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At what age will you get your child a phone?


Meadowlark
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When he starts going places where he is responsible for himself.  For our oldest it was age 11 or 12.  Dummy phone, though he can have a tablet with wifi.  A smart phone upon high school graduation or when he starts driving, whichever comes first.  And we pay, because it is considered a necessity.

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Technically, my nine-year-old has a smartphone, but it's not activated. She only uses it to practice her math facts and listen to music. It's my old Galaxy s4, so it's too old to sell, but it works fine so it seems silly to have it sitting in a drawer or something. She doesn't use any social media or anything, so it's really no different than using the computer.

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My oldest got one pretty young because I had joint custody with her dad and wanted her to be able to reach me when she was at his house without having to ask to use the house phone.  That was 15 years ago so the options were different.

 

My younger kids don't go very many places without one of us.  We don't have a home phone so we have a smartphone that they use if they are home alone, and ds also takes it with him to youth group or any time he may be out on his own and need to reach us.   So, it's not HIS phone but it's a phone he can use.  

 

We will probably get him his own phone when he starts going off places (like dual-enrollment at CC) and his sister is old enough to be home alone.  In that case we will need a phone at home, and a phone for him to carry with him.   That probably won't happen until he's at least 14 and possibly not until he's 16, so we have a few years.

 

We will pay for it since I doubt he'll have a way to make the money himself.   We'll have rules about social media and software that will probably match the rules we have at home for computers. 

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Just out of curiosity, what's your plan?

 

What age?

What kind of phone?

Smartphone or dummy phone?

You pay or they pay?

Rules/restrictions?

 

Strong feelings about it one way or another?

 

Probably when he starts high school, or needs one to contact us for extra-curricular activity pick-up

Maybe 15?

Dummy phone

We pay

Rules/restrictions will depend on problems that arise; however, phone does not go into the bedroom at night.

I have strong feelings about the smartphone, but not a dummy phone.

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DD#1 got one when the rest of the family went out of town & she was left alone for several days. (She had a house sitting job at the time.) I added 30 days of Tracfone service to a never-been-activated phone that a friend gave us as a cast-off. I don't know what type of phone it is other than it is a 'smartphone.' She was 15. I extended the Tracfone service for a year so she could use it at camp & when she's out & about and needs to contact us. I pay for it, but can take it away (restrict usage) at any time - including during the school day. If she runs out of texts, she pays to get more.

 

No idea what the plan is for future kids. Will cross that bridge when we come to it.

 

We have one other cell phone in the house & it is a relatively dumb Tracfone.

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I got my kids smart phones when OIdest was in 8th grade and "absolutely everyone had a phone!" Middle got one at the same time. They were very cheap, not at all fancy phones. But they could text friends. Problem is, Middle was still homeschooling at the time and none of her friends had phones because their parents weren't away from them enough to feel like it was needed.

 

I'm not sure when the best age is, but it's sometime around when a child's circle of friends gets phones and suddenly everyone's talking via text and they can get left out of the fun if they don't have one too. Around middle school I think. They don't need an expensive phone, but just so they can be easily contacted and part of the ongoing conversations and plans and so on. I may not love how much virtual socializing kids are doing these days, but that's how teens seem to be building friendships right now.

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Technically, my nine-year-old has a smartphone, but it's not activated. She only uses it to practice her math facts and listen to music. It's my old Galaxy s4, so it's too old to sell, but it works fine so it seems silly to have it sitting in a drawer or something. She doesn't use any social media or anything, so it's really no different than using the computer.

 

I didn't count this. If you count un-activated phone, then my dd#2 has one. She uses it for listening to audiobooks, taking pictures, and listening to music.

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We didn't have a specific age. We started with trac phones in elementary so they could call when an activity was over or for help. They are teens now with smart phones because their extra curricular activities and outside classes communicate that way.

 

 

We had no landline, so they needed an easy way to call me or 911 if home alone. Also, there are very few payphones to call me or 911 if they are at an activity.

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We don't put an age on things like this, so we can stay fluid and flexible.

