Tuesday, August 23, 2016

When is your Child Ready for a Cell Phone?

I am a member of the U. S. Cellular Blogger Brigade, and this is a sponsored post.  All opinions, as always, are my own.

Start the conversation on appropriate cell phone usage with this free parent – child agreementUse it to discuss what you deem acceptable while using a cell phone.

A couple months ago I mentioned that Emma came home from Vacation Bible School requesting the Snapchat app – OK it was totally my fault for showing her the different lenses, so when her friends mentioned that they used Snapchat (what, you are 8?!), she immediately thought she should use it as well. 


Luckily that train of thought changed a bit.  However, now she is requesting a cell phone daily.  Not just a cell phone, but an iPhone 6s like what I have.  Did I mention she is 8?

I feel a little better when I see research from a new U.S. Cellular poll that says the average age of children receiving cell phones is 11 – but just five years ago the age was 14.  I’m under the impression that soon all 8 year olds will be walking around with a smart phone!

Although, I know that I will have to make some adjustments to my data plan if that is the case.  I can just picture all the data that my daughter will end up using – especially considering her prime reasons for wanting a cell phone are text messages and FaceTime.  She wants the opportunity to FaceTime with her friends when she can’t get together with them for play dates.  It is kind of ingenious, and something I used to do when I was growing up.  I would go home and immediately get on the phone with my best friend, and we would sit and watch TV together…on the phone.  Weird, I know.  This was pre-internet by the way.

I’m happy that U.S. Cellular has such amazing coverage and awesome data plans, it makes finding the right plan for my family easy.

If your child is getting their first phone for going back to school this year, there are some tips that can help the transition go smoothly.  Making sure your child knows that having a cell phone is not just a fun thing, it is a privilege, and with that privilege come responsibilities. 

72% of parents surveyed say that they have rules about cell phone usage.

Make sure that everyone knows the rules and guidelines.  While it is an amazing tool that can help kids by using educational apps, keeping in touch with parents, as well as talking to their friends, having the rules in place before they start using the cell phone will be a help to everyone involved.  You can use the parent-child agreement I mentioned above to really flesh out what you expect as a parent, and what the child can expect if they want to use the cell phone.

If you have teens that will be driving and using a cell phone (hopefully not at the same time!), U.S. Cellular offers an amazing Vehicle Monitoring System that can be installed in your teen’s car and monitored by an app on your 4G LTE iPhone 6.  You can track the location of the vehicle as well as decipher engine codes and any mechanical issues.

My husband and I are still on the fence about what to do with our old iPhones.  But, I can definitely see that my kids are wearing us down as the months go on.  I am happy to know that I have options as far as the data plans go, and unlimited calling at least makes me feel a little better about allowing my kids to have a cell phone.  Now, if I could guarantee they wouldn’t lose it…


When did you first get a cell phone?  What age do you think is appropriate for your child to first get one?

15 comments:

  1. Mine is two right now, which means by the time he is eight, all the kids will have phones! As a former teacher, it drove me crazy that my junior high kids all had phones, but I can see how as a parent it will be helpful.

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  2. I was 14 when I got a cell phone, my little sister was 10! I believe that if kids are walking home from school bus stops alone or have after school activities, they should have a generic cell phone (not a smart phone!) to be able to contact their parents!!

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  3. I gave my daughter her first cell when she started driving. Until then I didn't have much problem knowing where she was. Once she had a car, though, that became a whole different story!

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  4. I don't have kids, but I was about 15-16 before getting a twice handed down brick of a phone... Although phones are useful to parents I think 11 is still a bit young for a smart phone. Potentially a phone without as many functions would be better?

    Kez | acaciasdreams.com

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  5. I didn't get a cell phone until I get my first car at 16. My siblings each had one by the time they were 13. The times changed in just a few years I guess! I don't plan to get my son one until at least 12, and only then if he's in after school activities and may need one for emergencies.

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  6. I don't think kids need one more electronic gadget! HA. We've decided 13 was a good age and it will still be severely restricted

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  7. We got our oldest son a cell phone when he went into high school. Our youngest, who is 5 years younger, got one much earlier. You are right all 8 year olds will soon be walking around with them. I am not sure which age is appropriate but I guess it would depend on the child. I am glad my boys are older and now purchase their own cell phones and service. LOL! Good luck.

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  8. My kids like to play on my phone but I won't be getting them one for a few more years. Mine are 8 too. Although I don't have a problem with leaving a phone with them in certain situations...like soccer practice for just in case their carpool forgets to pick them up. :-)

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  9. We really can't deny, this is the age of technology and it's going to be a huge part of kids' childhood! I can't blame you for feeling the pressure. I'm sure my youngest will beg for a phone in a few years time!

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  10. Technology is a fabulous asset to all of us and, in my opinion, slower is better, when introducing technology, like cell phones, to kids.

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  11. NEVER!! Just kidding...but really, when they start driving is my timing. The only thing a phone provides before that, unless it's a special programmed kids one is access to things they don't need to be getting into.

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  12. What an interesting post. I am a junior high teacher and I definitely feel that a 12 year old does not NEED an iPhone or even a smart phone for that matter. A flip phone, sure.

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  13. My kids both have them. I think they were 11 when they got them. They can definitely get out of control if you don't monitor them. It so convenient for them to have them but I also hate it!

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  14. I have a 1 and 3 year old so I have a little time to determine when they will get cellphones. It seems like second grade kids have iphones. The world we live in? I have a lot of mixed feelings!

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  15. This is an awesome guide! I think that a flip phone is a great starter, while smartphones should be reserved for 8th-12th grade :)

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