When Did You Get Your First Phone?

Updated on July 15, 2013
D.X. asks from Chandler, AZ
23 answers

My youngest 12 yr old twin daughter,lets call.her M.M and D's birthday is next month.D wants a bike.M wants a phone.I am not sure if i should get her a phone.
1.do you think she is old enough to have one?
2. When did you get your first phone?

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answers from Eugene on

I was 20 when I got my first phone. I had to go to the phone company to sign up for it and then I bought the phone and plugged it into the wall jack. This was a huge deal for me, to have my own apt and phone, after sharing one kitchen phone at my parents house with my folks and 5 siblings. Cell phones weren't invented til 20 years later.

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answers from Los Angeles on

Do a search for previous posts on this topic in Mamapedia.

If I could do it all over again, I'd wait. My son got one in 6th grade. Kids had them in 5th (his private school) and he felt like he was the only one not to have it. (You can also do an online search for mom blogs about this topic.)

I have a friend who is not getting her son a phone. He's 14. She says he can get one when he can pay for it (the phone, the monthly plan).

I got one in my early 30s.

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answers from San Francisco on

I got my first cell phone when I was around 30, about 1998.
My kids got theirs in 6th grade, because that's when they started taking the bus and being more "on their own" after school.
At that age it seemed appropriate because I liked to be able to reach them and stay in touch during those iffy after school hours, sometimes they had practice or went to the library but sometimes they were just "hanging out."

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answers from Norfolk on

Well, my very first (land line) phone was when I got a job out of college and moved into an apartment.
Cell phones were not widely available in 1986.
My first cell phone I got in 2007 - I was 46 at the time.
We got our son a basic phone when he was 13 - he's only allowed to text and call us parents - no one else and he's very responsible with it.
I don't know if your daughter is old enough for a phone - every kids maturity level is different.
(My Mom had/has a wall kitchen phone which was the phone we had access to growing up. My bedroom was really a tiny dining room next to the kitchen with 2 doors. I could open the kitchen door a few inches (my bed was next to it) and pick up the phone if it rang in the night. My Mom and 2 teens (me and my sister) shared that phone with a party line - an elderly lady who talked for hours with her friends about their soap operas. Everybody had to have a certain amount of patience to wait till the line was free to get their turn.)

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answers from Austin on

I had a "Princess phone" when I was 12. It was Hot pink and in my bedroom.. I was not allowed to make any long distance calls.

Our daughter got her first cell phone when she was going into 6th grade (middle school) mainly because of all of the extra curricular activities and me needing to be able to leave her messages, or for her to all me and up date me.

She never abused it, because we told her, if she ran over her minutes or texting, she would have to pay the bill, or we would take the phone from her. She knows that we do not make false promises,

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answers from Chicago on

1. I think she is old enough, as long as you have the money to pay for it, and one of the kid-safe versions. Not one that has picture text capabilities.

2. My sister bought mine for me when I was a freshman in college because I was going to school in a fairly dangerous area of Milwaukee, and then moved to Chicago the next year. As the victim of an attempted abduction, herself, she worried about my safety a lot.

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answers from Washington DC on

Phones these days are entirely different from the phones that were around when we grew up. I finally got a land line phone (corded, plugged in) my senior year in high school. (And my parents could listen in any time.) Good luck with your decision.

Did you mean to ask parents when they bought their kids phones?

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answers from Boston on

I got my first phone in college, my first cell phone when I was 24.

My oldest son is 15 and got his first cell phone at 13, which I think is a good age. We'll do the same for our other kids. My SD is also 15 and her mom got her a phone when she was 9. Which she lost, then lost the replacement, then broke that replacement, then got in trouble for messing with some kid's head via text, etc. She wasn't really mature enough to use it without drama until she was 13 or thereabouts. Before that it was just a pain in the neck for us.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I had a land line in my dorm room in college - I was 17. At the time James Bond had a car phone and Max Smart had a shoe phone. No one had a cell phone. I was 37 when I got my first cell phone. What does M need a phone for - if she needs to let you know where she will be and call you to pick her up - it is certainly reasonable. It is really hard to find a pay phone nowadays. Of course, she does not need a smart phone for the old fashioned talk function.

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answers from Washington DC on


When I was 12 - cell phones were something on Star Trek....NOT EVEN around...heck - they weren't even on Star Trek...

I got my first phone - the one with a cord and numbers to DIAL! when I was 17 - and could pay for my own line.

I got my first cell phone when I was 30 and had returned to the United States from living in Europe for 7 years.

My daughter got her first cell phone when she was 16.
My oldest son got his first cell phone at 10 - as he was playing baseball and his brother was playing soccer and their practices were at the same time...different places...

My 11 year old will get his first cell phone this week. He and his brother are going to visit my parents and my family for 3 weeks.

Do I think your daughter is old enough? I don't know. Does she follow the rules? Does she understand the rules of the phone and phone etiquette? We do not allow calls or texts after 9PM unless it's an emergency - defined as car accident, fire, dying, etc.

Hope that helps!

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answers from St. Louis on

I was sixteen. My mom and did didn't want to sign off on running a second line into the home but I sold them on I would be paying for it. My mom had this stupid rule that no one could answer their phone so I felt it was necessary so my friends could reach me.

I had it until I got married and of course our new home had a phone line as well.

Now my kids got cell phones when they were 14.

