not on purpose certainly, but it is easy to fall in that rut. Also, owning a cell phone is a big responsibility and as many parents will tell you, a costly one, as well. There have been many, MANY children who have run up bills into the high 100's by overusage of minutes and texting and downloads. Even at 16, my kids were on their phones constantly so I made it a rule that when they got home, their phones went into the "phone basket" right next to the chargers. They were not allowed to use the phone at home. That cut down on the frustration.

If you still concerned and think your child needs a cell phone, there are phones that you can program four numbers into along with 911. They can only make calls to those numbers. That would be an option.

I know this is not going to be a popular opinion, but I think this is a big mistake that parents make and I had to shed another light on the subject.

C.

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L.M.

answers from Green Bay on

I'll be the odd one out. I think it's too young, and it's ridiculous for 10 or 11 year old children to be running around with their own phones.

I hear a lot of "keeping in touch with them" from parents as justification specifically for sports/practice/etc... but after raising 3 children I notice that such practices/events tend to be scheduled and I didn't need a phone to know when to pick up/drop any of my children. And if they had to wait 5 minutes, they waited 5 minutes. If I had to wait 5 minutes, I waited 5 minutes.

I don't see any good reason for an 11 year old to have a cell phone - or a phone in their bedroom, for that matter. Or a TV or video games.

I have a hard time believing that anyone needs to get in touch with a 10 or 11 year old so badly that he needs a cell phone.

Let me ask this: how did you justify the purchase? IS there some reason other than "everyone else has cell phones" and "it's a status symbol"? Is there a real, legitimate (other than GPS tracking, which is another topic I won't start on) reason for a child to have a phone that young?

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B.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

I absolutely think 11yrs old is too young for a cell phone. At 11. there is no reason for him to be out alone where he would need a cell to phone a parent, and if he wants to talk to friends, then the home phone is there, at home, for him to use.

Sports practices and school events have a scheduled time to be done. No 11yr old should be at the mall or at the store or hanging out on the street alone without supervision either.

And at 11yrs old friends can call the house, there is no pressing reason that an 11yr old needs to take a call on a cell.... nothing is that important at that age to be paying a big cell bill. friends can leave a msg at home and 11yr old can call back when he gets home.

You want to know others opinions, but you didnt' list why you purchased the cell for him. My guess is, 'but mooooooooom, all my friends have cell phones, why can't IIIIIIII have one tooooooooo?'

Not trying to come down on you, but I agree with the poster who said it was absurd to see 10/11yr olds talking on a cell, or texting. Seriously at that age, they should be running around outside being kids, not trying to grow up and running around alone on the streets or at the mall.

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A.N.

answers from Rochester on

i personally think that is way too young for a cellphone. i know kids nowadays are growing up so much faster than we ever did but i don't let my kids play with video games, not till they turn 8. i'm talking ps2, xbox, gamecube games. i could see if it was a phone that only let him call certain numbers like you and maybe grandma or whatever cuz then that would be understandable since you are a single mother. it would be a great way to keep in touch with you. i guess see how it goes, maybe he's more mature than other 11 yr olds and won't use it as a toy. overall it's your decision.

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B.B.

