Cell phones are a great way to stay in touch anytime, anywhere. Kids are getting cell phones much younger these days, and parents are left to wonder: when should I get a phone for my child?

But at what age should your child get a cell phone? Is your child old enough to have a cell phone?

Most teens – 85% of those aged 14 to 17 – have cell phones. So do 69% of 11-14 year olds, and 31% of kids aged 8-10, according to a 2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

My 12-year-old had been asking for a cell phone since he was 11. Many of his classmates in Grade 6 last year had one, but I thought he was still too young to have one.

My son then asked for a phone for his 12th birthday… I still wasn’t sure if the time was right. I thought we would wait until he was closer to 13 to get one.

The convenience of your tween or teen having a cell phone is pretty obvious. You can call or text your kid to find out where he is and what he’s doing and inform him of your own plans. It can make you feel safer just knowing where your kids are. And in an emergency, a cell phone can be crucial if your child needs to reach you – or vice versa.

For your child, it’s also convenient for them to be able to reach you anytime. If your child is involved in sports, and you’re dropping him off at practices, or if your child is meeting with friends for group projects, a cell phone can be a convenient way to stay in touch.

When do you know if your child is ready?

I don’t think there is a specific age that a child is ready to have a cell phone, but more about the child’s maturity and responsibility. Is child is showing signs of being responsible and independent?

With my own tween, I looked for the developmental signs that he was ready.

I noticed that he takes care of his belongings, and is neat and organized. He puts his backpack and lunch bag where they’re supposed to go, and packs his own lunch. He doesn’t need reminding to shower, brush his teeth and wash his face. He’ll take care of his hockey equipment on his own.

He keeps his school work organized, and does his homework without me having to remind him. If I ask him to call me when he gets to his friend’s house, he will remember and call me. When he goes outside to hang out with his friends, he’ll come back inside when he’s supposed to.

In general, I felt like he was responsible enough to get a phone at 12 and a half. So he received one for Christmas, thanks to Rogers‘ great promotion – a Samsung Galaxy S7. We have a Share Everything Plan so that my husband and I and now my son, share data under the same plan. But in order to make sure my son doesn’t go over his usage, I’m able to manage his account through the MyRogers app. This gives me an added layer of comfort.

Just look at his face when we received it, and then we went to Rogers to activate it. This snap is of him choosing his own phone number.

when should my child get a phone

When Should I Get a Phone for My Child

When did you or when will you get a cell phone for your child?


When Should I Get a Phone for My Child?


Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

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