Advertisement

HomeHealth & BehaviorSocial Skills

When to get your child a cell phone

Page 2 of 2

By Marian Wilde , GreatSchools Staff

The issue of marketing to kids

In July of 2005, Commercial Alert, a group associated with Ralph Nader, asked Congress to start regulating the marketing of cell phones to children. Cofounder Gary Ruskin describes Commercial Alert as "a nonprofit formed to protect children and communities from commercialization."

Commercial Alert is concerned that:

  • Kiddie cell phones will enable child predators to contact children without their parents' knowledge
  • Parents will not be able to control the bills incurred by their children
  • The issue of whether brain and ear tumors are caused by cell phones is still unresolved
  • Children will be targeted by advertisers through text messaging, "adver-games" and the usual TV, radio and print advertising

"We do a lot of work trying to stop marketing to children in schools," says Ruskin. "We've been watching as the cell phone industry has targeted our nation's kids. They obviously see our kids as their next cash cow."

Some hard numbers

Susan Beacham, CEO and co-founder of Money Savvy Generation, researched some of the kiddie phones. "When you sign up for TicTalk," she notes, "you have to buy 100 minutes of air time for $25. That's 25 cents a minute." The actual price of the phone is another factor to keep in mind. "The TicTalk is $99," says Beacham.

Beacham suggests, "It's cheaper to just add a line to your own cell phone plan. It doesn't have parental controls on it, but it does through your own parental control when you get the bill. On the days when your child went nuts, she's either grounded or her allowance is garnished. And, by the way, since you're talking to someone who tries to empower kids with how to manage their own money, these kids should be paying for this with their own money. Now a 6-year-old is not going to be able to pay for this and that's why I'm so against it. Because it is an adult expense. It's an expense that a 13-year-old should be taking out of their allowance."

Child psychology

Eileen Gallo, a psychotherapist specializing in issues of family and money, believes parents are buying their children cell phones for the sense of security it brings. "A lot of parents are willing to pay for the peace of mind," she says. "How far they want to go is really up to them. I think there has to be limits though and it's up to the parents to set the limits. They could do a pre-paid cell phone plan. They could have limits on the number of minutes the child can talk."

Gallo illustrates with an example: "I have a friend whose daughter has a cell phone. She and her boyfriend were text-messaging, and the bill was $700. The girl's parents were aghast. They created all kinds of jobs for her so she could pay it off. It took her a long time to pay it off. And they disabled the text-messaging options. So that's where the limits come in. Parents need to educate themselves and sit down with the child. They need to say, 'This is for you and the primary reason is to stay in touch, for our peace of mind as parents. This is the way it should be used.' "

A helpful duggestion

One way to test if a younger child is responsible enough to have a cell phone is to give her a toy cell phone to carry around for one semester. If she doesn't lose the toy phone, she's ready to keep track of a real cell phone.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