answers from Davenport on

Hmmm...I'm sure you will get many opinions on this one :) My view is that 11 is too young for a cell phone unless it's one of those that only has four buttons, one for 911, one for home, and the other two for emergency contacts. I don't see any other reason for an 11 year old to have a cell phone other than that. First, you could be investing a lot more money into this than originally planned. If he's on a plan with you then your bill might sky rocket because of calls and texts. Do you believe that he's responsible enough to handle moderation? If he's on a pay as you go plan, the same thing could happen except instead of it being on a bill, he could run out of minutes halfway through the month and you'd either need to buy more or he wouldn't be able to use it for the rest of the month, and then what's the point of having one if he can only use it half a month, especially if you have it for emergency purposes? Also, I understand having one for emergencies, especially in today's world where kids get snatched anytime, anyplace. But, do you think he really needs to be spending the extra time on the phone? Whatever happened to talking to friends face to face when you were playing? I only mention this because I see more and more kids (like 6 and 7 years old) with cell phones who are sitting around talking on them instead of outside playing. I don't want this to sound preachy, but I thin you have to look at your reasons for buying him one to find out if he's old enough. In my opinion kids don't need cell phones or half the other stuff that's marketed to them, they just need books, bikes, balls and imagination. Of course this is my opinion and I'm sure that there are people out there who will disagree with me whole heartledly, but I am a fairly young mother (28) of three who grew up in the boom of the technology age and while I can see the benefits of it (I go to college online) I think there has been a part of childhood lost to it. Whew, kind of sounds like I'm on a soapbox here so I'll end it :) When it comes down to it, it's up to you. If you think that your son is old enough to handle the responsiblity then he should have one. I would suggest a phone contract tho. Set some rules and boundaries for usage and if he breaks them, take it away. He is still a kid, after all :)

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T.L.

answers from Rochester on

Hi Sabra,

I got my 16 year old daughter a cell phone when she was 13 and I like to be able to communicate with her wherever she is. You can even track them online now and see their "breadcrumbs" of where they've been in the last 24 hours! I like it.

We had another extra house cell phone and now my 6 year old uses it when she goes to sleepovers, playdates, and camping. It lets her know that she can always call home without having to memorize phone numbers and such.

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S.M.

answers from Fargo on

I think u have to go by your own childs mental maturity. I have a 12 year old and i found out that while he was at his dad's house that he prank called people. I cant believe that he would do it but he was with his step brother and my daughter told me that this happened. He wasnt suppose to take it with him there but he got his phone taken away and wont get one till he can pay for it with his own money. This is just one of my reasons for no more phone. They are just kids and need to stay that way in my opinion. Soon enough they will be running around and be adults and have a crazy life. Oh and he was getting phone calls and texts at all hours of the day and night from girls in school and in my opinion 12 is to young to be having that happen. Again it has to fit your situation and your needs. Make sure they know the rules and if they dont follow them take it away. Some of them u can have restrictions on them too. I took the phone away from my son at bed time and when he was home. NO need for him to have it then.

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A.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

You might want to limit the use. I've read a lot of things that say cell phones are responsible for the upswing in brain tumors and even behavior issues. Here's a couple of articles:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1565477/Mobile-pho...

http://www.mercola.com/forms/public_exposure.htm

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2006/0...

There are even some products you can buy to protect you from the radiation.

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J.B.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

I think being a single mother it sould be a must!! Just so he can stay in touch with you and you him!! But i do beleave in rules of the phone, like no use at school and turn off at night. Depending on the child minute useage,it was an issue with our talkive teen, so i would talk with him on that! Also keep track of who he is talking to. It sounds your boy is more mature than my step daughter. I would say you have not much to worry about. I think you did the right thing! Good luck!

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A.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

I don't think that it is an age issue. I teach at school, and kids use their phones to text message ALL THE TIME and I cannot even tell you how much that takes away from teaching. It's yet another thing that teachers should not have to deal with. Don't do unlimited text.

As was said, make sure that there are ground rules because it is easy to crank up the bill. Adults do it all the time. What safeguards do you have in place so that he doesn't? I understand the need for the phone. I have a home phone that I sometimes put in my kids bag so that I can contact them, but it does not cost to call them. (They are 5 and 7, and don't really use the phone.)

It's amazing how easy cell phones have made our lives, but we need to be careful too.

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J.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

I will only let my kids have one when they are old enough to drive and be places without me. And they will probably be buying their own :o) At 11 they wouldn't ever be out of my sight anyways so they wouldn't need it.
If he does have one I wouldn't let him have texting on it and wouldn't allow it's use in the home or at school.
Hope this helps,
J.

