I Would Love Your Opinion On....

The right age to give a child a cell phone.....

My FIVE YEAR OLD niece was just given a cell phone by her mother.... She cannot read, or immediately recognize numbers.

What do you all feel is an appropriate age for a child to have a cell phone?

I know times are changing, but I don't think it is appropriate.

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24 replies since 15th July 2010 • Last reply 15th July 2010

Well I had a mobile phone at the age of 13 that I was only given when I went to school. It was only turned on when I walked to and from school and turned off during the day because it was a half hour walk home and my mum was rather worried for a girl my age walking home down lanes and stuff. So it was more of a back-up/safety/emergency phone. I got a 'proper' mobile phone when I was 15-16. I personally think 5 is a bit of a joke lol. I can understand the reasoning behind it though, but I don't think a five year old is going to be left alone that long to need it, or a five year old SHOULDN'T be left alone that long to need it. Not really sure what to think actually lol. I think mobiles are becoming depended upon for safety a lot more now, so 10+ for emergencies but just for socialising I would wait until about 13 I think, although society is changing a lot since I was little I guess...

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Thanks for your input. The only time she is ever away from her parents is when she is in the care of my in-laws or her other grandmother. She really has no need.

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I got my phone the summer before 7th grade, so I was 10 - 11. I only got it because I was outside walking around my neighborhood with friends all day when my mom was at work, so she could check up on me and I could call her.

I think the age I got it, for the purpose I got it, is appropriate...I only really started using it for socializing during my 7th grade year.

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My mom worked and I was all over the place as a child. No cell phone did just fine. I think when a child is old enough to pay for their own cell phone, then they can have it. Or they have these cell phones for kids that can only dial 3 numbers Mom, Dad, and 911. If my kids get cell phones that is what they will get. I can't stand seeing elementary and middle school kids walking around with cell phones. To me it is just ridiculous. It was like when I was a kid and they had beepers/pagers. They didn't need that crap. LOL

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Agreed with Tara- I'm 15 and don't have a mobile... Although all my friends do! my parents won't buy me one, if I want one I have to buy it myself- which is definitely fair! Actually i like not having a cell phone because it Shows my Parents trust me to be home on time and to take care of myself, It Kinda makes me feel more independant because my Mum can't get hold of me whenever she wants! Happy 5 Years old is just SO ridiculous!

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My Sister in law gave her sons who are 7 and 8 cell phones, I wasnt too keen of the idea of them having it because how do you give them something that big to carry the responsibility. Heck I didnt have a cell phone till i got a job and paid for it myself, if i missed the bus I called my parents at the office or called collect. Now Lillian is 7 the thought hasnt really occured to me unless she gets older and if her father and step mom moves I might get one for her for her summer visits so she can call me whenever she wants too. But for now it drives me crazy to see these kids who cant write, read or even remember their phone numbers are given cell phones.

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Hmm... I'm a leader for GirlGuiding UK, it's like Girl Scouts of USA, and we have a constant problem with mobile phones. I look after Guides aged 10 to 15 and we have unit guidelines that say 'I promise to leave my mobile phone at home or to turn it off whilst I'm at Guides' but we have constant problems with texting, calls and now facebook and twitter being used.

We have two autistic girls in our unit, and I can understand their families providing them with phones: useful as a security device on walks home from school, also as a communication device with family that are far away etc. However, I cannot condone a 10 year old being given an internet enabled phone (on a contract) that gives them access to facebook, twitter, myspace and who knows what else. It's unmonitorable - histories can be deleted as can messages. To me, having not got my first phone until I was 18, it seems completely unreasonable and to a degree irresponsible.

When we go on camp holidays, we find phones to be even more of a problem. The girls want to charge their mobiles, and those that get homesick make the situation worse when they talk to their families. It's just goes against the notion of spending a week under canvas. As leaders we don't use our phones unless absolutely necessary - in my case last year at camp I ended up keeping my phone on for the duration because my Grandad was very sick, he died whilst we were away; I stayed at camp with support from the other adults and bear hugs from the kids Happy On an ordinary holiday with Guides I speak to my husband once every two days and keep my phone turned off and in my bag the rest of the time!!

All of this is of course, just my opinion! x

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I think middle school, at the least, should be when a child gets a cell phone.
13/14.
I was in 9th grade when I got my first cellphone.

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Times are changing, and have changed since I was growing up. Possibly dangerous neighborhoods, long walks from school, etc. Some kids had pagers and beepers when I was high school, which at that age back then I still didn't see the point and I never wanted one. I knew where I was supposed to be and what time, so my parents knew where I was and who I was with. Nowadays, it seems like more kids than parents have cell phones. My two older children got their own phone when they were 16+, if they wanted it they were getting it themselves. So if they blew their entire allowance on one, so be it. They had one of those pay as you go phones, so they also had to keep minutes on them. The school had rules about having them in class, if they got caught with it then it was taken and had to have a parent come to the school to claim it, they got 2 chances with that. If it got taken again, they wouldn't get it back until the end of the year. Some parents got upset about this for various reasons, but if one of my kids got their phone taken then they were just gonna have to deal with being without it and I made sure they knew that, because I didn't think the conversations they had with their friends weren't important besides they seen them just about everyday.
So under certain circumstances, a child may need a phone for security purposes with age differences varying, but 5 years old is definitely not necessary. Kids these days just want a cell to keep in contact with their friends, they seem to worry more about than their safety.

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Yeah internet access and contract is a bit of a p*** take really. Even I don't have internet access or a contract phone now! I just think it's useful for emergencies like I said. I live in a flat which has a shop below and I very often hear kids (aged 10+) on there phones outside, and the swearing!! Oh my god!! But that's a completely different rant. I think time has changed like Creativemind said, it's just a shame though Happy

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my neice had a phone at 6, for emergencies, she just had to dial one to reach her mom, 2 for police, etc

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I didn't get a cell until I was eighteen and could pay for it. But believe me, there were plenty of times where one could have been useful. I go to a lot of concerts and shows, and so naturally the group will get seperated. I was even choked out during MCR and had to sit in the back of an ambulance with no cell phone to tell my friends where I was, etc.

I think the right age would be 14, or whenever you enter high school.

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I think it doesn't much matter what age a child should be. It's more of a maturity level. If your child is old enough to know that a phone is not a toy, it's not cheap, you can't call whoever you want or download expensive ring tones, or text during class...etc then maybe they're old enough to have a phone for it's intended purpose. (To make sure they're safe).

I didn't get one until I paid for it myself. I did have an old one that didn't work and my friends and I would "chat" on it so people would think we were cool and had a phone. But then again, this was before EVERYone and their brother had a cell and payphones were everywhere. This is sad...but I'm only 27 and I remember those days. lol.

Oh, and to add to the maturity thing. I can't stand to see kids out with friends or family and constantly texting while people are actually talking to them. It's so unbelievably rude.

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Five years old?! You've gotta be kidding me!! Are you sure it's not a toy cellphone? I'd say about 15/16 years old is an appropriate age for gifting a cellphone (but that's just my opinion).

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