At what age is reasonable to give a child a cell phone?At what age is reasonable to give a child a cell phone?

Expert Answers
megan-bright eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think by Middle School, (which is 6th grade--approximately ages 11- 12 here), is a good age to give a child a cell phone. Even at that age, it should still be restricted and they should have some guidelines. I wouldn't buy the fanciest thing out there with all types of advanced and adult-like features. A basic phone should do. They still need appropriate limits and boundaries. I think with all the technology and having the world at their finger tips via the internet, these important boundaries are stripped way too early these days.

The reason why I say entering middle school is a good age for a basic, still restricted cell phone is because children are transitioning into a more adult world and will have more responsibilities. They need to start developing more independence. Also, the primary reason to give a young teen or a child who is almost a teen a cell phone is for safety reasons.

Even as an adult, I feel safer when I have my cell phone with me. I'm sure that technically I'm not safer, but I sure feel that way. If a child is about to really start a social life and be away from home a little more, I would feel more secure as a parent if I could reach them at all times, and they could reach me.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This depends so much on the maturity of the child and the needs of the family.  My oldest child is 8 and does not have a cell phone.  I anticipate, though, that we would get her one probably when she starts middle school -- she'll be 11 at that point.

The reason for this is that, at that age, kids start to do more things on their own.  There are more times when I might need them to be able to get in touch with me.  If she has a cell phone then, she'll be able to call me if she has to stay after school to do something or if she wants to go to a friend's house on the way home from school.

I also think that giving her a phone at around 10 or 11 will be a good way to start having her learn about being responsible for herself.  It would help her learn to ration how much she uses things so as not to waste money, for example.

So, this depends on the family (my brother is divorced and his 9 year old has had a phone for a couple years so as to be able to more easily stay in touch with the non-custodial parent), but I think 10 or 11 is probably a good age.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We have good technology now to limit call phone usage.  I do agree that it depends on the age of the child, but as a parent I would feel much safer if my child had a phone, but I could limit the usage so that only some numbers can be called and only some texts can be sent, or no texts.  That would save money and protect my child.

lumahey | Student

it depends on the child and if he needs it or not. i think  should get him a cell phone and make him "recieve" calls only and he can take it and use it only f the parents need to reach him and he must not take it to school and so on. and after he proves that he is worth that cell phone and it isn't used in a wrong way and it is really neccessory for him to have it then he should :D