 

For DS, it was 12. We moved to a neighborhood where he has a lot more freedom, and he wanted to have more independence. Plus, sleepovers. DS has life threatening allergies and even though we teach all his friends to use an epipen, we want DS or the friends to be able to call 911, then us.

 

It's a semi-smart phone. :) Technically it's a smart phone but we've disabled internet and YouTube, and generally made it kid-safe. He can text, film, edit film, call, go on approved apps. It alerts us if he leaves a designated area, and we have access to all activities. It's turned over to me every night, and stays put away till I return it.

 

DD is 6. No phone. She has asked what age she will get one, and we say, "when you need it."

 

We pay. It's a safety thing.

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Just out of curiosity, what's your plan?

 

What age?

What kind of phone?

Smartphone or dummy phone?

You pay or they pay?

Rules/restrictions?

 

Strong feelings about it one way or another?

 

DD will get a smartphone at age 13, this year.  Until this year, she had a dumb phone for talking and an iPod that she could only use with WiFi access. We will pay for it. She has a ton of activities and reliable service is important for our family to function well. Restrictions/Settings do exist and are controlled by me. DD is part of my 'family' plan and has ask buy and age restrictions on her apps.

Edited by Sneezyone
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Just out of curiosity, what's your plan?

 

What age?

What kind of phone?

Smartphone or dummy phone?

You pay or they pay?

Rules/restrictions?

 

Strong feelings about it one way or another?

 

 

My three older ones were all between 14-15 when they got a phone.  It was an iPhone.  I pay because I wanted them to have it. When they get older and going different directions, so many activities, etc a phone is ideal for keeping touch, knowing about pick up times, and texting them when you are there so you don't have to go in and get them ;)  Also, I just want them to have contact with me.  If they go with friends and things go awry, I want them to be able to text me if they need to leave.

 

 

ETA - I dont have strong feelings about it ether way.  I just think it is an unnecessary distraction for younger kids who don't need it and don't have the maturity to handle it.  I don't think I would let one under 13 have one in our situation.  I could see if they were with another parent or caregiver sometimes then that might be good.

Edited by Attolia
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I got my daughter a dumb one when she was 12 and I wanted to start leaving her at activities.  It's made my life soooooo much easier.   We have a very limited plan for both our phones and only pay $100 for each phone for a year.   We mostly text, "business" stuff only.  She's had it for 2 years and been very good about using it judiciously.  I let her use email and skype to contact friends.   Sometimes they set up "email chats" instead of texting.  I don't have data on my phone, and unless I had unlimited data I'm not sure I would let a teen have data on a phone.   It's too easy to accidentally use tons of expensive data.    

 

I fought gettting a cell phone for myself for a very long time.   But, the world has changed so much and so rapidly in that regard.    I still don't have Facebook which is doable, but it's quite difficult to live without a cell phone, even for teens.      

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In middle school I started hearing about everyone else having a phone. It was true--nearly "everyone" did. The new youth pastor came and the first meeting he exchanged cell numbers with the kids. Everyone had one except mine!

 

We held out until 13, when it was becoming more of a social issue. What I mean is everyone on the team or in a group is texting back and forth between practices or whatever....except my kid with no phone. It's been nice for activities and pick up texts too. Though really that wasn't a huge issue given "everyone" had a cell--it was pretty easy for communication to happen anyway. 

 

ETA: We have very limited data with it turned off and overage protection. Basically, no data/use free wifi. We have prepaid minutes for talk (also overage protection) and unlimited texting. I feel we did this is in a really economical way--had I known this was possible, but I would have done it a little bit sooner (12?) 

 

 

Edited by sbgrace
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Since my kids are adults now and phone situations were different with them - no smart phones available with oldest two at adult or young teen ages, I will just address what we did with number three.  She got a phone at around 12 or 13- when we moved to a new area and she was going to swim and dive practices on her own and also to team activities that we would pick her up from.  She got a new dumb phone in early high school because that was what she wanted. I kept trying to get her to use a smart phone because she is ADHD inattentive and as a fellow ADHD person, I find the smart phone really helps me keep on track.  She finally reluctantly relented to getting a smart phone about a week before she went to college as a freshman.  So my general principles about phones is dumb phone when kid is being left in places and is semi independent. Smart phone when the need for smart phone exceeds the risk of misuse of said smart phone.  That really depends on the individual child.  \

 

We pay for phones when kids are dependents and we have been continuing to pay for service as they are adults (not really happy about that but it is complicated- oldest does enough services and buys stuff to at least equal his phone service cost, middle has strange in law issues that prohibit her and her dh from getting their own service, and youngest is still a dependent.

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Mine are 12 and don't have phones.  3 of my boys' friends from baseball are in public school and they don't have phones.  That is not the norm here though.

 

My boys do have computers with internet access and iPads that only work on our home Wifi.  If they go to school, they will get some type of phone, but hoping to just have call and text ability so they can reach us if needed.

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I was somewhat shocked when DS told me his neighborhood same-age friends have smartphones. 

 

I'm not sure why I was shocked though, because ~10 yrs ago, when I worked with 9-10 yr olds in the public school, they had smartphones. Maybe I just felt like it would never affect me (yes it affects me, because when I send my kid outside to play that is supposed to mean he is not using tech).

 

What age? 16 maybe? Certainly when he gets a driver's license, but maybe earlier if he ends up doing a things that mean getting rides to and from places from different people.

 

What kind of phone? not a smart phone, not before 16, anyways.

 

You pay or they pay? I have no intentions of getting him a phone for the next 8 yrs, but I wouldn't have a problem with paying for it, assuming it only adds $10-20 to our bill. He would have to pay if he wants anything more than a flip phone (gee, remember when the flip phone was the cool, expensive phone? Or maybe I was just cheap XD)

 

Rules/restrictions? Probably. I just don't know what they would be at this point.  

 

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My DD (almost 13) got a phone at 10 because she was going to conferences and all the information came out via text. Plus after getting lost on a field trip in rural TN where my phone had no service, having a second phone on a different set of towers seemed a good idea. She really didn't use it much until age 11-12, and that was because of Pokemon Go and starting college classes. She only texts a few people and does not have personal social media yet. It would be really hard to navigate the college classes without a smart phone-it's just expected that the kids have them. It gets used a lot as a camera.

 

I pay the $20/3 month plan on Tracfone. She has to pay anything over that on her own. She uses wifi a lot.

Edited by Dmmetler2
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Ours are almost 19 and 22 now, so what we did is probably a bit different than what someone would choose to do now, due to smart phones being so much more common.

 

We gave ours dumb phones when they were old enough to stay home alone, around 10 or 12. At that point it had already been several years since we'd had a land line. That was before smart phones were so common, so we really had no debate between dumb and smart.

 

We gave them smart phones when they started driving alone, right at 16.

 

We've never had/needed any restrictions.

 

We pay for everything (including data plan) and will until they graduate from college and have their first "real" jobs. (ETA: When they're fully employed we'll probably still let them stay on our family plan and reimburse us their share. I think that will be the least expensive route for all of us.)

Edited by Pawz4me
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There are smartphones (older model phones frm when dh and I upgraded) that we have in the house with Tracfone service. We buy the cheapest airtime card and I think we get three times the minutes printed on the card per phone. We have two right now and they’re mostly for my older two since it’s more likely that they’ll be somewhere without me plus we have no landline so if the adults are not home then those who are home need access to a phone.

 

We’re just not a social media family so aside from the occasional iMessage with friends and family, there’s not a huge amount of appeal to using it. My oldest is in 7th grade and we got the second line last year for my then 3rd grader because of a two separate location soccer field/practice/drop off concern. No downsides here, tbh.

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We get them phones with some kind of service when they are old enough to be doing things without us. We want them to be able to call if they are at an event, house, club, etc without needing to get permission or assistance from someone else. The age for that has varied but is usually around 13, give or take a year. My kids don't have instagram or facebook or anything like that, though. My olders are not interested and my younger one has interest but is not allowed. 

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My older two each got a dumb phone in Middle School.

Oldest bought himself an iPhone when he was a Senior in high school.

Middle still has a dumb phone -- and we have blocked texting on it due to specific issues he has had. So it's really just a phone for contacting us about drop offs and pick ups and the like -- and having at home when home alone.

Youngest is 12 and does not currently have a phone but will probably get one next summer if he goes to Florida to visit Grandparents unaccompanied again. Again  it will not be a smart phone and it probably will not have texting turned on. 

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What age? 13

 

What kind of phone? cheap

 

Smartphone or dummy phone? Dumb, although we let youngest upgrade to smart because he saved his money and paid for other himself

 

You pay or they pay? They are on our family plan as long as they 'behave'

 

Rules/restrictions? Haven't really had to due any

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It makes MY life a lot easier if they have a phone when they start our public high school. Older dd didn't have this and there were constant instances of band practice getting out early or staying after school for theater or whatever where it would have been helpful to have communication readily available. So that dd got her phone for her birthday the summer before sophomore year, but next dd got it for her birthday winter before starting high school. Both got iPhones (but not the latest model) because we're an apple family and it was the easiest option for all involved.

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My kids get a phone when I need them to get a phone, meaning when they are involved in enough activities apart from me that it makes my life easier for them to have a phone to contact me for rides, etc.

 

For my oldest, that was around age 13, and it was a cheap flip phone. It was also 8 years ago, so there were still a lot of kids without smart phones at that point. I think we upgraded her to an iPhone about the time she started driving.

 

Middle child got a hand-me-down iPhone at 15.

 

Youngest does not have one yet at 14. Probably soon, since he wants to get a PT job as soon as he can.

 

We pay for all of the phones. I don't really have strong feelings about kids and phones, other than the fact that they are so darned expensive, so that's why we wait until we need them to have one.

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We're way past that and when ds got his first phone smart phones were fairly new. He was 10. We would have waited but for 2 things that happened close together. 

 

1. We were planning to go to Obama's inauguration in Washington, D.C. and I was concerned about the crowd and him possibly getting separated from us.

2. We were also planning to get rid of our land line right around that time.

 

Actually 3 things. 

 

3. We were just starting to leave him home alone for short periods of time and didn't want to leave him without a phone once our land line was gone.

 

I think he was 12 or 13 (can't remember) when he got his first smart phone. 

 

I don't have strong feelings one way or another. Each family should do what they feel is best for them and their dc. I do have strong feelings about those who act superior on either side. Some act superior by saying they haven't given in to pressure. Others act superior by saying they won't let their kids be left behind when it comes to technology. Neither is better. What's "better" is what's best for your family.

Edited by Lady Florida.
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My kids got phones at the ages it made sense for them to have a phone for MY convenience.  For one that was 13 and for the other that was 10.  It has unlimited text and voice, no data.  Wifi capable smart phone.  That is through republic wireless.  We do have a cheap wifi landline at home for back up. 

 

Both my kids were heavily involved in out of the house activities with drop offs and occasional indeterminate end times.  If they weren't, we would have waited much longer. 

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Oldest, 17.  I had to make him.  He hated it and wouldn't take it anywhere.  I finally got him an Android for Christmas 2 years ago and he FINALLY started carrying it with him.

 

Middle, 14.  He used it, started going to a charter school, and was away enough to warrant him needing to keep in touch.

 

Youngest, 11 I guess.  He was begging since older bothers had them.  He went to school at age 12, so it was good he already had one to keep in touch.

 

We pay for all of them and will continue to do so.  DH's plan through work pays $80/mo plus his phone payments of $30.  We are on the ATT plan of $100 for the family plan plus $15 per phone, so even with their phones, the extras are around $100 total out of pocket for the plan itself.

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Age: 11

Type: smartphone

 

I got it for DS when I realized that I wanted a way to leave messages for him when he was somewhere without us. Specifically, one day when he was at practice, I needed to have another mom bring him home. He's been told he may not go anywhere with another adult without my express permission so I had to scramble to find a way to let him know. I vowed never again. His 11th birthday was the next week, so he got an early birthday present. We have turned off the data in the phone's settings but DS does know how to turn it on if needed.

 

Younger DS will get a smart phone when, quite frankly, my needs warrant it. He's only 9 and doesn't have 3 plus hour practices, so it will be a while.

 

I pay for service and DS knows he can lose the phone at any time, for any reason.

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My kids are 13 and 16. My 16 year old got a flip phone at the age of 12. She then received my husband’s old iPhone 5s. She now has an iPhone 6 (received it last year for Christmas). My 13 year old also received his phone at 12. He started off with my daughter’s old iPhone 5s. That died, so he got my husband’s old android. We are on Total Wireless & our monthly bill for 4 lines with 25 gb shared data is $104 after taxes. So it’s really affordable & keeps me in touch with my kids when they aren’t home.

 

ETA - And yes, we have rules and restrictions with the phones

Edited by mytwomonkeys
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Thus far we have gotten each child a phone as he has needed to have his own means of contacting us; for us, that's when he has had classes or activities outside the home that didn't have a big brother attending as well and that we didn't stay on-site for, &/or didn't know other parents who would be on-site. 

 

So, the 20 yr old has one, as does the 16 yr old (both are driving or will soon be driving, and definitely by "drives himself places w/o us" they need a phone in case of car trouble, accident, etc. That is a non-negotiable for us).  The 12 yr old does not have a phone, and I don't see him getting one for a while. 

 

He does have an iPod that he can use for music and games. 

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Just out of curiosity, what's your plan?

 

What age?

What kind of phone?

Smartphone or dummy phone?

You pay or they pay?

Rules/restrictions?

 

Strong feelings about it one way or another?

.

 

Our plan is that they’ll get their own phones when they can pay for them. In the meantime, we plan to get a third (dumb) phone for the family to share as needed (and a fourth or more if it’s ever needed). Right now I just leave my phone for them if they’re home alone. Of course that means that they can’t easily get in touch with me but I’m ok with that. I couldn’t easily get in touch with my parents when I was home alone either. They can call 911 in case of emergency and figure out the rest on their own. I find it interesting that kids are generally expected to be older before being left home alone, yet kids and adults all have cell phones making it easy to in contact with a parent for every possible problem.

 

DD13 is starting to do some babysitting. So far just for family and they leave her a phone. We do plan to get a dumb phone though for that type of situation since many people don’t have land lines.

 

None if this is an issue for my kids socially. In our circles I can only think of one kid under 18 who has their own phone and two others who have iPods they can text on. The rest of the kids e-mail or use their parents phones to call friends. Some even write letters. Most of the kids aren’t on social media either.

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When they start college or trade classes, usually 15/16, same age as we allow computer use.

 

It is not their phone. It is mine that I let them use. Usually we upgrade either Dh or I and they get whatever is the oldest phone. Even so, Dh and I are usually 1 or 2 iPhone editions behind the newest. Iphones usually. A son switched to Samsung Galaxy when he was 18. Bit jealous of it actually, but not enough to switch.

 

The phone stays set up under my account with my password, so they can't put anything on it without bringing it to me. And we make it clear that any inappropriate use in either content or addiction tendency can cost them their phone. I have zero problems taking it if either becomes a problem.

 

Currently we have an unlimited everything plan for a very reasonable price considering we have 7 phones on our account. But before then, we set the phones up to give an alert if they got down to only so much free data/talk left. Mostly it wasn't problem bc they just made sure wifi was their default setting to avoid data usage.

 

But we don't do things that everyone else seems to do these days. I don't have them on find my phone or find my friends to track where they are. We actually don't have that set up on any of our phones. I don't have it set up to copy me their screens content or messages. I could. I simply refuse. Mostly bc none of us have cloud accounts and I don't want to have yet another type of account to keep track of. If it gets to a point where I think I need to, I'd rather take the phone away. I might change my mind on the phone tracker, mostly bc we had one stolen a couple months ago.

 

We pay for the phone and plan until they are 18, then the phone is their problem and we pay the account. When they are past college age, I'll probably ask them to kick in for their portion of the bill to save us all money.

 

ETA: We make it clear that the phones are for family communication. They don't give their number to anyone for the most part. Close friends is about it. They usually don't give it to teachers and youth ministers or bosses. College teachers are required by school policy to send all official communication through the school email system. And think that's a wise policy, so stick to it. Other adults get my cell phone or the house number. And none of my kids get social media before 18. For the most part my adult kids (4 ages 18-23) say they are really glad about it. Apparently they've seen/heard enough horror stories to be glad they were spared. The closest issue we have had is they've had some jobs that use groupme(?) for shift scheduling, so they have to use their phone for that. Personally I hate it, bc I miss the days when people (bosses no less!) could get their crap together and make a schedule more than 3 days in advance. But apparently things planning head have become archaic notions. (Mild rant over.😖)

Edited by Murphy101
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Technically, my nine-year-old has a smartphone, but it's not activated. She only uses it to practice her math facts and listen to music. It's my old Galaxy s4, so it's too old to sell, but it works fine so it seems silly to have it sitting in a drawer or something. She doesn't use any social media or anything, so it's really no different than using the computer.

 

This is what we have done.  My dd12 has my sister's old phone that was not being used, an ipohone4 I think.  It was kind of a deal in exchange for her trying out the adult choir at church.

 

However - she lost the charging cord so it doesn't work, and she's shown no initiative to try and get a new one, and I'm not going to replace it.  She's decided the choir is her thing, so it no longer requires a carrot anyway.

 

 

 

Re the OP - I don't know that I am ever likely to get her one - I don't have one myself, and I'm not likely to pay for one for her first.  If she wants one when she is older, she can get a job of some kind I guess - we've talked about the problems of smart phones so I'd discourage that.

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We have an old smartphone that is sort of a house phone & both girls get to use s needed.  We do have Secureteen App on it because we don't want it to be a distraction it is just for communicating with us. We'll move on to having their own when it feels like they need it for our benefit.  

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My 8 year old has a PAYG smartphone (my sister's old handset) because she walks herself to and some of her clubs and music lessons, and she can call me if there's a problem or something changes. There are no payphones anywhere here anymore, so she can't go out with 10p for the phone like I did at that age. She has data turned off, so it's mostly a dumb phone with WiFi in our house.

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Our oldest is ten and we got him a Tracphone. He only uses it if he's home alone for a brief period of time. He can talk and text on it but not use the internet. We don't have a landline, and so we got it for safety. It has our cell phone numbers, a family friend in case he can't get a hold of us, and his grandparents. He can also take it if he needs for outside activities, but right now he hasn't used it for that.

 

He's alone so infrequently that he's only used a few minutes of it, but it's nice to know that it's there in case he needs it. I think we're paying $20 for 3 months and limited minutes. It works for us for now.

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We don't own smartphones as they're a security risk (and, imo, a nuisance besides).  We own a couple of dumbphones that we use when travelling and sometimes when we're living in a place where a landline is not possible, but I don't think my kids need one - they are unlikely to be driving in a location where a cell phone might be necessary or useful before they've moved out of the house.

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Just out of curiosity, what's your plan?

 

What age?

What kind of phone?

Smartphone or dummy phone?

You pay or they pay?

Rules/restrictions?

 

Strong feelings about it one way or another?

 

 

We gave an inexpensive smart phone, under $100, as a birthday gift at age 11. That was a month before starting middle school (a 30 minute drive from home) and they were at dance practice 4+ days a week. 

 

They are on our plan, but need pay for the difference if they exceed the plan limit (that happened once, and the kid paid the $10 overage fee). 

 

They originally used it mainly for texting me, then a few other relatives, and for playing music. Then they started using it more as a hand-held internet device, reading blogs, watching you-tube, etc. Now at age 13, they actually make phone calls to school friends on it, and keep in touch with people met at camp, etc. Almost everyone in their grade seemed to have a phone (including some very expensive ones!) by the time they turned 13.

 

They have made friends online, including a couple that we met up with at a museum for a few hours while visiting DC over the summer. That turned up my anxiety level quite a bit, but they handled it well!

 

I reserve the right to inspect the phone when I want to. I don't need/want to know everything they do and say online, but I want to be sure they are being safe, physically and emotionally. We have talked a lot about good internet use guidelines. I checked the phone more frequently when they first got it, to be sure they were following the rules, and to determine if I need to tweak the rules. I have a basic rules such as no posting identifying info in online forums, including selfie-photos. They now use a self-drawn avatar, which is fine by me (hmm, maybe I should have them draw one for me too). A couple of photo violations last year resulted in a punishment of losing certain functions of the phone (they had to turn over the chip to me in the evenings), but they could still keep their phone to listen to downloaded music. 

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My kids shared a flip phone from ages 5&7 on because we didn't have a home phone. At ages 10 & 12, they received cheap (Galaxy phones 3 generations behind) smart phones (wifi only, no carrier) which were seriously locked down. At ages 12 & 14 (now,) they both still have those wi-fi only phones, eldest has a basic phone attached to a carrier, and youngest has a Gizmo Gadget watch phone attached to a carrier. I have no intention of ever getting either of them a smartphone plan on a carrier, as neither dh nor I have that. 

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Our kids have received their own phones at 14-15.  Before that if they absolutely needed to go somewhere with a phone they take mine.

 

We don't get them a smartphone while they are minors.

 

Phones are not allowed in their rooms at night.

 

We are allowed to read any text or check any phone messages at any time (even though we rarely do)  For some reason my kids think that Dh, the main adult account holder, can read their texts remotely.  I am pretty sure they think he sits at his desk at work & reads their texts.  I see no reason to disabuse them of this notion :)

 

Any online enabled device must be used in the common areas of the house.

 

They also have tablets & laptops

 

We have rules about what can be posted, with whom they can chat, etc, etc.  The kids have told us our internet rules are draconian and while I am pleased they can pull that reference off, I say tough noogies. 

 

We have seen too many problems arise from kids that get addicted to online pornography, kids who get too intimate chatting at night with someone they don't know well, or kids that get pressured into sexting or using snapchat for nude pictures thinking that only the recipient would see them when, in fact the recipient can take a screenshot and showed anyone she wants.  (That last one happened last month to a 15 year old friend of my daughter's)  

 

Before anyone accuses me of not trusting my kids or of assuming that my kids can't find a way around my rules; I do trust them.  I trust them to be normal teens.  I was a normal teen who made my share of stupid decisions, but because my teenage years were pre-internet none of my stupidity was documented and posted on the internet forever.  I would like my kids to have that same opportunity.  I also know that my kids are much more internet savvy than I am and can probably hide anything from me that they don't want me to know, but I am not going to make it easy for them.

 

We attended a "how to keep your kids safe on the internet" seminar where the speaker was an FBI agent who specialized in cyber or internet crimes against children and some of the things he had seen in his job made my skin crawl and my stomach turn.  

 

Amber in SJ

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Dd got a dumb phone at age 9 that she still uses now at age 14.  We don't have a land line so we originally got her the phone when she started spending short amounts of time home alone and started to have more activities out of the house without us.  We pay for it because it is mostly for our convenience.  She started doing a lot of babysitting around age 12 and most houses she sits for don't have land lines so we would have had to get one then even if we had a land line ourselves.

 

She very much wants a smartphone because "everyone else has one."  Which in her defense, is true.  She is the only one of her high school aged friends that does not have one.  We considered gifting her one for her 14th day or this Christmas but have decided against it at this time.  We have had some recent trouble with dd following our rules about her laptop and iPod use so don't feel introducing another device would be wise a this time.  Maybe 15th birthday?  We shall see.  When and if we do, we will pay for both he phone and service until she is an adult....mostly because the plan we will get will be bundled and likely not cost us anything more than we are currently paying.

 

 

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We got them as the need arose.  They both now have prepaid smart phones (12 and 15).

 

We paid.  I don't restrict them when using free wi fi, but they don't have data and aren't to use them to make calls unless necessary (they can make free calls in some cases though).  And I figure worst case they do and I'm only out the few bucks I paid for the limited number of minutes.  That hasn't happened though because other than us they have nobody to call.

 

 

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