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When Should I Get a Phone for My Child?

 

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?

Tween/Teen Talk: Freedom Without Limits?

My son turned 9 years old this summer. Next year, he’ll be in the double digits – a tween. I can’t help but think that in just a short time, he is going to be asking about laptops and cell phones.

Just this year, he wanted his own device so he can listen to music and play video games. Soon enough, he’ll be asking to go to the mall and texting with his friends.

I thought parenting would become easier as children get older and it some ways it is – it’s not as physically demanding, and I can actually enjoy a full night’s sleep! But there are many more important decisions to make and challenges to face. I’m already starting to think about setting rules and boundaries with my boys. At the same time, I want my children to explore and have certain freedoms to make their own choices and deal with the consequences, both positive and negative.

The idea of freedom without limits is frightening to me. I’m not a helicopter parent by any means (maybe I was with my first when he was a baby) but I do want to stay connected while giving my kids some freedom. The question is, how much freedom do you give your children?

I imagine my kids holding onto a long rope. I slowly unravel it, not allowing them to travel too far but just enough to test the waters. As soon as they or I feel uncomfortable, I quickly reel the rope back in.

As my boys get older, they’re going to be asking for a cell phone. I’d feel better in knowing that my child can call home anytime from any place, or emergency services when in trouble.

Parents can be in constant touch with their kids if they have a cell phone. It’s convenient to make plans for school pickups, drop-offs, and parents and kids would be able to change plans quickly and have immediate access to each other. I can see this being important as my son gets older, when he is in hockey practice for example or an after-school activity finishes early or runs late.

A cell phone can teach your tween/teen about being responsible – from taking care of the phone to calling mom and dad and being accountable and reachable at all times.  When calling isn’t appropriate, such as during a class, there is always texting – and this is actually another great way to stay connected with your growing child who may communicate more with you this way.

What I like is that even if we’re not ready to give our kids free reign when it comes to cell phones, there are options. There are plan features that limit the number of calls and texts, restrict numbers or not even allow texts.

The most important feature of all? You can’t buy it – communication. Having open doors of communication with your kids is the most important thing and will help build trust. A cell phone may be one of the tools to help.

Commitments are for life, not mobile. WIND offers you the latest mobile products and services that liberate you rather than tie you down. Every member of your family can remain in contact and experience the feeling of true mobile freedom with a WIND Mobile plan. Click here to learn more.

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Disclosure: This post was brought to you by WIND Mobile via Glam Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of WIND Mobile.