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What age did your child get a phone?


mommyoffive
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I have not intention of getting any of my kids at this point.  I can see how they are helpful when you start leaving them places, but at this point they don't need them

 

We have kids in our circle that are getting them at 5, 9, 11

 

When did you get them for your kids?

 

When do others around you get them for their kids? 

 

Do you wish you would have waited? 

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Simple dumb phone at age 10 and 12, when they had to take themselves to and from school in an unfamiilar city and 2 y/o was using public transit.

It was very useful and I see no reason to have waited.

It was also useful for the 12 y/o to have a phone back at home because he horse stable was out of town and this made it easier to  coordinate pickup etc.

 

Neither kid ever lost a phone. I see no downsides to kids having a simple phone once they are old enough not to lose it. We do prepaid.

Edited by regentrude
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We got a non-smartphone "kids" phone when the oldest was 11 or 12. They all share it.  Now that the older two are going two different directions, we are looking to get another one (or encourage oldest ds to get his own--he's now working and headed off to college next year)

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We've recently given my 8yo one for her birthday, as she is now allowed to walk herself to swim club, piano lessons etc. in the neighbourhood. That way she can contact us if required. It's a secondhand phone (my sister's old one) and is PAYG with data switched off.

 

Too early to be sure, but it seems to be working ok so far. She only takes it when she needs it, and she's even remembering to charge it!

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When they started middle school, at age 11. It was mainly for my convenience, to send messages about pick up times. They are using the phone as a camera and music player as well. They hardly ever use it as a phone to call anyone other than family.

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We have a kids phone that they can use. It's mostly the 13 year old who needs it as he's the only one who gets dropped off at things regularly. It's an old iphone of mine that we set up with a Tracfone plan. We have Internet access turned off on it. 

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We waited until 14 yo for our oldest. If I had it to do over I might choose a slightly younger age. What ended up happening was he became an obsessive texter (is that a word? Lol) with friends and he just spent to much time on it. I think had we chosen to start a bit younger we could have policed it more efficiently to begin good habits. This time around I think we may get starter phones around 11 or 12 if they are responsible and there is a good reason or it.

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A house dumb phone was used by most of the kids when necessary (waiting after practice, biking around, etc) which was available to them around age 9 or so. We only needed one, because they were mostly together on adventures. My oldest two were late to the smart phone party, 17 and 16 respectively. The others got one at 14, before high school.

Ds3 will get one sooner (he doesn't know) in part because he will likely be traveling alone to tournaments.

 

I have liked getting them the spring/summer before high school. They sort of over-do the phone stuff over the summer and once school starts, it's just a phone again.

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Mine were cuspy.

 

There were still enough pay phones around when dd was your kids' ages that she didn't need one. ds spent a lot of time in groups that changed plans and I spent a lot of time worrying about him, driving around looking for him, staying by the phone in case he called, etc. before I finally gave in and got him a tracfone. I think he was 14.

 

It went downhill fast. I would advise that you stay on the same page as your partner/the child's father. It's very tempting to just say, "Oh good. I'll just let him pay the bill then."

 

My 9 1/2 year old doesn't carry a phone yet, but there are even fewer pay phones around now. You can still find a simple flip phone that does voice calls and SMS, and if it costs a bit of extra money it's well worth it for tweens and young teens.

 

There is also this:

 

https://mykidsconnect.com/index.php?route=kids-gps-tracker/features

 

which might suit your family's needs better than a phone designed for adults and older teenagers.

 

hth

Edited by Guest
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We got them for one kid when she started babysitting about age 12 I think.  It was essential because no one had a landline.  For the other, I think it was when he was away at Scout events a lot and we didn't want him to have to borrow one to get ahold of us, so maybe 12.  (Not that a Scout leader would ever have minded loaning a phone.)  These were very basic dumbphones.  I think they were both 18 or near it when they got smartphones.

 

I think most people do about the same thing we did - got them based on need rather than age.  I suppose some people get them because of peer pressure. 

 

Neither of our kids has ever lost or damaged their phone.   

 

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We got a prepaid phone to leave at home when we cancelled our landline and ds was old enough to be left at home by himself. Then when he was old enough to be left somewhere on his own or go places on his bike, he took that phone with him. This last September, we got a second prepaid phone when I had kids at soccer practice at two different locations. Dd was 8 at the time.

