POLL: Does Your 10 to 15 Year Old Child Have a Cell Phone??

Updated on September 16, 2012
C.R. asks from Olathe, KS
42 answers

Why or Why not? If yes, does it only allow calling and limited texting? Internet access?

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J.W.

answers from St. Louis on

My 13 year old just got one that he has to "share" with his 11 year old sister. By share I mean she has taken possession of the phone.

I like it because it is easier to call them when they are at their dads. My ex is a bit strange about phone access.

3 moms found this helpful

D.S.

answers from Columbus on

My 8 yro has a cell phone but he's only allowed to carry it with him if he's going to a friend's house in the neighborhood so I can call him back home. He doesn't take to school or has it on him when he's with me or his dad. The phone is one of the prepaid ones and does not have any video capabilities and he doesn't know how to text yet (plus it woud be very hard to text with this phone), its just a simple flip phone.
Good luck!

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V.P.

answers from Columbus on

10 years old. No. Because I drop her at school, I pick her up, and she is always with me or an adult who has access to a phone. She has no need for one.

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K..

answers from Phoenix on

I am very interested in the answers to this poll.

I grew up with a single, working mom, had to take the public city bus to & from school, & pretty much anywhere I went, and I somehow survived without a cell phone.

If DD wants one, well she's going to have to earn it herself & pay for it herself. And definitely not anytime soon. She's still young, so we always know her whereabouts and are the only ones transporting her anywhere. I'm not going to say I'm completely opposed, but strict limits will be in place.

A 13 year old with an IPhone? I think I'll keep my comments to myself!!

I guess I'm old school. I think kids & phones with picture, internet & texting capabilities is a recipe for disaster, personally. Trashy pics of 14 year olds in the bathroom in their bras, posted on Facebook, anyone?! We all think our kids are trustworthy and innocent, and so do the parents of these girls. Our kids are way too plugged in nowadays, IMO.

4 moms found this helpful

E.A.

answers from Erie on

No, it's unnecessary. When it is necessary, we put $20 on a prepaid phone we keep for that reason and they turn it over to us when they get home. They can get their own phones when they can pay for them. I grew up without a cell phone, I simply don't see the necessity for them.

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M.K.

answers from Dallas on

My 16 and 11 year old girls both have iPhones 'gasp' my 11 year old has a very active 'social' life in the neighborhood. All the kids ride bike in packs and go to each others houses or when she rides her bike to a friends house by herself. I love the fact that I can get ahold of her anytime I need to. Yes, could she call me on a home phone from somewhere or use a moms cell phone like back in the day before cell phones?Sure. All of her freinds also have phones. I guess i dont see the big deal about it. This is today's technology and I personally love it!

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J.K.

answers from Phoenix on

.

3 moms found this helpful

C.O.

answers from Washington DC on

my 10 year old will have one at Christmas.

My 12 year old has one...texting and phone...no internet access..

Our plan is unlimited talk and text for all of us. I monitor his texts. He may not make any phone calls after 9PM unless it is an emergency..and that means someone is dying...fire..etc...not "I lost my XBOX game"

3 moms found this helpful

J.P.

answers from Lakeland on

My 13yo step daughter has an iPhone and got it over a year ago. She did have a basic phone before that to call for a ride when she was out. We all have iPhones on our plan except my MIL, it's nice for my daughter to use one of ours so she can video chat with her sister in another state.

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M.T.

answers from New York on

Yes. My daughter got one at 11, my son got one at 10. They were meant for us to communicate with the kids, such as when they'd get home from school a half hour before I'd get home from work and I'd want to check in with them but didn't want them picking up the house phone when home alone (no caller ID), plus it allowed us access to them and vice versa if they were out someplace. It was not a gift, it was not a toy for them to use to call and text with their friends. Sure, now that they are both teens, they use it for that sometimes but they don't have unlimited plans and are not big phone talkers. No internet access

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C.N.

answers from Baton Rouge on

My daughter got one for her 15th birthday.
She was working as a babysitter and involved in a lot of after school activities. We also made it clear to her that we would be monitoring her usage, and that if she was caught using it during school or if she went over her allotted minutes, it would be taken away.

