At what age do kids need a cell phone? Most would agree that the answer depends on each kid’s degree of extra-curricular activities. A recent survey found that 75% of children between the ages of 12 and 17 have a cell phone.
These days, having a mobile device is usually necessary for safety when kids are away from their parents, as sometimes it can be difficult to find a pay phone that works in a lot of places.
Sadly, cell phones are used primarily for almost everything except talking. Cell phones are used as portable music/video libraries, digital cameras, as video game consoles, for text messaging, and as a way to connect to the internet. When a child isn’t given boundaries and responsibilities when receiving a mobile phone, they can get too caught up in their device, and may stop worrying about things like learning in school or talking to someone face to face.
Cell phone usage among teens has become so rampant, nearly all of them feel entitled to have their parents buy a phone for them and put them on a plan. It’s an uneasy feeling handing something over to a child which could potentially enable more problems than the devices were intended to help.
Typically, kids want a cell phone mostly because “everyone else” has them. Cell phones now do much more than allow for voice communication, and some argue that some of these features may not be good for a child’s social development. If problem areas are not addressed and supervised, a child could face many different dangers which may affect their mental, emotional, or physical well being, regardless of age.
Another concern is when the child will be using the device, and what they’re using it for. A lot of kids use their phones at school, but many feel that children should have no need for cell phones at school. They argue that they can be distracted by text messaging, gaming, inappropriate websites, or tempted to use the devices to cheat on tests and eventually cheat themselves out of an education.
Additionally, children with cell phones are more prone to stay up late at night while staying connected with “friends” or who knows what kind of creepers are contacting kids via their cell phones. When getting your child a cell phone, make some rules about how and when they can use the phone. Make sure that you have a plan for making sure the rules are followed, and know exactly what actions to take once rules have been broken.
Also, before purchasing a cell phone for a child, there should be an idea of what kind of phone will be appropriate. Determine if the child is responsible enough to refrain from overuse of data, voice, or text messages and also make sure the plan that is picked out can reasonably meet expectations.
Keep an open relationship with your children and make sure that they will be raised to use their cell phone considerately and responsibly before they reach the adult world. Hopefully you will be able to teach them about things to look out for early on before they have to learn the hard way.