 

We started with just cheap Tracfones. When dh and I paid off our contracts on our smartphones, we unlocked the old ones and transfered them to the exisitng Tracfone numbers. They have limited data/minutes and usually carry over minutes. I like it because it allows me to find the kid should they ever get lost and vice versa, they can find their way by having a map at hand. Ds likes to track his steps with his. Dd1 mostly leaves hers unless she leave the house, but it's also a home phone if the other phones are out of the house.

 

We checked into adding the phones to our AT&T account, but they want a ridiculous amount of money. The Tracfone plan is cheap and worth the money, imo. I don't think it's too early and I have no issue with the kids having a smartphone. We have shut the data off to pretty much everything to save on burning through the minutes/data.

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We got DD a Gizmo from verizon at 7. It's a watch with minimal services. It can call out and receive from 10 programmed numbers. It can do limited texting with any of those 10 who have the app. I can gps locate her. She's 9 now and still using the gizmo. 

 

I'm thinking a real phone somewhere around 12ish. I'm not set on it or anything, just thinking to different levels of independence and when the gizmo will not be enough and/or be embarrassing to her. And also when she can be responsible enough to not set it down. I like that the gizmo is strapped to her wrist so she can't lose it. I say as it is currently completely MIA and I'm going to have to tear the house apart to find it before she goes to STEM camp. :/  

 

 

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Simple dumb phone at age 10 and 12, when they had to take themselves to and from school in an unfamiilar city and 2 y/o was using public transit.

It was very useful and I see no reason to have waited.

It was also useful for the 12 y/o to have a phone back at home because he horse stable was out of town and this made it easier to  coordinate pickup etc.

 

Neither kid ever lost a phone. I see no downsides to kids having a simple phone once they are old enough not to lose it. We do prepaid.

 

And I thought I was a free range parent!

 

DS got his for Christmas when he was 10, in anticipation of coming home to an empty house after camp that summer.

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My don't have one yet, ages 11 and 13.

 

But when they do get one, I can't see it being an issue. In the past I have had them borrow mine and they have no interest in a smart phone, chatting texting, or calling people. I have to give them a reminder lesson on how to use it whenever they borrow it.

 

The only thing they like to do on a smart phone is play the app game, "Clash of Clans".

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When the older two went to high school (14), we got them dumb phones (came free with the plan types).  So, texting, but no data or even WiFi.  Youngest got one too; she was 11 or 12.  Dh also got a dumb phone at that time; I was the only one with a smart phone/data plan because I needed a replacement for my beloved, lamented Palm Pilot (which hadn't needed the internet to do its tricks - but now everything syncs to the cloud instead of directly to my computer  :glare: ).

 

When those died about 2 years later, they all got upgraded to smart phones on a shared data plan (so, 16 and 14).  Except dh still uses one of the ancient dumb phones the kids got back when they went to high school, with a cracked screen.  He refuses to get a new one.  :confused1:

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They had use of a dumb phone starting at around age 14 for the older one and 10 or so for the younger one.  The older one got a smartphone at age 17 and the younger one got one at age 14.

 

The longer you can hold off on getting a smartphone, the better, as far as I'm concerned.

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We haven't had a landline since oldest was born. So we got a cell phone to be shared between the three kids when the oldest was about 10 and starting to venture out by herself. Oldest got my old smartphone when I upgraded last year, so about 14 years old. We just got her a more reliable one (the older one was Freedom Pop and had awful service) since she is starting to drive at age 15. DH and I wanted to see some smart phone use while driving before she gets her license. 

 

We have cancelled the Freedom Pop phone and the younger two (ages 10 & 11) share the dumb phone - so far, they do a lot of the same activities so it's working. 

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The tipping point for us was when:

 

1. DD was talking on the phone regularly and the only person actually making use of the home phone.

2. DD was frequently at neighborhood friends' homes and we would have to walk or drive around looking for which driveway her bike was in to give her a simple message.

 

With DD, that age was 9. We discovered that if we eliminated the land line and got her a phone, we'd break even. So, that's what we did. She wasn't allowed to use data (so could only use apps on wifi) until much later.