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P.W.

answers from Grand Forks on

I am divorced mother of 2 (12 and 9), the only reason my 12 yr old has a phone is because when she is at her father's house there is a good chance he hasn't paid the bills and there is no phone available. I allowed it only because i wanted her to be able to call me or the police if need be. I am very strict and she understands that the cell phone is for emergency use only. If she wants to call her friends she uses the house phone. Since I can keep track of the minutes used, she also knows she will have to pay for extra minutes. I don't think having a phone at that age is bad, if it is given for the right reasons.

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L.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

I don't have children this age, so I can't speek from experience. I think it is ok to give a phone to a child this age because you can keep track of him better. I do think there should be limits on use.

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D.H.

answers from Milwaukee on

Hi Sabra,

I do think in some cases it is fine. I have one for my son also 11, he has had it for about a year. I do not have a land line at home so we need to have it for security and safety reasons. I also got it so when he is at his fathers house he can call me, since he is not allowed to call my on his dad's phone. If it were not for those 2 factors I don't believe in most cases it is necessary for kids to have there own cell phones. Just my own personal opinion.

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E.B.

answers from Duluth on

My kids are young yet (4 and not yet 1) so I'm not going to say whether it's too early or not; you know that better than I! But I will comment from a teacher's perspective. My concerns are that he knows how to take care of it (I see a lot of my high schoolers "losing" phones and using them as cameras...all the time, and sometimes inappropriately--my school had an incident where a student photographed up a teacher's skirt) and that he knows when to use it and when it should be off and put away. I do like the idea of parents being able to contact their child, esp in this day and age. Although "everyone has one" is not generally a good parenting guideline, it does mean that there will be homes your child is at that have no landlines, and schools and public areas without payphones. Anyway--my advice would simply to be, make sure he knows how to handle it and not get into trouble with a cell phone.

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T.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

I don't know about age - I think it has more to do with circumstances or need. I allowed my boys to have phones more because I was able to get ahold of them - they were off playing somewhere in the neighborhood and biking around with friends and very difficult to track down. Advice: Kids don't need picture sending capabilities - there have been some horrible issues with kids sending pictures around to each other, and in a matter of minutes an entire school and beyond has seen the inappropriate pictures. I wouldn't allow internet access (fees, other issues). Set up rules about when it can and can't be used. Figure out what you plan to do if he loses the phone or it gets broken, stolen, falls in a pool or goes throught the wash (he buys the next one?).

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C.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

I think this is way too young to have a cell phone. Cell phones are luxuries; the world hummed along just fine before them. IMHO, kids should have cell phones when they can pay the bill, which usually puts them at 16 and driving.

I give caveats to extraordinary situations, like kids who are home alone for a lot, or who have to walk 2 miles to school, that sort of thing.

If my minor child had a cell phone, and I was paying the bill, I would keep constant watch on the call records. The phone would be to call me, or for emergency purposes only. I think kids get on there and text away to the tune of $50 of month, or pay no attention to their minutes used. Most cell phone companies let you check your account info--and the calls made and received--online.

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L.M.

answers from Minneapolis on

I honestly think it all depends on your child and how mature they are. I have a 10 1/2 year old and he will not be getting one anytime soon. My husband teaches at a Middle school and these kids who are 13 can not control themselves with one. They are not allowed in school, but they bring them in anyway, use them during class, take innapropriate pictures with them. Then when they get taken away they do not learn their lesson. The parents have to come pick them up(the phones not the kids) and the very next day they have the darn phones out in class again.

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C.S.

answers from Milwaukee on

Hello! I got my son a cell phone when he was 11 years old, and he is now 12. However, he is very mature for his age. He has to pay for his own games and ring-tones, but I pay his bill. I am not a huge fan of technology AT ALL (why were video games ever invented?), but it is standard for a middle-schooler to have a cell phone, and I want my child on par with the other kids. I have taken away his cell phone during the school year if his grades weren't up to snuff for that week (and all other electronics), and that was really motivating for him. Also, I allow my son to be very independent in our neighborhood, especially during the summer, so it is GREAT to be able to text or call him and know where he is. In fact, when he leaves his cell phone at home, I get mad! My #1 rule is that if mom calls, you had better answer, or there is going to be trouble!

