The use of cell phones


What is the youngest age is that a child should have their own personal cell phone? A local tv station said that a second-grader called 911 while walking to school, just to see how long it took the police to respond to her call. The police were irratated, needless to say. I believe cell phones are overused, especially by children, that shouldn’t have them in the first place. What do you think?


I can’t give you an age, but I would say that my kids would be allowed a cell phone once they are doing after-school sports and such. But it would be a programmed cell phone and nothing more. Pre-programmed to only dial 911, Mom, Dad, Granny, Poppa, or other family members.


In this house, when he can afford it on his own. I was involved in numerous activities as a kid, and we all lived without me having a phone.

My dh & I have already figured out that our kid(s) will be the oddball(s) in life. They’re not getting a phone, or their own car, etc.


Even though I work for Sprint and would love to see my stock go up, I hate the thought of my kids having their own cel phone. I plan to have 2 extra ones at home, which are programmed to ONLY call us or 911. As each of them need a phone (after school activities, trips, etc), they can take it with them, but it’s not ‘theirs’.


Yeah - good point. Just a couple of those programmed phones to share, not “own”. And my “other family members” does not include cousins. Just adults who can be reached in an emergency…

~Jenn~ if I lived where I used to live, I’d totally agree. But city life scares me and I just don’t think I’ll ever get used to it! :slight_smile: I’d like the kids to at least have the security of being able to call when needed.

That said, cell phones weren’t around when I was a kid like they are nowadays, and I will admit even in my tiny town, a cell phone would have been great for me to use after cheerleading practice was over in the evenings. I almost died (literally) one winter trying to walk home in a blizzard because my ride left without me and the school was locked.


Well lets see…my eldest got a cellphone when he entered 9th grade…and then it was and still is only for emergencies.
He leaves the house at 620am and does not return till 430-530pm…and when he is playing a sport he comes home later than that. …he is also commuting 45minutes to school each way (via the train) so I figured that for his saftey he really needed a cellphone…you never know what could happen…and since the area(s) his school is in the do not have PAY PHONES…so if their is an emergency without a cellphone he cant get a hold of anybody (not good).


When our older 2 started driving, they got tracfones. Now they can afford their own phones, so 15 yr old dd uses the tracfone. We don’t keep many minutes on it, so she can’t use it for social calls :slight_smile: --KCT


Well, my children are still young (under age 5), so I’m not sure what the “norm” will be when they reach middle or high school…

But, as a matter of safety, I have no problem giving a middle school or high school aged child a cell phone (with limited calling features for family and emergencies only)… especially when they get involved in after school activities…


My kids are 6 and 8 and I am sorry that are still to young to have cell phones. I don’t care that the others kids their age have phones but it opens doors to things that they are still to young to know about. And it is so irratating when young kids have cell phones because of the thing called MIXIT where by young kids and sms each other and they don’t even know who they are talking to. And also they become such anti-social kids because they are busy with the phone on one had and a ipod’s on the other hand. No my kids will be kids and I have explained to them the reason why they will not be getting phone.


I’m against them. My children will not have cell phones.


I wanted to comment on the reasons many are saying “no” to cell phones… the text messaging and chatting with friends and anti-social behavior…
I totally agree.

I just wanted to let you know there ARE ways to lock phones to be only used for emergencies… having them programed to dial limited phone numbers, etc (like mom, dad, grandparents, and 911 ONLY)… and you can lock phones from text messaging and such… just totally FYI… because I agree with you on the things you mentioned!


IMO, it depends on what kinds of activities they are involved in, and perhaps on your family circumstances and community. In our case, we obtained cell phones for our kids early during high school as I remember, or late middle school.

In our community at the time, the area schools had strict rules prohibiting cell use at school during regular school hours, but it seemed that a majority of students carried a cell in their backpack every day, turned off during the school day.

I understand that they can be abused, but in my circumstances the safety of being able to reach them at any time and vice versa was enough justification. A typical example was a call home in the afternoon to ask permission to stay after school for some event. Or a call home when a meeting or event is ending to coordinate a pick-up time. Or even a call when they were somewhere in a large mall/museum/park and I needed to find them. My youngest is now in college, but has a cell we gave her and calls home several times a week for conversation & advise.

A second-grader should never be far enough from adult supervision that he would have a need for a cell.

The only kind of abuse that ever became a concern in my family is long late night phone calls long after “bedtime” from friends of the opposite gender. Other than that, the only issues of improper phone use I can recall involved regular land-line phones, not cells.

A parent knows thier own children best, but in my particular case I do not regret obtaining cell phones at the time we did.


I would allow a cell phone like this for children who are involved in after school activities:

But they will not have their own regular cell phone until they go to college and even then, I would insist on some sort of prepaid phone like Tracfone so that the bills are manageable. We use tracfones right now for that reason, there’s no surprise when the bill comes because we buy the minutes up front.