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answers from Los Angeles on

At this age, I think a phone is ok, but it needs to be JUST a phone. No internet, no data plan. Limited texting and, if it's possible these days, no photo messaging. She shouldn't be using her phone all the time, but rather to call you with her whereabouts or to be picked up, to make plans with friends, etc. If she needs to gab away with her friends she can do it on the house phone.

The more she can do on her phone, the more she will disengage with the world around her. My son said someone had his iPad at day camp last week. Camp is only from 9:00 - 12:00. There is NO NEED for an iPad at camp! He's also on the swim team. The other day, there were four kids (older than him, probably about 11ish) hanging out together in the pool. One spent half her time texting rather than talking to the people sitting around her.

So, I think 12 is old enough for a phone, but not old enough for a data plan, etc. It's just not necessary and can lead to A LOT of trouble.

I also think you need to make it clear that any overage charges on minutes or texts will come out of her pocket.

ETA: Sorry, after reading other replies it seems like maybe she wants a phone for her bedroom? If that's the case, absolutely do it. I had one in my room by junior high. Got my first cell phone shortly after college.

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answers from Washington DC on

When I got my first cell phone is kind of irrelevant b/c I was in my 20s and did not get one til I was picking up my stepkids from daycare. My family bodily dragged me into the current century.

My sks got them at different times. SD was 10 and SS was 13 or 14. She treated it like a toy and broke or lost many phones over the years, especially before she was 14 or so. Even now, it's not uncommon for her phone to be cracked up and abused and only half functioning.

My SS treated all of his phones with respect and used them til they stopped functioning and were finally replaced.

Were it MY dime, I would never have gotten SD a phone til she was at least 14 or older. At 10, she went from our care to school to aftercare to our care. She was not without an adult more than a few minutes here and there (biking to a friend's house, for example) and was careless to boot. SS had afterschool activities and used his phone to call us when the bus was late (as it often was).

Get the phone only if you think she is ready for it and has a need for it. And get a basic, basic phone. As basic as you can get (no camera, if that's still possible, limited minutes and texts, no internet). If she is not ready for a phone, it is a waste of time and money.

My DD will probably not get a phone til late MS or early HS, at whatever point she does afterschool activities AND is responsible enough. I am not going to be replacing phones like SD's mom did.

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answers from Wausau on

I have an 11 and 13 year old. The 11 year old has no need of a phone at all. The 13 year old...not quite yet, but I suspect in the next year or so I'll want him to have one as he starts to fly solo more often.

As for me...I've never had a cell phone.



answers from Chicago on

My parents sent me off to college in 1990 with a giant cell phone. I used it once in 5 years. It was for emergencies, with me driving a beater car back and forth to school.


answers from San Diego on

I got my first cell phone when I was pregnant with my first child. I was 30. But cell phones weren't exactly around quite like they are now LOL

My kids don't have one right now. They are 12, 9 & 4. They just don't need them right now. They don't have activities without the family, they are homeschooled. They will get one for certain when they begin to drive on their own, either at 16 or later, depending on when they get their license. I don't feel safe letting them out alone without a cell. They will get one before that if they become involved in activities that have them somewhere for extended periods of time without the family.
They call their friends using the house phone or my husband or my cell phone. A couple of their friends have ipads/itouches/etc so they will sometimes text each other using our family ipad which is free.
There is no reason for one otherwise.


answers from Washington DC on

I was 18 when I got my first phone and even then I had to hide it from my dad. He said if I have money for a phone, then I have money to pay him rent. I do think 12 is too young though. I would wait a few more years.



answers from New York on

Maybe just an old type flip phone. No texting, Internet etc. does not need that now. Just a basic phone.


answers from Grand Forks on

I had a phone in my bedroom when I was ten, but it was the same line as my parents. I got my own line when I got my own apartment when I was 24. I am nearly 43 and I do not have a cell phone. I have not found a need for one. My kids won't be getting cell phones until they have jobs and are able to pay for cell phones themselves, and then I hope they have the sense to get themselves cars instead of phones!



answers from San Francisco on

When I was 48.

It's reasonable to get a kid a phone in middle school.



answers from Washington DC on

I don't know if she is old enough. What does she need it for? Does she have an Ipod yet? My 9 yo begged for one, and she looses it in the house every few days. From what I hear, 12-13 is the age to get a first phone. In answer to your question, I got my first phone at 19. It was a big old clunker, and was only to be used for road emergencies. Times have certainly changed!


answers from Washington DC on

You're going to get a variety of answers because we are all different ages and the technology changes so often.

I was 16, when I starte driving. I am 30 now. They did not have internet on normal people phones then, and I only needed a phone for calling and texting.

My daughter had an old phone of ours turned on at 6. I have 3 kids in activities and sometimes she is at dance when I can't be there. She is 10 now and on her second phone, again an old one of ours. No internet access and we have 100% access to it at all times. Most of her friends have phones as well.

My 8 year old son wants a phone, but it's not necessary for him yet. When it becomes necessary, he will get one.

All situtations are different and all kids needs are different. I think she is absolutely old enough for one.



answers from Portland on

I don't know your daughter, nor do I know how responsible she is, so I really can't answer that. My son will get a fancy phone when he can pay for it, otherwise he can use the landline or borrow a cell. Worst case scenario, we get him a prepaid phone to use to call us with no internet access.

I was 18 and working when I got my own phone line in my room. Paid for it myself. Before that, I just used the phone in the kitchen and carried quarters for pay phones if I was out and about. Ah... the olden days.:) Got my first cell phone (still have the same one) about 5 years ago, so that Kiddo's sitter had a way to get a hold of me. I was 37 or 38 then.

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