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A.C.

answers from Savannah on

My bff's son got his first phone at 8yrs old. It was an old phone she had in a drawer, and she just added it to the plan for $10/month. The understanding was that it was her phone, for him to use, she can check it ANY time she wanted to. She programmed the "needed" numbers (her work, cell, my home and cell, different emergency numbers, his cousin and an approved friend). She gave him the phone because she had a job and he walked to school and she wanted him to phone her when he was leaving, and when he arrived on school property....and when he was leaving school, and when he got back to the neighbor's house (who was watching him). She also wanted him to have his own phone in case something happened at scouts, soccer, or if he was at his dad's house (she doesn't trust the dad but the court says he has to have visitation, so she feels better knowing her son can phone her from the bathroom or whatever if the dad got drunk or if he needed her to come get him). She allows texting, but her rule was that it was an extension to spelling and grammar homework: he can text his cousin or friend, but has to spell out all the words correctly and use correct grammar, and she checks it (again, like homework he'd enjoy). Something else she didn't tell him but gave thought to: gps on the phone if something happened and they needed help finding him.

He really wanted an iphone and he saved up his allowance and birthday/Christmas money for over a year, and now at age 10, he has his own iphone, which he bought with his own money. Same rules apply, though he does have a few more approved friends on the list now. Their data plan is shared, and unlimited because of HER job needing it to be unlimited. I don't think he has access to internet on his phone (you can specify certain things with your phone company), and he's been told not to take pictures without her approval, penalty that he loses the phone (and the money he had to save up to buy it). I don't see an issue with it at all.

I have my son (age 5) dial my mom, his dad, etc on my phone so that he can practice making calls on a regular basis. That way if there was an emergency he could use the phone with no issues. When he's about 8, I'll give him a simple basic phone, but more for emergencies. I think it would have been helpful in a couple situations I came across as a kid to be able to sneak a call, my mom had no problem being "the bad guy" and coming to get me with whatever excuse she made up, and I will provide my kids with a way to keep in touch with me as well. For those that say they grew up without a cell phone so their kids don't need one....what we DID grow up WITH was a pay phone on every corner, in every store, at every gas station, in the library, at school, everywhere. I haven't seen a pay phone in years, and the one I did see, I ran up to out of nostalgic reasons (gotta check the change slot for that lost nickel) and it was broken. So yeah---we didn't have cellphones, but the kids now don't have pay phones.

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M.F.

answers from Portland on

My daughter is not that old yet, but we are already looking at getting her a cell phone.
We would not have picture messaging or internet on it, but texting, calls, and non internet game would/will be fine.
I want her to be able to reach us in an emergency, and I can track her location on it.

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J.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

We have an extra pre-paid cell phone that our 10 year old can use when he is going somewhere. He doesn't call anyone but us on it. He doesn't text. NO internet access. It has it, but he isn't allowed to use it and doesn't.

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J.S.

answers from Hartford on

When my eldest turned 11 years old we got her a cell phone. She has limited minutes and limited texts. I've also set time restrictions regarding the times of day she's allowed to use the phone. There's no way around any of the restrictions. There's absolutely no internet access.

She turns 12 years old on Monday.

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A.C.

answers from Boston on

My daughter has had a prepaid cell phone since she was 11. She just turned 16. I originally got her one because she had to start taking a bus to school, and she had to walk several block to the stop. Plus some of the kids in my neighborhood at that time were "questionable". I couldn't walk her to the stop myself because I had to work. I was just more comfortable knowing that she was safely on the bus. I pay for the minutes, so I only put enough on for an unlimited texting package. I pay $15.00 a month for that. I make sure she has a few dollars more on it for emergency calls, but other than that she's never had enough $ on it to use it for voice calling. If she has her own $ and wants to put her own minutes on it then she can do what she wants.

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S.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

My 10 year-old does. It is only for calling, no texting. She rarely uses it, but she has it because we only have cell phones, no home phones, so there are times she is alone at home or riding her bike to a friend's house and she can let us know if there is a problem.

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V.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

No.
Kiddos are 11 and 14. No cell phone whatsoever, but they freely use mine if they need to make a call while we are out.
They are rarely away from (except for school, or karate), in either case, in which they can readily access a phone to call me if they NEED to.

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L.A.

answers from Austin on

Interesting, yes after 9/11 we also got our daughter a cell phone.
It did have texting so that we could message her or she could message us.

It was very basic and she really did not use it much back then.. We wanted to be able to let her know of any schedule changes and we wanted her to be able to get a hold of us.

