QOTD: Does Your Child Have a Cell Phone? Why?

Nowadays, most teenagers have cell phones. However, the age at which kids start to want phones seems to be falling at an alarming rate. A friend of mine recently told me his 8-year-old can't wait to get a phone and while he isn't quite at the begging and reasoning stage, he's definitely eager to get his hands on one because several of his friends have cell phones already.

Eight is extremely young to be asking for a cell phone but it's not at all unusual for 10-, 11- and 12-year-olds to have phones. The New York Times cites a recent study that says 58 percent of 12-year-olds now have a cell phone. Safety appears to be the biggest reason for parents purchasing cell phones for kids. Whether it's camping trips with the Girl or Boy Scouts, birthday parties at bowling alleys or walking home from school with their friends, parents want to know their children can contact them if there's an emergency.

That said, there are always disagreements among parents about the right age to buy a child a phone. Some prefer to to give their son or daughter a 'house' or communal cell phone when they go away on trips. This solves the safety issues without actually having to buy them a phone. Others like the idea of the Firefly phone, a handset that can only call a handful of numbers (such as Mom, Dad, and Home).

Today's Question of the Day is: How old was your child when you bought him or her a cell phone and what made you buy it? If you don't have children, what age do you think is the right age?

  • dameon51
    Once my kids reach the age where they are going out with friends without parental supervision I would like them to have a phone. For me that was an very young age, but I know the times are changing. Maybe 9 or 10 years old now?
  • Tyellock
    I don't have any kids myself, but I teach teens, cell phones are the biggest distraction, even walking they are not paying attention to where they are going or what they are doing

    When I was growing up, if I wanted something, I had to earn the money myself to buy it

    I think that's the right age for anyone to get a cell phone, when they are responsible enough to get it themselves.
  • drudometkin
    Got one for my daughter when she was 8. Gave her my wifes old LG chocolate and added $9.99/mo to the bill. Well worth the money.
  • Onus
    I don't have kids, but if I did, I agree with dameon51 that it would not be before the child would be away unsupervised, and it would be a very heavily restricted phone, only able to call limited numbers; anything more is not necessary for a CHILD, and I don't want any surprises on a monthly bill.
  • jAckyra
    No kids yet, but if/when I do, I will fully support their having a cell phone as early as 'possible'. And by 'possible' I mean, whenever they can pay for it themselves.
  • HibyPrime
    I'm of the camp that it's not a bad thing for a 12-13 year old to have a cellphone, provided you set 'budget' limits - meaning you can call 5 minutes during the day and 30 mins at night, and a limit of 5-10 texts a day or whatever.

    A cellphone for a kid is only bad if the parents don't be parents, just like everything else.
  • scione
    Hm, I can say that I am 15 and I dont have a cellphone, although all of my friends do. It is a major inconvenience for me as im usually always out, lol. Its to bad that my parents wouldnt agree to buy me a phone until I can pay the bill myself.
  • pozaks
    My 8 year old wants a phone, but he's not getting one yet. He can't afford it, and he's not ready. Most of his friends have one though, and most of those are pre-paid my-first-phone type deals.

    Also the childless posters, who are letting everyone know what they think they would do, are annoying as hell. Have some kids, raise them, then let us know what decisions you made. Your speculative parenting advice is useless.
  • masterasia
    Cell phones cause brain tumors.
  • totheshed
    I think they should be able to have a cell phone when they are able to use one. I had a phone in 4th grade and I paid for it every month. My sibling went to another school so it was a safety issue for my parents. If I had kids I would get them a phone at the age they asked for one.