07/9/2012:
"Hi I am 11 and a ton of kids in my class hav them but my mom and my dad won't let me get 1 help me plz "
06/4/2012:
"Thank you, This site is very informative. Keep up the good work. God bless you all !! "
04/3/2012:
"I think you should provide a cellphone to your child at the age of 15 +. But you must install StealthGenie into your kid’s cellphone to track the activities. "
03/26/2012:
"My 11 year old daughter has been bugging me for several years for a cell phone. She isn't very mature and her school has a policy of no cell phones allowed unless they are left in a locker and turned off at all times. I know she won't follow this and I will be called to the school come get the phone. The only reason I want her to have a phone is in case of emergency, and it won't help her much if it's stuck in her locker when she needs it. We did get her a laptop this year for school work, but she ends up using it to play games instead of homework. "
03/19/2012:
"I personally think that they should ne old enought to pay for any overages. My boyfriend just gave both his 8 & 9 year old girls phones. After asking me what I thought, first off they are too young and second the barley remember their chores and homework. I already told him not to come to me to complain because I was against it in the first place. "
03/9/2012:
"i have a cell phone i got mine when i was 10 now im 12 and i got an android "
03/7/2012:
"I think these children shouldn't even have a kiddie cellpone "
03/6/2012:
"my mom won't give me a phone untill 16 and says its the right age "
02/28/2012:
"If affordability is a problem, a BlackBerry Playbook could be a solution. It isn't a cell phone so there are no monthly fees. It has a great app that allows you to video conference - way better imagining than skype - if your child can access wi-fi. Check and find out if his or her school has it before you purchase. Also, you will need one yourself at home. But they cost from $200 to $300 and... there will be no additional charges. Also, it can do many other amazing things, many of them education related. eg. record lectures, take notes, calculate. "
02/28/2012:
"The main con is the relation between exposure to radiation and susceptibility to brain tumors in later life. No child under 18 should have a cell phone. "
02/28/2012:
"Hii ii am a 14 year old girl and my problem iis dat my mom wnt let me hve a phone jst becoz of texting she says alot can happen if im nt careful....an at this moment ii thnk i am the only 1 in my hole school sitting without a phne so i dnt no if it is dat my parents dont trust me or is it becoz they jst dnt wnt me 2 hve a phne i jst wish sumone can gve me some advice about this!!!...an 2 all those mothers that dnt wnt there child 2 text they shuld allow them bcoz trust me your child will hve a bad experiance tke it from sum1 who knows....texting is a small price 2 pay for yor childs happiness....:) SO CAN ANY1 HELP ME WIT MY PROBLEM PLZ PLZ PLZ!!! alexion gone sad "
02/9/2012:
"Okay, my main point here is that your child should definitely have a phone before high school, preferably between 7th and 8th grade, you have to look at it at another perspective, the younger society has evolved socially and to hold back a phone from them actually is a big deal, it can cause problems but it's also a big key in socially developing a child, no kid wants to talk to their forst girlfriend on a home phone! Is that a joke? And by the way you never directly answered the point of this article...just saying "
02/6/2012:
"In my 10 years old daughter's school, she is the only one who does not have a cell phone. Recently, many kids started having newest model of iPhone. My child asked to have a iPhone all the time and I always had to say no. I really don't want to gave my child uncontrolled web access. I also hope that my child can resist the material pressure from her peers. On the other hand, I worry if it hurts my child self esteem because she often does not have a lot things other kids have (we actually can afford all of them). All parents agree kids should not have iPhone, but they all give them to their children. I am looking for opinions and advice. "
02/1/2012:
"Is anyone noticing the horrific spelling, grammar, and punctuation of these kids who are so proficient with their phones? If the purpose of cell phones is communication, they are not improving those skills but eliminating them. I am aghast that children are no longer behaving like children, and instead are becoming imbecilic electronified automotons. "
02/1/2012:
"I am 13 years old now, and this is usually around the time where it is okay to get a smartphone for you children. In New York, many middle schoolers (mostly 8th graders) have smartphones, and now everyone is upgrading to an iPhone from a BlackBerry. Me? I'm commenting from a Droid right now, but it is still not activated, since I still have an EnV 3 (greatest messaging phone from Verizon). I'd say that if your child really wants a smartphone, then let him/her get one, but take the cost of the $30 data plan from their monthly allowance. If you can't get one for him/her, then get them the Microsoft Kin Twom, a feature phone from Verizon Wireless that you can get off of eBay for around $70. "
01/30/2012:
"I am in 7th grade and my parants have a bit of money -- meaning $50 a mth wouldnt b a problrm but they didnt want to get me a cell phone for the longest time. I finally asked themand they told me to present the idea and look at the kind of phone i want and how much ex. They ended up agreeing to me getting a "texter" phone ( a slide keybord) and a $40 plan -- with the catch oh me paying for 2 moths then they pay. about 80% of my friends have phones and out of them 40-50% have blackberrys so its been decided when my contract runs out im gettin one but my friend doesnt have one and hes always complaining and i tell him and its true I WISH I NEVER GOT MY PHONE!!! its cauzed problems that never would have happened other wise. think twice before you think if you REALLY want a cell phone "
01/23/2012:
"I really, really, really hate the idea of kiddie phones. To me, they kill the whole idea of having a phone. When I read this article, I was horrified. If your kid wants to get a phone....don't get them a kiddie phone. "
01/23/2012:
"Great - the article never answered the question. "
01/20/2012:
"okay, im a 14 year old guy. Am i the only one who notices that these freaky stalker moms want to give there teenager a pre programmed phone with only 3 contacts and no texting? common seriously? let us be 14. not 8. its ridiculous how protective these moms get! my first phone was in fifth grade and it was the env 2, an understandable first phone. then i upgraded to the droid 2 in 7th grade. I'm getting ready for an upgrade and I'm considering the i phone 5 or the droid 4. Both phones which haven't debuted yet. I'm hoping that in may, when my upgrade is, the iPhone 5 will have a set debut date. or at least rumors. i honestly dont know if i want another droid because my current droid shuts off and glitches out, and I'm interested in the iPhone, because i have an itouch and a macbook pro, and judging by the extremely great quality of those two devices i can infer that the 5 will be great! but any opinions on a good next phone? should i wait about 4-5 months for the iPhone 5 or! go with the droid 4 that comes out in a couple weeks? or any other phones that i might like?? "
01/18/2012:
"i am thirteen and just got a black iPhone 4s for Christmas i luv it sooooooo much but my dad took it away cuz i had a few bad grades "
01/12/2012:
"I am 13 and I have an HTC Evo and my mom and I have no problems with upgrading my phone every couple years, but i can see where you are coing from.... "
01/12/2012:
"Hey great suggestions but the way we went was to buy cheap (and I mean $9 cheap!) Tracfones. We loaded them with a modest amount of minutes and gave them to our kids. Three months later when they still had them we knew they were ready to look after phones of their own. Had they lost them in the meantime it would have been a minimal loss. "
01/6/2012:
"I am 11 and I am in junior high school, and all my friends have cell phones already. My mom is very reluctant on me getting one, but she says she will probably get me one when I am in eight grade (I'm in 7th grade). She says the reason why she is reluctant is because she thinks I'm going to spend all my time texting and my grades will drop. I don't think money is a problem for us, unless I get the newest iPhone or something. So how do I convince my mom I won't become a cell phone addict?! "
12/14/2011:
"my mother wont get a cell phone because "i'm too young" help "
12/13/2011:
"this is an AWESOME website... it helped me sooo much on my essay!!1 "
12/12/2011:
"This was a nice artical but i personaly think kids should have all the cellphone minits they want "
12/12/2011:
"this is a great website i read this to explain to my kids how and why kids need a phone and what they need it for. keep up the good work!! :) "
11/1/2011:
"thank you so much. im a tween convincing my parents to get me a cell for my bday. you gave me some facts. im writing a report to show my parents why they SHOULD get me a cell. "
10/31/2011:
"My kids got their cell phones in high school. There are phones in every room at the school that they can use if they are staying after school or need something. If they were going to a friends house, I got their home number. They never were dropped off at the mall without me or my husband so I could give them one of ours. debt free living. dave ramsey..check it out. "
10/14/2011:
"I think fifth and the beginning of middle school. The beginning of middle school is a great idea and they will go to more places and "
10/13/2011:
"We use kajeet for our kids. It's a great company that has been around for a long time. They don't advertise much because their primary method of sales is online. They offer free parental controls and you don't have to sign a contract. It's prepaid but they have monthly plans that start at $5. It's a great way to start your child on their 1st phone. You can control everything from who they call and when they can use their phone. They have low priced phone to expensive smart phones. They are always having sales on their units. But if you shop from http://www.kajeet.com/bigdeal you will always get 15% off your purchase. That is a discount link provided by the company that will save you some money. Check out their plans and phones. They have a 30 day guarantee so it pretty much risk free. We love it and so does our son. "
10/3/2011:
"A kiddie phone, nowadays, wouldn't even satisfy a three year old. Sure, it's not about satisfaction, it's about getting a phone that you're comfortable with and is easy to use. For me, a touchscreen phone would be most suitable because I'm used to iPads and iPod Touches. I can't use a keyboard because they're supremely slow. I'd say somewhere between nine and twelve is when most kids nowadays get their phones. I'm 11, and still don't have a phone. For a week-long vacation I took by myself, my parents gave me a five year old Motorola flip phone. It took me about five minutes to text five words. I'm trusted to be out-of-state for a week, but not to at least have a phone? My dad is the only reason I don't have one, so my age is when you should give your child a phone. "
09/26/2011:
"We'll hold off as long as possible for our 5th grader -- certainly not for another year or two. But we use every opportunity to talk to him about how cell phones are useful and when they are just a distraction. We point out all people we see, both adults and kids, doing stupid things with their phones, like riding a bike one handed while trying to talk on their phone (and no helmet.) The adult who's walking across the street staring at their phone, oblivious to their surroundings. And he will get many lectures about what will happen if we ever catch him "sexting!" Truth is, we parent types don't set great examples when it comes to self-control with our own phones, surfing the internet, checking emails, etc. How will kids learn self-control and responsibility if we're perpetually attached to our phones or computers? "
09/22/2011:
"Thank you for the tip. i'll definitely check this before buying my kid a phone. "
09/21/2011:
"I am 11 Years old, I actually bought my own cellphone and I have an iPod that I can text with too. I recently just got in trouble with some things I said in a few text messages to friends, and got my iPod and phone taken away. Well I have my iPod, but I had to delete any apps that can communicate with my friends. So I recommend to any kid wishing for a cellphone/any device that you can text with, to know that your parents can easily see what you have been texting to people! And don't hide stuff from your parents always tell the truth! Another thing you need to know.... Is you don't have to text about everything, you can always pick up your house phone and call a friend for help/and or just to talk. "
09/19/2011:
"Right, parents should carefully choose the kind of cell phone to give to their children. Giving them the wrong one can potentially expose them to dangers. I disagree of giving children a cell phone with a built-in camera and Internet connectivity. I believe that a cell phone with simple and basic features is more appropriate for them. The cell phones that were cited in the article are ideal great for children; although I would also like to include in that list the Just5 Easyphone, which can be very practical for kids as this is also equipped with an emergency response system. "
09/12/2011:
"I got my daughter a cell phone for her 7th birthday. Partly it was because adding a line to my account only costs me an extra $9.99/mo and I get more than 600 more minutes on my plan, which would have cost me an extra $40/mo if I just upped my plan. Her phone, with Verizon, has lots of security features. She can only call or text the people in her contact list (which I control) and she signed a "contract" I made up with a list of rules and expectations and consequences should those be violated. I love being connected to my daughter during the day. She calls me in the time between the end of school and the beginning of after care to tell me about her day. When she was at camp, she sent me lots of pictures of what she was doing. She's learning responsibility and cell phone etiquette (and that having a cell phone is really no big deal) and it costs me very little. I pay extra for family locator, and I get texts every time she arrives or departs school, gymnastics, her dad's, etc... It's great to be so connected and have some security measures in place for a minimal monthly charge. "
09/6/2011:
"i got my 1st phone when i was 12. i am now 13 and the main reason my parents got me a phone was 2 stay in touch. but i also can talk 2 my friends as soon as i get their numbers. "
08/8/2011:
"im a kid and my parents have a great idea to get me a phone that operated on wifi,not the phone networks. then when im old enough to have a phone, they can just activate it and ill have a full working iphone 4 because thats what im getting "
06/24/2011:
"i think a good age for a kid to get a cellphone is when they get into middle school or as a present for they're fifth grade graduation!"
05/20/2011:
"What an interesting discussion here! I just wanted to contribute by saying that I too was torn over when to get my teen her first phone. My husband and I decided to go with Tracfone, because it's pay as you go. Once she uses up her minutes for the month, that's it. So it's teaching her to budget time and not be on the phone too much. Plus it's easy for us because there's no contract or anything, we just refill her minutes once a month or when we think she's ready. Other moms who were torn like me should look into prepaid options for their teens!"
04/29/2011:
"In my case the first thing I needed to consider whenI got my teen son a cellphone was the bill. He was 14 at the time and all his friends had one, so I didn't want him to fell left out, but I wanted him to learn something about money and how to control expenses, so to that end I got him a prepaid cellphone, after researching for the best options he ended up getting a Samsung slide phone with Tracfone, and now he is pretty good at controlling his usage."