Once she was driving we got her a phone with all of the bells and whistles, because we wanted her to have the GPS, texting, everything..

Remember there are hardly ANY payphones and they may not be around people they know, to ask if they can borrow their cell phones.

We had to change our server once she went to college. The company we were using was not as reliable up there..So we switched over to a company that was more prominent up there.

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S.A.

answers from Kansas City on

Yes, he (12) does and it works for us. He has unlimited calling and texting with internet access. We have rules and he knows we check his phone regularly. He carries it with him to school and leaves it on silent in his bookbag. I ask him to check it as soon as he gets out in case I'm late and or I'm reminding him to bring something home. If he goes with other friends to a sporting event and/or somewhere where there are lots of people and he gets lost or left behind, he has it. If he goes out to play I can always reach him. He'll either call and/or text me. We've explained to him that is a privilage to have this and not to mess it up by doing something wrong or it goes away. So far, so good. As I said, it works for us. I know you'll get a lot of different responses, but I'm sharing mine. Good luck!
P.S. And it does not go to his room at night, it sits on the counter and he can't use it after 8:30 on a school night & 10 Fri/Sat.

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M.P.

answers from San Francisco on

My 10 yo got one for Christmas last year. My 14 yo has one and has had it for a few years. We have an unlimited family text plan but the 10 yo knows that her phone is not for everyday casual use. She must ask us first if she can call a friend from it. It's primarily to call us if she needs us. They do not have Internet access. My 14 yo is the reason we got the unlimited family text plan, lol. We take their phones from them at bedtime (9pm). Though I was initially cautious of them having one, it has proved to be incredibly convenient for me that they have one. I feel like I can contact them about anything no matter how trivial at just about any time (except school hours obviously). My husband works for a cell phone carrier so we get a great deal on our phone service, otherwise I'm not sure they would have gotten phones at a young age.

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K.B.

answers from Augusta on

My daughter's 14 Birthday is tomorrow, Im getting her the iPhone 5. Sssshh!! lol But her previous phones had internet access, texting and calling. Now, because my daughter will be 14 and I trust her, I allow her to have internet access, Its all about trust, if you trust your kids to have a cellphone then go ahead!! But for 10-12 year olds Id take off internet access.

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A.G.

answers from Dallas on

We got my now 14yo son a phone when he was 12 because he was going to friends' houses who had no home phones, and the friends were unreliable about keeping their phones on/charged. We needed to be able to reach our son when he was at their homes.

His phone has unlimited calls/texts, but no internet access. He also leaves it at home during school, and in the kitchen when he goes to bed. He knows we will randomly check his texts, too, and he has no problem with that. It really hasn't been an issue at all. He's like me; he doesn't like phones, so he rarely uses it.

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R.J.

answers from Seattle on

Yes. Since he was 5. It's about as exciting to him (aka drop dead normal) as a toaster.

He's now 10.

Smartphone. (iPhone) What he uses the most.

- Phone
- text
- camera (also for taking pics of HW assignments)
- calendar
- iPod / music
- maps
- email
- free kindle app

Some of his friends are getting phones now... And he just doesn't get why they're freaking out about it. The rules have been in place for him since he was little, so he doesn't get the hype they're going through. 'Dude, it's just a phone.' is something I've heard a lot, lately.

Came in SUPER handy Friday. He lost his HW... But had a picture of it... So he texted it to his teacher and got full credit.

As an ADHD coping tool... It's invaluable.

Oh. And the expense? It's a prev gen. A whole whopping $1, and $10 a month for the line.

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F.H.

answers from Phoenix on

We just got our 9 and 12 yo prepaid cells. Every minute they are on it, it cost $$$. We only buy them 60 min per month. Once its gone, they dont get more minutes until the first of the next month.

They have only had them for 15 days and are almost out of minutes. But we expected that because they are "new". Once the excitement wears off, I think they will understand WHY they have them, so they can REACH us, and won't waste their minutes.

We can switch carriers in Feb and will likely get them unlimited phone and texting. We got them for them because the 12 yo is now in Jr High and we already have run into several situations that we needed to reach her and couldn't. The 9 yo got one because when they are at their dads, he doesn't let them call me when they want. So this ends that problem.

Good luck!

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 17 and she has had a cell phone since at least 10 yrs old.