I do think they can provide a safety net of sorts, like the girl who was kidnapped and contacted her mom via a cell phone and she was rescued. Certainly those kinds of situations are rare, but I’ve been stuck places and had car trouble (no breaks eek!) when I was a teen where a cell phone would have been nice. It’s truly hard to find payphones anymore, esp one that works and then to have the change for the silly things! So I can see a case being made for cell phones for children/teens, but with strict guidelines and control.

Some more info:



My husband and I both work for a cell phone company, and we aren’t going to let our kids have cell phones. If they eventually can afford a phone on their own, then they can get it themselves…we both see too many astronomical bills due to all the texting and everything that teens do, and the parents spending hundreds of dollars a month on it–not what we want. I think it is important to know how to respond in an emergency without a cell phone, I never had one until I went to college and paid for it myself, and there were plenty of times I spent broken down on the side of the road and I had to hike myself to get to someone’s house and ask to use their phone. It worked fine, and I was always able to get somewhere safe. I think cell phones have really hurt the quality of a lot of peoples communication, they would rather chat and text and talk on the phone then spend time together in person :frowning: We use our cell phone as a house phone, because all our family is long distance and we get a very cheap plan through work, but we never bring our phone out of the house with us, except on long driving trips–we get free voicemail for reason :slight_smile:


That is really scary…I for one would not want my kids standed somewhere and have to knock on someones door…maybe if we lived in the “Sticks” and everyone knew everybody but not here in the Tri-State area…that is just asking for trouble, IMHO!


The area I lived in didn’t have cell phone service anyways, so I had no other choice. I had to learn how to handle the situations without the convenience of a cell phone, which I think left me much better prepared to protect myself when I went to college. If you don’t live in a rural area, I’m sure there are well lit businesses or somewhere public the child could go to for assistance. Even where “everybody knew everybody” I never knew anyone who helped me, and wasn’t really in familiar neighborhoods when I needed assistance. I made sure to only ask for help if the person who answered the door was an older lady or mother, and I stayed on their porch always to make the call from a cordless phone. But just being able to call didn’t mean my parents were home. (This is not to say they were absent parents–they were usually at work). I firmly believe kids should be able to handle a situation, such as a flat tire or car break down, on their own, if they are lucky enough to have a cell phone or if they aren’t. If they are too young to handle the situation, then a responsible adult should be with them or be nearby. For instance, if the child has to travel everyday, make sure they know safe places along the way and have a neighbor or acquaintance in that area who can be a contact. A plan is necessary, not a cell phone. Just my opinion from my own experience growing up without a cell phone (which was not affordable and wouldn’t have been much use in my region of the country) -there’s a way to make it work and make it safe.


Hmm…lets see.
My child does travel everyday from home to school via the trains.
There have been times when he has missed his train and has had to contact me so I know that he is on a later train etc. Once again payphones are few and far between and no store is going to let you use their phone to call mommy and daddy…well not in NYC or NJ if you missed your train and are not bleeding.
As to a plan …yup we have one…he has a cellphone…and he knows that in an emergency he can call me or his grandma or dad or the police and we can help him out etc.

I am glad that you felt safe enough to knock on strangers doors…I do not encourage this behaviour with my kids I actaully deter it…especially since we live in a fairly large town and there are just too many whackos out there.


Children under fourteen years old having cell phones only proves that most people have more money than they can sensibly manage and they waste it on giving a child something that really is unnecessary. Geeze Louise, children didn’t have cell phones until just a few years ago when the cost went down and made them appear affordable. Before that time, children had the same number of activities in the same sorts of locations at the same times during the day and took buses and trains. Somehow, we all survived that with a little planning beforehand. I think it’s unfortunate that parents give their children cell phones simply to keep their children on trend. The would be far better off putting that money in their child’s college savings account. Or in their own retirement fund. Parents are way too eager to spend money trying to keep their children happy vis a vis their peers.


I agree that there are ways to get help without a cell phone in many areas…but I can just imagine driving through a large city at night and breaking down in an unfamiliar, crime-ridden neighborhood with no nearby reputable businesses which would call for help. Remember that payphones are being removed all over the US because nobody uses them anymore.

Anyway, how do you expect kids (or anyone else, for that matter) to handle a car breakdown “on their own”? Fix the car with their own bare hands?


I was skimming over this thread and the first thing that popped into my head was “prepaid minutes”. Buy enough minutes to use on a month to month basis and turn off unnecessary features on the phone, like text messaging, internet, etc. I understand the comfort of having a child carry a phone so that you can stay in touch with them and so that they can call if there is a problem and/or emergency. :slight_smile:

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