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B.M.

answers from Appleton on

I got my twin girls a cell phone when they were 11. (They are now 13.) This was done for my sake, not theirs. I was sooo tired of sitting in a parking lot waiting to pick them up from one activity or another. And I was tired of not being able to reach them when they were out and about on a walk, a bike ride, or whatever. The cell phone saved me from all that, and it made it possible for me to worry a little less. The phone did come with strict rules though, and they are still enforced. We have unlimited call me minutes, so I don't care who calls them. However, they are only allowed to call my husband or myself unless they ask permission, except for nights and weekends when the calls are free. (They still ask for permission even then, I think out of habit.) I also have the password for their voicemail, and have told them I will check it. Also, I don't allow texting. Most importantly, I check over the bill every month to see who's calling and at what time. So far, so good. FYI, my mother had a fit when I decided to get them a phone, but she loves it when they use it to call her. Basically, if it works for you and your family, go for it. Just my opinion.

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S.G.

answers from Rapid City on

I guess I wouldn't know if it was right for your son or not. What is the reason for getting him a cell phone? If it is because there is times he needs to be able to call you, say during ball practice and you don't want him left somewhere where he has no access to a phone, then it would be ok. A child at home alone or one who goes to the park with friends, it is nice to be able to contact them if needed. If you bought him one just because he wanted one and all his friends have one, then perhaps he isn't ready for the responsiblity and it is too early. My kids were driving when they got one. I wanted to be able to get a hold of them at anytime. I also wanted to have them safe when driving incase they had car trouble or an accident. One bad thing about cell phones with children... they can tell you they are somewhere but really are somewhere where they aren't suppose to be. They also text all the time in class instead of listening to the teacher. Since you already have a cell phone from him, I would set the rules and let him know he will lose it if he uses it during class. Now days it is so hard being safe between bullies at school and the worry about child molesters, it is a nice safety feature for them to be able to call for help at anytime they need too.

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H.A.

answers from Waterloo on

Kids seem to be getting cell phones earlier and earlier these days (boy do I sound like an old timer! LoL) But I don't think 11 is too young as long as the child is responsible with the phone.

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J.S.

answers from Omaha on

Someone mentioned the Firefly phone that is used just for emergencies that has a button for 911, home and two pre-programmed numbers. Seems like a good deal and we did look into one for our daughter when we got her a phone. But the pricing was CRAZY!! It was going to cost us $50 a month for the Firefly or the like. We added her on to our Alltel family plan for $9.99 a month. In theory the specialized phones make sense, economically they don't!!

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R.S.

answers from Dubuque on

Sabra-

I am a single mother of an 11 year old boy as well. My son recieved his phone when he was 10. I believe it was best thing I did for him being an only child. It was a peace of mind for me and him. When he would go to and from school and have to walk or even when he is out playing.. I knew that at anytime I can get a hold of him and know where he is at and what he is doing. Also, if he has any problems or if he happens to get hurt he can call and it has happened on bikes, skatebords, etc.. and I was able to go to where he was and get him. If they need a ride and have no money to make a call, b/c I believe you can not make collect calls on cell phones or to a buisness. If he can not get a hold of me he has other family numbers programmed right in his phone and can call them at anytime and he knows that they are right there to get him if need be, b/c really how many numbers can a child actually remember outside of mom and dad...

I really enjoy the fact that it is a peace of mind b/c in reality you can not be w/ your children 24/7 and you have to let them go on their own at sometime and let them be responsable and have some independence.. Having a cell phone allows that for them, but also gives you that ease of knowing there only a phone call away if you want to check on them or if they need you w/o emabarassing them.