Yes, she has calling and unlimited texting. She's has internet access since the first IPhone came out when we all got them in our family.

You have to do what is right for your family and not worry about what others think or say.

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S.H.

answers from St. Louis on

my older son got his 1st phone at age 16 when he began driving.

my younger son got his when he started middle school...& was walking alone to/from school.

emergency calls only, but my younger son had unlimited texting because it was part of our plan by then.

internet, NO! But now that my younger son is 16 & ready to work, he can get it when he pays for his own.

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L.M.

answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 11 and she doesn't have one. We have been debating getting her one that has prepaid calling minutes, but no texting or Internet. The reason we might get her one is because now she is starting to get dropped off at some school events and I want to be us to be able to get ahold of each other. She will only be able to use it for emergencies or to call us.

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3.B.

answers from Cleveland on

My 17 yr old has one, he was given one at 11. NOT BY ME! too young.

My younger two will not receive one until they start getting dropped off places with out a parent. And then it will be a basic phone, no picture messages, limited texting and only for use when they are outside of the house.

Kids are given way too many luxuries w/ bells and whistles they are not really mature enough to deal with. This is why private, unflattering pictures are floating around the internet and each others phone. It's another way to sneak behind adult's backs to do things they shouldnt be. My SIL is the same way w/ all four of her girls, and to me they seem to be the most well adjusted respectful teenage girls I am around! Obviously this is just not about the phones, but a big factor I think. I get so sick of seeing kids everywhere w/ their faces plastered to their cell phones. Thats all they do! It's crazy!

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A.V.

answers from Washington DC on

My SD got hers at 10. My SS got his at 13 or 14. He got his first. I think it was appropriate to get him a basic phone because he started to play football. SD, predictably, treated hers like a toy. She had no need for one. I will wait til DD actually needs one and then get her a very basic (whatever is offered in 10 years) phone. I also don't think she needs to access the internet on her phone - no filters? No way.

I do not think most kids under 13 or 14 have a TRUE need for a phone and it becomes an expensive hassle. Even when SD did have a phone, half the time it was lost, uncharged, or forgotten so it was useless to us as an electronic leash.

We did not pay for the sks' phones, so we had limited options in when they were bought, what they got, etc.

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R.M.

answers from Cumberland on

After 9/11-they were never without one.

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K.C.

answers from New London on

Age 13 for mine. I told her that when she was 11.
...It's a basic phone.
I hardly use mine. And she knows that. I don't like putting radiation near my head! I
Beware of the internet!
The phone has to be put on the kitchen table just before bedtime. She is older now and I still have her put the phone on the kitchen table at night. Why? Teens will text until 1am or 2 am. In fact, most of the teens w/out that rule do that.

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D.N.

answers from Chicago on

No. They don;t need one. IF they were involved in a lot of activities, maybe i would get one but they come home from school and we have a land line phone for them. A lot of their friends do have them though--smart phones with the full use text, photo, talk, etc. One of my girls has an Ipod that she bought herself with money she earned herself and uses that to text and go on facebook but no cost to me.

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L.M.

answers from New York on

My girls are now 15 and 17. They both got cell phones when they entered middle school. Phone calls only, no internet, no texting.

Here's why...
No internet or texting, because I feel it's not necessary. I don't have it on my phone.
I need to be able to reach my kids and they need to be able to reach me. If I'm running late to pick them up or I need to send someone else to pick them up that needs to be communicated. If they want to stay after school for a reason.
They walk home from school, they can call for help if needed.

One of the rules when they were younger was everynight, the cell phones were put on the kitchen counter.

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B.F.

answers from Chicago on

My 10 year old got a cel phone the moment I let him go outside by himself. He is allowed to go to the park but he needs to take the cel phone with him. His phone doesn't have internet or anything fancy. He never makes phone calls except to me. I never told him he isn't allowed to phone his friends he just never does. It's a pay as you go phone.

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J.K.

answers from Kansas City on

yes both my boys have them and they are 14 and 16. They got them when they were 12 and 14. We got them because I work early in the morning, and I wanted to be able to talk to them when they were at their bus stop or on their way to school. Anyway, they have unlimited texting, and they can call whoever they like, but I can turn their phone off during school hours if it is a problem, and it hasn't been so far this year. No internet though - don't see a need for it on their phones. BUT, in our school district, they are now allowing cell phone usage in the classroom, and encouraging it. They would like for the kids to be able to search on their phones, whatever they are discussing in the classroom, and have discussions about it. This is in middle school and high school. But we are not doing that. Our kids have IPADS and they can use them, I am not paying for my kids to have internet on their phones, I don't think they need them, and I don't even have it.