02/28/2011:
"The whole point of the cell phone is so that kids and contact other kids (paraents want them so they can contact) so the 'firliy' is the worst idea and kids will not be happy with it at all!"
02/22/2011:
"Cell Phones are not needed, especially if all the other kids have them. When you have a job and will pay for your phone at 16 then we will think about it. There is no need for one until then. "
02/22/2011:
"This is a touhgt one, and I see there is quite a devate in here. I believe the best age or age range to give your kids a cellphone is 10 to 12 years old. Any younger than that and it's just plain silly. Why would a six yo need a cellphone. now around 10 they have a bit more independance and it's a good feeling to know they are conected, in case of emergency and also to socialice with their friends. I got my son, he is 11 a cheap prepaid phone with Tracfone, it's a great starter phone and the prepaid gives me a piece of mind. "
09/20/2010:
"From our local school board policy on cell phones: 'Students may not use, display, or have in operational mode any telecommunications device at school during school hours. While on a school campus, all electronic devices must be in the OFF position during school hours. Any electronic device that rings, beeps, vibrates, or otherwise indicates the receiving of a signal during school hours shall be confiscated.' So, if it's a safe assumption that many or most public schools have similar regulations, what's the point in giving kids cell phones? Aren't we just setting them up for problems? Since the office has landlines which can be used in case of an emergency, I'm not clear on why kids would need cell phones at school anyway. Finally, there's the very valid question of need: Do children really need an instantaneous, continuous communication device? Most adults I know can barely justify the need for a cell phone, so how much can kids truly need one? Cell phones steal the independence and rationale from children. They no longer have to mentally map out what they'll be doing for the remainder of the day or if they'll need something from someone else at some point in the day. Instead, they just wander blindly off into the day, knowing that they're never more than a button-press away from their parents who'll swoop in and rescue them at the last minute. Just because something has become socially-accepted doesn't mean you, as a parent, should cater to it. Lady Gaga is socially-accepted too - gonna let your child wear a meat suit to school?"
08/26/2010:
"i dont think people should wait until their kids are thirteen for them to buy thier kids a cell phone. Kids are usually in tight situations and need there parents help. Maybe they got kidnapped, or lost. Then they wouldnt be able to call their parents or gaurdian"
08/26/2010:
"A cell phone is a luxury not a necessity! Kudo's to all the parents that have not been persuaded to buy one for their kids. As a teacher it is just another annoyance that contstantly disrupt my class. They are not mature enough if they cannot remember to turn it off as my signs says right on above my head each day."
08/19/2010:
"Wow. I remember a time when no one in my school had cell phones. Hell, I didn't get one until I graduated from high school (about a year or two before they because a HUGE deal to the public). Considering how much dirty stuff goes around on the cell phones of teens these days (especially from girls), I personally do not think it is appropriate for a child under the age of 16 to own a phone. And they really do not need it. Plus it's a waste of money when most teens use it to TEXT and not CALL (which is the whole purpose of the phone...) people anyways. Also, to all the little pre-teens/tweens claiming they're more mature than everyone else because they good grades/etc.: If you're going to fuss over the fact that you do not own a cell phone or that your parents will not even consider it until high school, then CLEARLY you're not mature enough to have one of you're own either..."
08/6/2010:
" i think the right age is 11 and older"
07/19/2010:
"i think that these phones are only good for little kids ages 6-10 around there.this would not work on teens"
07/19/2010:
"There is no ACTUAL set time when you should get your kid a cell phone. I'm 14 and I got my first cell phone when I was 13. It all matters on maturity. Not if 'All your friends have one' like some kids say. It just matters if your kid is ready to handle it. I think it's good to get a kid a cell phone because I'm at school from 6am to 4pm and I get out of school at 3pm actually so I wait an hour for my driver. So instead of waiting inside the school which I HATE doing, I sit down at a diner across the street from the school. Sometimes I lose track of time and my driver CALLS me and tells me she's there waiting for me. It's stupid to say that kids should have a cell phone because sometimes it's really needed especially when you go to school. How else are you going to know why your kid is late or how is your kid going to know why you were late. The answer would be just one call away and then you both would know where you guys were and the driver/parent can just come and pick you! up."
07/19/2010:
"I'm 13 years old responsible enough to where I can do basiclly anything I want but I still can't get a cell phone. it's irritating. I have good grades, an all A student, I'm involved in sports and out of school activities. I'm a dancer so I travel a lot, but I still can't convience them! Any Ideas!"