My son has done very well w/ it and has not abused the privlages of having a cell phone. Every child is different on maturity level and as a parent I believe you should know if having a cell for your son is going to benifit the two of you... It has been good for us and I recommend it for children to have these days!

Good luck to you on your decision....

Thanks, Becky

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H.T.

answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter is 6 & has the FireFly phone. We pay $25 per quarter for her cell.
I got it for her when she started going on field trips at daycare (at age 5) for safety reasons. I have a huge fear of her being left behind.
She also carries it when we fly or go somewhere like a Twins game or such in case we get seperated she can call me.
When she goes over the friends houses, she can call me if she wants to be picked up early. She got sick at a party once & was able to call me, so I was glad she had her phone. I know she can use the phones at friends houses, but it's just easier to push the Mom button to reach me than remember all our phone numbers (home, Dad's cell, Mom's cell, Dad's work, Mom's work).

It's a personal preference & it depends on the family's situation on when to get a cell phone for the kids. I'm glad they make a simple phone for kids like the FireFly. When she's older, I'll get her a "real" phone.

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M.Z.

answers from Minneapolis on

Oh my -- what a loaded question! I was adament about NOT getting my kids (13 and 11) a cell phone! That is one thing that I cannot stand is a young teen/child talking or texting on their phone constantly. HOWEVER, with me working full-time and the two kids home alone for the summer, I opted to get them one. They share the phone and can only use it when they are out going someplace. We have very strict rules. They can only call someone whom I programmed into the phone (911, mom, dad, grandma). They call me from the phone when they have arrived at their destination. They are not allowed to text or call anyone else. If they do, they lose their privileges. So, its not a bad idea if you keep a lid on it.
Good luck!

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M.L.

answers from Minneapolis on

It depends on the purpose of the phone and the maturity level of your child.

Cellphones can be great for children because they are available with a tracking device that may help locate a person who is abducted or missing.

If your child is mature enough to use the phone for emergencies or to stay in contact with you when needed... then I think it is a good tool.

If the cellphone is to be used to chat with his friends, then I believe he is too young.

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A.H.

answers from Wausau on

Hi Sabra,
I guess it would depend on the situation and the child. I bought my oldest a cell phone when she was 10. I did this because we did not have a land line but already had cell phones. We did not let her take it to school or church or anything like that and she also started babysitting so I wanted her to have a phone in case of emergency since a lot of other people I know don't have home phones either and only cell phones. Just remember to set guidelines like if you want him to be able to text or only make calls you can got with a prepaid or a contract. We have a contract and she is not allowed to text. Now with my 2nd daughter getting older it is more like our home phone than my oldest daughter's exclusively. Hope this may have helped a little.
A.

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C.M.

answers from Wausau on

PLEASE, PLEASE visit the safe wireless initiative website:
http://www.safewireless.org/

scroll down to where it says
"Medical Alert:
Cell Phones, Cordless & WiFi
Wireless Communication Produces Dangerous Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR)"

and read that.

If you have time, read everything you can on the website.

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A.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

You will notice that he won't use it much until he has other friends who have one. A cell phone is a good "electronic leash" for parents to always be able to reach their kids. They really come in handy once they start biking/busing around on their own.

Discourage him from talking on it more than your land line. Cell phone electro-magnetic radiation has been linked to an over 35% increase in brain tumors in both children and adults. It should be used to communicate with family for safety - not for fun if you can prevent it.

For more information on EMR, go to www.safewave.com

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A.T.

answers from Minneapolis on

We just got my 11 year old daughter a cell phone. I said I would never get her one until it was easy for me. We have a lot of rules and she has to pay half of her phone bill- ( ok its only $10.00 a month to have her on our plan, so she has to pay $5.00- but she has to be responsible for it). She is very involved in activites, and we have always sent a cell phone with her the last year for her different actitives- such as soccer, when we have needed to pick her up earlier because of weather.

I think it depends on the child, and how you treat it. This phone we got my daughter is NO toy. Its to keep in contact with her, and since my husband is gone alot, it helps us stay connected.