 

 

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So far we.ve resisted for dd12.  She is really pushing for it, all of her friends have them now and she feels left out.  I've pointed out to her though that even if we did get her a phone it wouldn't be one that she could be fooling around with her friends with all the time.  That seems to have made it less attractive.

 

There really isn't a great reason for her to get one - there is a phone of one kind or another available in the places she goes like the community center or music lessons, and we have a landline.  And if she is just out and about we tell her when to be home, and what her boundaries are, and she is then on her own time. 

 

Actually that is probably the main reason I don't really want to give her one - I think it's good for kids, if you can manage it, to be really on their own regularly.

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My kids got them at 10 and 13.  That was the age where they were both doing activities outside the house to the extent that we as parents needed a way to get them a message.  My daughter's dance school in particular has a land line but no paid desk person so often during classes no one would answer the phone.  My son is in theater productions that rehearse all over the place and each director has their own policies about being reached during rehearsal and there isn't necessarily a consistent land line. 

 

Anyway, they got smart phones without data so they need wireless to do anything like e-mail or social media.  We have unlimited voice/text for them. 

 

If my kids were homebodies, they wouldn't have had a phone until 16+.  I think the right age is the age where the parent is needing that to communicate with their child.  My kids did tons of activities when they were younger, but they were all more at a place where I could contact someone in the office if I had to or they could use the phone there. 

Edited by WoolySocks
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DS 14 doesn't have or want one.

 

We have a cell as our home phone, and he is free to take it whenever he needs one (I like him to take it when he goes mountain biking alone, for example). He gets himself all around town and doesn't take it with him on a normal basis though. He doesn't want the hassle.

 

I'm not sure when he will actually need his own; we aren't against them at all. If anything, it's one of those things I prefer teens learn how to handle responsibly while living at home where we can help him navigate safely.

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When she was 6 or 7, DD wanted a cell phone, instead of a Birthday party.  We bought her a Firefly, which was supposed to be very easy to use. Not easy...  My wife finally figured out how to program it, and she is probably one of the few people who were able to do that.   We do not regret buying a phone for DD at that age, but we do regret buying the Firefly.   I ended up giving DD my Nokia dumb phone, which she had no problem using and I got another Nokia phone for myself.

 

At that time, my wife and I had plans where the provider sent us invoices every month and we paid them. For DD, we bought a "Prepaid" phone, where we paid upfront, each month,  and she had the minutes and text messages to use, without us risking a huge bill because of an overage.   Now, we are all on Prepaid plans with Virgin Mobile Colombia and saving a ton of money over what we would pay if a provider sent us an invoice each month.

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Our kids got them (some of the kids) when we moved back to the US from Brazil; at that time, the boys were 16, 13 and almost 9. The 16 yr old got a phone, none of the others did, and he got it because he was starting outside activities where we would drop him places and we wanted him to have a way to contact us. 

 

The then-13 yr old got a phone a year or so later...I don't recall if he was 14 or 15....but he got his when the need arose for him to have a means of contact separate from his older brother. His is a hand-me-down, though, and was not a new purchase (and was very minimal to add service to our plan). If I remember correctly, he got his when he had an out of town competition. We actually went, but oldest & youngest stayed with family. We wanted oldest to have his phone on him, vs. middle DS borrowing it (as we'd done previously), so at that time, we added the phone for middle DS. 

 

Youngest received an iPod for Christmas last year (he is 12), still does not have a phone. He does attend outside classes, but his teachers have phones, are friends of mine, and all the kids wear name badges with their emergency contact numbers on the back. His older brother attends the same location and so that's another layer of contact if we needed it. As of yet, he doesn't have any other activities that necessitate him having his own phone. 

 

We *do* still have a house phone, so that if any one of them is home alone, or together but one can't talk, there is means of contacting us whether the cell phones are working or not. At the same time, our home phone service is through our cable company, so if the power goes out, the router goes down and the phones don't work.....so, I'm glad they have the cell phones for back-up. 

 

We won't get youngest a phone until such time as he needs it, and I'm very glad we've done it this way. 

 

Others around me.....that varies so greatly. I've known kids as young as 9 or 10 with fully functioning smart phones....and kids at 18 or 19 who don't have even a "dumb" phone yet.

