Recently, my older son has started to ask for a smart phone. He is 10 and in 5th grade.
I thought the idea was crazy and he was about three years too early, until I noticed some of his friends with the latest models of phones. Their reasons for having them vary between “I just use them for games” to “In case I need to call my mom.”
I decided to do some research to find out what the “experts” say about the right age for children to have their own phones. For example, I found on WebMd that “Twice as many children have cell phones now as in 2004. Most teens — 85% of those aged 14 to 17 — have cell phones. So do 69% of 11-14 year olds and 31% of kids aged 8-10, according to a 2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.”
Determining if your child is mature enough – not old enough – seems to be a key theme. Looking at things like how they keep track of their belongings, do their homework and projects, put away their things without asking, are all ways to determine maturity level. In addition, the proximity from home to school if they are walking may also have an impact of whether or not you feel your child needs a cell phone.
While researching, I found some great sites dealing with smart phone safety, how to manage the texting craze, and setting expectations with your tween/teen on cell phone use. Take a look!
- www.kellybear.com Used with permission of the author, Leah Davies, and selected from the Kelly Bear website.
Would love to hear your thoughts on the right age for a cell phone – comments welcome.
For now, my son will need to focus on bringing home his homework and studying for his tests first..then we will see about a cell phone for the transition to middle school 🙂