I believe that if you treat the phone as responsiblitiy rather then fun, I think that kids will respect it more.

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A.S.

answers from Davenport on

I believe it depends on the child and the type of phone. If the phone has internet access and your son is like some 11 year olds he and his friends are going to watch dirty youtube videos on it and then you might think the phone wasn't the best idea. If he understands when and why he should be using a phone (like, to call for a ride, call for help, etc.) then all may be well. Also be sure to check out his school's policy on cells. If it is a phone that you program then I can't see how an 11 year old is too young. If it is a phone with no restrictions be prepared to possibly have a huge bills for text messaging alone.

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D.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

I have an 11 year old daughter who I give a cell phone to for certain situations - when she goes to camp or goes to the park with a friend. She is to use it to call me or her dad only - not to chit chat with friends. Other than than, when she can pay the bill, she can get her own phone.

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C.J.

answers from Minneapolis on

We purchased cell phones for both our 9 and 10 year old this year. With them being in sports it was our way to keep in contact with them. Also they can easily contact us when they are done and need picked up.

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A.Y.

answers from Minneapolis on

It seems to me that you have to do what makes sense for your family. I have been weighing it for my 12 year old son. So many of them now have a parent-child feature so you regulate what numbers it receives and calls, and has a tracking device in case you ever needed it. All I would advise you as with any new privilege, that you set the rules for use firm and make sure he knows up front what the expectations/consequences are so there are no surprises for either of you when you get the bill each month. It is always easier to loosen our grip than it is to tighten it when we have started out too loose. Happy parenting!!!

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S.H.

answers from Green Bay on

We got our son a cellphone when he was 11 because my husband and I were going on a trip and it was additional security. He's now 14. I think it really depends on the child and the situation. I think they are an excellent way to keep in touch. We are no longer families that only have their children within shouting distance.
Sincerely,
S.
SAHM with a home business for over 12 years.

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J.L.

answers from Milwaukee on

I do see many positives to giving your child a cell phone. However, I wanted to let you know a couple of things to look out for. Children can easily hide things with cell phones so I would monitor it closely. This does not JUST pertain to text messages and pictures but also just checking who called and the phone numbers. I have teenage siblings who have told me about relationships their friends have had without their parents knowing. This is due to the fact that their friends don't have to call the house anymore. You don't necessarily know who your child's friends are anymore.

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C.C.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

I personally think kids should not have cell phones until they are driving on there own. But now there are some kids out there that are old enough to stay home alone and the parents dont have a home phone and just use there cell phones so the child had to have a cell for that matter. My opinion, if the child needs a phone at that age do to certain cercomstances, then fine, but I don't plan on getting my kids a cell until they are driving and there will be major rules for that phone.. No minutes being used unless emergancy! But I'm not there yet so I don't know what will happen in the future lol.. But thats my plan!!

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K.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

My son is almost 11. Not long ago he and I were going to bike to school for the first time, when my bike broke down part of the way there. I gave him directions to continue to school on his own, and it was right after he disappeared around the corner that I realized I had given him the WRONG directions.

That was when I thought for the first time that he should have a cell phone.

I haven't done it yet, but the day is coming, probably some time in the next year. We'll probably get a kajeet phone, which is for kids, very simple, and can have parental blocks put on.

If your son doesn't need a phone for safety, then I'd question buying him one. I don't like the idea of kids that age having phones primarily to text message one another. But if he is sometimes on his own, then yes, I think you did the right thing.

(The wrong directions story turned out fine. The bus never came to pick up my younger son, so DH drove him to school, drove by my older son, and then showed him which way to go. Phew!)