M.D.

answers from Washington DC on

My oldest (9) got one when she was 6. She dances and there are times I can't be in the location with her, so I'd prefer to know I can contact her and she can contact me. She got an old one of my husband's, and is respectful with it. I see no problem with kids having them if they need them and if the parents are responsible.

S.G.

answers from Grand Forks on

No, my ten year old doesn't have a cell phone. Either do I. Everywhere he goes without me (school, friends homes, YMCA, community center, church) all have telephones he can access. If he goes out to play he is never more than a block or two from home and can easily come home if he needs to talk to me. I always know where he is, so I don't need a phone to keep tabs on him. I have resisted getting a phone for myself. There has been the odd time when having a phone would have come in handy, but for the most part there is a phone available wherever I go as well. I thought about getting a phone because I take the kids camping and such by myself, and it might be a good idea to have a phone in case the van breaks down etc. Of course it occured to me that if I were somewhere so remote that there was no access to a phone, then I probably wouldn't get a cell phone signal. If I were to get a phone for myself it would be for emergency use only and just for calling, no texting or internet.

ETA: After reading all the other comments here I think that we have a very different cell phone culture in Canada than in the US! True, most adults I know do have phones, but here most kids don't get phones until they get a job. We also still have lots of public phones and payphones available. I do recall looking for a payphone on my last trip to North Dakota and not being able to find one. Cell phones must be a lot cheaper down there!

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N.W.

answers from Eugene on

Yes, when my boys were that age they had cell phones for phone calls only. No texting or internet. The phones really helped with picking them up from school and activities. They were on their dad's plan and every call they made showed up on his bill. My 18 yo just bought his own cell phone so he could text.

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

We just got a our 13 yr old a cell phone a few months ago as a 7th grade graduation present.
It's a basic phone (not a smart phone - none of us have smart phones - no internet access or data plans) so it's for calling or texting us (not his friends) to let us know about changes in his activities schedules so we can coordinate picking him up from school, taekwondo and band practice.

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S.B.

answers from Redding on

I got my son a pre-paid cell phone that only had calling features. No texting or internet. Heck, I didn't even have a cell phone at the time. I still don't.

Anyway, I got him the phone so that he could check in with me. Being a single and full-time working mom who commuted quite a distance for work, I wanted him to be able to check in with me after school, call me to let me know he was going with the babysitter somewhere, etc.

He was very responsible with his phone and never went over his minutes. He turned 17 at the end of July and has a much nicer phone now, but still no texting or internet features. We've got two computers at home, so he doesn't need internet on his phone. He doesn't need texting and survives quite fine without it.

He now has free unlimited service through his dad's plan so he call call his older sister, my mom or sister, anytime he wants. If he wants a phone with a bunch of features on it, he can get one when he can pay for it himself. He's in no hurry.

I personally think the best way to start out is with a plain phone that is pre-paid and has call features only. That way, you can test your child's level of responsibility. I know way too many young kids who've had phones with all the bells and whistles only to lose them or have them stolen. And of course, the parents were NOT happy about it.

I think it's best to start out slow in this regard.

Just my opinion.

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M.G.

answers from Kansas City on

Yes our 10yo has a phone. We have it on our plan, it has text and Internet. We gave it to her so that she can call / text us whenever she needs us and we have apps on all phones to track family members at all times in all places. I can see where she has been and where she is at anytime I want. We pay for smart limits so she can only use so much Internet and she can only call or text the people we approve. She also cannot call or text anyone but me or 911 during the day. She does keep it in her backpack at school and keeps it off.

The rules are very clear in our house about this - if she abuses it it's gone. If she has it taken away at school it's gone. At night, we take it in our room to charge.

I find little harm letting her have it. We made the choice as her parents to invest in the phone and the plan - she understands it's a privilege and not a right. In this day and age we are always in so many places and it's not as safe as it used to be for kids just to play outside all day without knowing where they are. If you manage it and they understand the privilege then I think it's fine. We feel better knowing she can reach us anytime.

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