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At our house it isn't an age-related decision, but one based on distance.  When my dc are away from me, but still depending on me for transportation, I want them to be able to call without having to borrow someone else's phone.  Dc#1 started using one of our old phones at 14, dc#2 at 13, and dc#3 at 11.   

 

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I think my 13 year old got one around age 10.  

 

Middle son got one at age 14 

 

Oldest wouldn't take one until we made him at age 17 when he went to CC.  He doesn't drive and since he relies on us for transportation, he needs to be able to communicate.  He doesn't see the need..... :glare:

 

If they had all been in school, it might have been earlier, but since we HSed, it depended on when they started doing more ind. things and needed to get a hold of us.

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Ds was 10 and the iPhone was quite new at the time. He got a flip phone that was able to take photos (bad ones but that was the technology then). We would not have got him one at that age but for two things.

 

1. We gave up our landline and were just starting to leave him home alone for short periods. I didn't want to leave him without access to a phone.

2. He and I had plans to go to President Obama's first inauguration with another mom and her son. I was concerned about the crowds and us possibly getting separated.

 

I don't remember when he got his first smartphone. I want to say around 14 but it could have been a year earlier or a year later.

 

 

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My daughter got a flip phone at age 12 and a smart phone at 13 or 14 I think (she got my husband's old iPhone 5s). For Christmas she just upgrade to an iPhone 6s, so now my son (he's 13) got his sister's old iPhone 5s (previously my husband's). The deciding factor was that our kids are home by themselves sometimes and we do not have a land line. Also, our carrier is Total Wireless and for 4 phones with 15gb it's only $100... so adding them doesn't put any kind of financial strain on us. We can all stay connected easily now even when we're apart

Edited by mytwomonkeys
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I have not intention of getting any of my kids at this point.  I can see how they are helpful when you start leaving them places, but at this point they don't need them

 

We have kids in our circle that are getting them at 5, 9, 11

 

When did you get them for your kids?

 

When do others around you get them for their kids? 

 

Do you wish you would have waited? 

 

He was 15 when we got him a mobile of his own.  Prior to that, if he was out somewhere, we would lend him one of ours.     Others around us are giving their kids phones in the early teen years.  High school entry age seems to be about the average.   We feel that 15 was the appropriate age for him to have his own phone.  YMMV, of course.

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None of my kids have cellphones. I didn't get one until I was 20 years old, and it didn't hurt me a bit. I hate seeing kids with cell phones, especially 5, 6 year old kids. Why the hell do they need a cell phone? My seven year old wouldn't know how to call anyone on it. I don't plan on getting my daughter a cell phone until she starts driving and it will be a dumb phone.

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Our two oldest have iPhones. They're 11 and 12. They both got them when they were ten. There are days I'm glad they have them and others when I wonder why we did that. I will say it's a wonderful motivator when it comes to everything from chores to schoolwork. I just have to calmly say the phone will be gone for a certain length of time and they're suddenly very cooperative.

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My kids got theirs for their 10th birthdays.  No, I do not regret it.  :)  It is pretty common around here and they are independent enough that having a phone is really useful at times.  Not a "need," but a nice-to-have-why-not.

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We waited until 14 yo for our oldest. If I had it to do over I might choose a slightly younger age. What ended up happening was he became an obsessive texter (is that a word? Lol) with friends and he just spent to much time on it. I think had we chosen to start a bit younger we could have policed it more efficiently to begin good habits. This time around I think we may get starter phones around 11 or 12 if they are responsible and there is a good reason or it.

I have had similar issues and my solution is later not earlier 😂

 

We don't do phones aside from shared trac phones for actual needed communication (rides, babysitting etc) until 16. However they did have iPod touches starting ages 11-13. We have s newly 12 year old and we aren't letting her get anything anytime soon. If it was just for purposes of getting together with friends that would be one thing. But the constant texting and social media consumption is not healthy and we aren't going to go through all that again. She's not happy but resigned.

Edited by busymama7
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Older dd got one for her 15th birthday, younger dd got one for her 14th birthday. For us there is a huge benefit once child is in high school. We didn't realize that for older dd and she had no interest in phones to bug us for one. She got one the birthday before her sophomore year because I wanted her to have one for my convenience. Younger dd is more savvy and bugged us for one earlier--she got one for her birthday before starting high school. Both got slightly older, less expensive iphones.

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