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P.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

I don't know that there is a too young or too old, for a phone. I personally believe that we as parents often step up to the pressures of society and our children simply because, "all my friends have one." If you feel justified in buying him one, at whatever age, then you should be proud of your decision. Each familiy is different and with a Cell phone, there is the nice convienence of being able to get ahold of each other when needed. There is a nice safety factor to think about as well. I feel, as long as us parents teach phone ediquette and stand our ground to those rules we put in place, then there really isn't anything too early or too young. :)

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T.G.

answers from Milwaukee on

My daughter has a cell phone, and she's 9. It gives my husband and myself piece of mind. She walks to and from school, and I talk to her for some of the time. Plus she is in numerous activities where she gets rides from her grandparents or other parents, and there have already been a few incidents where they called to tell her they'd be late. We blocked text messaging and gave her a limit on using it. It is turned off during school, and she uses the land line when at home. In this day and age, I think her having a phone is a necessity.

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L.Y.

answers from Wausau on

Hi Sabra, I think it depends on your son. If he needs to be in contact with you while you are at work, etc and he is at an after school activity then i would go ahead with the phone. I don't think I would allow the texting capabilities unless that is how you would be contacting him. And I would definately be looking at his call/text log. Set up some rules about who he can call, when you call he better answer...And check the school policy about cell phones. It had never been an issue at our school until last year when a new tower went up. Now the kids get reception and are texting each other during class. The school board had to come up with a policy about it!

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L.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

Wow, what a good question! You're going to get SO many different answers. Here is my opinion:
I woudln't get my daughter a phone before she is 16 (or whenever she starts driving). Even then, I would have very strict rules to go along with it (phone would charge in our room at night, we'd block texting, etc).
Each parent/child had their own circumstances, though. Good luck, I'm sure whatever you decide to do will be a good decision.

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B.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

I know tons and tons of kids who have cell phones. I don't see a big deal at all. I would have ground rules set up though like if it becomes lost/stolen go over minutes that sort of thing. I think it's a great sense of security to beable to get ahold of your kids at any given moment especially in today's society.

Just becareful that's all. If I ever get my daughter a phone it will have unlimited min/text so I don't have any surprise bills. My cousin(14) just went over her texting and her mom got a $800.00 bill. I know you can get carried away with ringtones and stuff as well.

My daughter has been begging for a cell phone since she was 5 years old. LOL... she's years away from getting one but I'm betting around 11 she'll have one too.

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C.O.

answers from Minneapolis on

11-years-old is not too young IF the child is away from home a lot AND the phone is mainly used to keep in contact with YOU and in case of emergencies. There has to be detailed guidelines and strict limits for usage.

If it is just for fun, to communicate with his friends, I think 11 is a bit young for a cell phone.

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E.K.

answers from Milwaukee on

Did you know there is a phone out there that is just for young children. It has a button for Mom and a button for Dad. It is called the Firefly. That may be the compromise if you are looking for one. Here is a link to an article that may help.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16044093/

Good Luck.

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L.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

Too young I say, since you asked. Why? Because I did not get my first cell phone until I was 27 and I'm jealous! Just kidding...about the jealous part. Honestly, I made it through college and a long distance (6 hour drive) relationship without a cell phone. (That was back a few years ago when most gas stations still had pay phones. I used a phone card for emergencies.) My first "cell" phone was a Trac phone where you buy the minutes ahead of time and then you use them up within a year. If I were worried about my kid not being able to reach me, this is what I would give him. Besides, I wouldn't want my kid getting used to talking on a cell so much. There's enough evidence out there that they are damaging to your health and I'd rather have my kids start later rather than earlier. Oh well. That's just my opinion since you asked. Good question!

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T.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

Wow - lots of responses here. My 11 year old has a cell phone and I am so glad. In addition to him being able to call for a ride after activities, we didn't have a landline for a while and had no way to reach him after school or for him to call someone in an emergency. Also, it's a lot easier to call his rather than his mom's cell if we want to talk when he's at her house. We got him unlimited texts so he can be social without breaking the bank.

FYI - be aware that there are now ringtones that are in a frequency that adults can't hear but kids can. We love not hearing his phone ring all the time as we monitor his calls online, but some people might not like it.

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