07/19/2010:
"'Kiddie' cellphones are great, but there is no need for them when your child is actually ready for a cellphone. I think you should buy your child's first cellphone,not make them pay for it, but make sure they know how expensive it is and how it requires a lot of responsibility. I’m a teen, and in my opinion, sixth grade the perfect time to get one for your child, because the first year of middle school is when kids become very social and need to communicate to there parents in emergency situations, or when they need to get picked up from someone’s house. I’m an intern for a parenting website that gives advice from a teen’s perspective (Radicalparenting.com). There’s an article on the site about this exact topic called “7 Steps For Parents: Should Your Child Have A Cell Phone�. You might want to look at a different perspective, feel free to check it out: http://www.radicalparenting.com/2008/01/24/7-steps-for-parents-should-your-child-have-a-cell-phone/"
05/6/2010:
"I'm almost 13 and I received a phone several days after I turned 10. My dad's company decided to give them all Blackberry's, so we had an extra phone and we were still under contract. My mom always knows where I am, if there as an emergency, I don't need to run around for a phone to call 911, and it's great for long-distance family and friends. Personally, its all determined on maturity level, for me. I'm younger than most of my classmates but yet I'm extremely mature for my age, and I text this way or just lowercase but with punctuation. "
05/5/2010:
"When should a kid get a phone? When they can pay for it themselves. Simple enough. A cell phone never has been a necessity, anyone who thinks it is just fell for clever marketing. A cell phone is a convenience, but not necessary for survival, especially not for kids."
04/7/2010:
"I am 13 and i do not have a phone. I have been trying and trying. I get straight A's and am very responsible. Anybody have any ideas on how to get one? "
03/22/2010:
"don't give the a cell phone. ever!!"
03/22/2010:
"I think the best age is as soon as they get to middle schools (11), when they are most vulnerable and exposed to a whole slew of new dangers and troubles. I got my girl a NET10 LG300G prepaid cell phone as a 5th grade graduation present. It's not a bid deal phone, but it's all she needs for now. The cost is reasonable at $15 a month for about 150 minutes of use. This is a really all she needs as well, since she mainly uses it to call me or her sister. The plan is very affordable at .10 cents per minute or .3 cents per text. She loves her new cell and takes very good care of it. At almost one year, she still has it in good shape!"
03/8/2010:
"When would you say that kids should be able to text because their parents know they are responsible enough to not say rude things???"
02/12/2010:
"Okay, I am reading alot of posts of this and this is getting ridiculous. It doesen't matter if you can PAY for it, it's what happens once you GET it. I've heard that havving a cell phone under the age of 13-14, you have chances of getting brain cancer. My daughter is assking for a cell phone but my husband says no beacause of those reasons. Now, it's alaso up to the parents; if they don't mind what can happen in the futur, then they may go ahead. But for the security of your children, I would wait untill they are 16(and older!) "
02/3/2010:
"You need to your kid a cellphone if they are responsible and turning 11 or 12."
12/14/2009:
"Getting Good Grades just to get a phone isn't going to help you... I'm in 7th Grade, in Algebra, Taking the SATs And ACTs In January, Straight A's all my life, i'm 13, and I don't have a phone... you have to prove to your parents that your responsible enough. My parents think I can get 1 around 15."
12/1/2009:
"I just want a phone that's all I ask. I'm 13, I make all A's(even excepted into a program where I take an early version of the ACT) And I still don't understand why I can't be rewarded for my tremendous effort. It's clear my parents could afford it: Nice huge house, 2 computers, 2 flat screen HD tvs, and my XBOX 360(I got 2 years ago) but they say they can't handle 1 cell phone(as my dad has the only other cell phone in my family) I asked my friends in each class who had phones and who didn't and it came out that 1 out of every 35 people don't have a cell phone, that's sad... In a world where we're community is linked by phones, I don't have one... This completley and utterly sucks..."
11/30/2009:
"Well here is my thought on the kid cell phone thing I persanly think that kids should not have cell phones until they are like 15 or 16 years old I mean I got my first phone when I was 14 but now I am 16 but whatevar I mean if like if u really think that your kid is responsible enofe to have say am iPhone get them something like an iPod touch first then see how good the treat it (FYI that's what my dad did with me and now I have an iPhone 3GS) but yea the only reasen I would not get a tween or early teen (13-14) a phone is that with this generation of teens they act very Braty and arageny all because they have phones another reasen y I don't think that you g teens should have phones is that if they have a boy or girl friend they might just send them some inapropreit (like jailbait) things if the phone has a camera I'm just sayen but yea "
11/25/2009:
"I want one too, gettin' one this Christmas & I'm 12:)"
11/24/2009:
"so at what age should children get cell phones it doesnt say"
11/23/2009:
"I'm turning 12 yrs old in 3 weeks and I get all A+s and I've NEVER had anything lower. It's so irritating when All of your friends have phones and you don't... I once met a girl who would soon get to be my bestie that asked if she could text me after school... you don't know how embarresing it is to have to say 'I don't have a phone :('! People actually make fun of me after school cuz I don't have one :( My dad says he would consider it in HIGH SCHOOL! HIGH SCHOOL!!! Is he nuts? I really hate the harrasment I endure and think I deserve a phone. PS- I am more mature than 90% of my grade... My parents even say so... But whatever good things I do and no matter how hard I try, I'm never rewarded. It stinks! Anyone else have the same issues?"
09/29/2009:
"On the subject of COST, there really is no reason to break the piggy bank for kids, by that i mean teenagers, to have a phone. Yes, they should have one, but they don't need the bells and whistles. At Walmart I got my 13 yr. old a pre-paid StraighTalk which costs me $45 a month for UNLIMITED text and talk. Her model can be web enabled, but that's up to every parent to decide. In our case, she can have her gab fests, which mainly consists of texting, at a price I can afford. Better yet, the StraighTalk is carried on the Verizon network, which according to Consumer Report Magazine ranks top for least dropped calls coast to coast, so I know I can reach her, for my own sanity, any time I need to."
09/14/2009:
"Personally, I think you should skip out on the Firefly and those kinds of phones, and wait until the parent is ready to give their child a real cell phone. I don't have one yet, but once again, it is going up on my Christmas list. A parent knows when a child is ready for a phone. I think if a kid complains that all the other kids of cell phones and they don't, then they aren't mature enough for a phone. A lot of my friends have, or are getting cell phones in the near future. And from what I've learned, the more I complain, the more immature I sound. So, don't complain. If your parents are in a good mood, maybe casually bring up the subject, but CALMLY. Just remember, the parents are the ones who decide when a kid is mature enough for a phone. So, make sure to act mature, and act like phone or no phone, you're happy."
09/1/2009:
"It depends on how much time your child spends away from you. In elementary school they are still dependant on you, but in middle school they are going to the mall, or over to a friends house. Maybe even to stay after school for a project or game. That is when you need to weigh your options. If they are not good at responsibility please get them a pre-paid phone ($20-$100). Take baby steps. The pre-paid will give them the opportunity to show you they will not lose or damage the phone. The pre-paid will also teach them how to manage their minutes. I suggest the AT&T pre-paid because for $25 you can get unlimited texting for a month, then you can add more money for them to call you. This phone also works great for punish and reward systems. Please do not get your young children a phone with a camera. It is becoming a norm for peers to push each other into taking pics of private parts (which can be done in a bathroom stall), and forwarding them. Discuss this stuff with your chil! dren on what is appropriate behavior. Your children definitely need one when they start driving, but again discuss appropriate behavior regarding driving and talking (or texting and driving- YES they do it). A phone that has a GPS is a really great idea, you can always know where they are at, it is a big safety factor. Kids do not need phones with internet capabilities. They can check their facebook, or email from a computer. Facebook has an option that will allow them to update their status and see everyone elses status without internet hookup, but you will need unlimited texting for this. Bluetooth allows them to share ringtones and pics for free. It is a great application. AT&T also has minimal charges for downloading ringtones which is great for rewarding a clean bedroom or great report card. If any of you parents need any guidance or have questions regarding cell phones and your kids, please feel free to email me. I have raised 2 into adulthood, and have 3 more teens a! nd an elementary age one to go. I have learned alot through tr! ail and error. I will freely share my experiences. P.S. Do not tell your children their phone has insurance. Let them know that you are only buying one phone for the year. (My daughter found out that when she wanted a new phone, she only had to 'accidently' damage her phone to get a newer model that she liked. She knew that I needed her to have one to communicate with her, so she would just drop it in the toilet at school to get a different model. (I fixed this problem, though. Her 3rd phone was a cheap prepaid phone with no camera or bluetooth capabilities. She then had to wait until her birthday for a better one)). "
08/24/2009:
"i think its really important for a younger child to have a phone especially in today's day and age. I heard Virgin has a new low income 10$ for 120min plan that i am heavily considering for my younger son. I need to know more about it though does anyone know the details?"
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT