Technology and Parenting

Simone and Nadia love talking on the phone.  So far, their conversations are short. They are way too young for cell phones, but it’s only a matter of time before they start asking for their own. Here is an amusing column about the pros and cons of children having cell phones. So, what do you say? When is it okay for a child to have a cell phone?

  • Claudia

    I got my daughter a phone when she was 9.5 yrs. This was out of necessity, I needed to be able to drop her off at soccer games/practice early or pick her up late while I took my son to his game/practice. I wanted her to be able to call me if she was done before I could get there. If I wasn’t a single parent I don’t think she would have a phone yet.

  • I can’t bear when a teenager non-stop texts with other people sitting right there.

    I’m not real keen on adults doing it, either. Yes. I have seen it done. At my own dinner table. Guests. Unbelievably rude. Maybe I should take a book the next time I go to their house and start reading in the middle of supper.

  • Margaret

    I upgraded from a Blackberry to an iPhone, and gave my then 7 yo the blackberry. I recently upgraded my iPhone, so she (at 8) got my old iPhone. She’s now 9 and I am comforted that since she has the phone with her she can contact me if needed.

  • Maritza

    I am a stepparent to two teenage boys, I obviously have no jurisdiction over the cell ph issue but I do share my thoughts w/hubby on things like this. Both of them do have carry cell ph’s. One is paid by the mom and the other by us. Before the cell ph decision was made I voiced my opinion and completely disagreed w/them having phones. The reasons were the following: grades for one of them was an issue. Secondly, I didn’t think either one of them was responsible enough to take care of the ph it self much less to use it responsibly. Third, I didn’t see the need for them to have one, they both got dropped off and picked up from school and extra curricular activities. My mother in law argued that it would teach them responsibility, I completely disagreed. I have a 2yr old and lucky for me I don’t have that problem yet and I am not sure how much farther technology will go by the time she is a teen. I still feel the same way if it were my daughter asking for a cell ph there would be many factors at play. I could change my mind depending on our situation but I don’t see myself getting a ph for a child that gets picked up and dropped off everywhere, cant keep decent grades, and/or has discipline issues.

  • I plan to get something like the Mego as soon as Betty becomes responsible enough to hold on to one, just b/c I was the latchkey kid of a flighty mom and remember how difficult it was when you were stuck somewhere without a quarter to call someone. I figure it won’t hurt her to always have access to us. However, she won’t get a cell phone until she can pay for one herself, so unless she becomes a child entrepreneur, she’s not getting one until she gets a job in high school. And even then she won’t be allowed to text at the dinner table or during family time. I can’t bear when a teenager non-stop texts with other people sitting right there.

  • Never. I just don’t see why kids need cell phones. Maybe I’m a fuddy duddy.

    • @sing. I felt the same way before I had children.

  • Blanc2

    We got a “Mego” (one of those cell phones with only four buttons, to program in “home,” “Mom,” etc. in grade 3. He used that through grade 5, when we got him an actual phone. Now, in grade 8, he and his friends communicate almost exclusively via text messaging. He sends over a thousand texts a month.

    We gave the “Mego” to our daughter, but this year, fourth grade, we got her an actual phone. She is not nearly as addicted to texting as he is. She rarely uses her phone at all.

    We do like the Verizon tracking feature — lets you track their location so long as they have the phone with them.

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