Should I Give My Kids A Cell phone?

When do you think a kid should get a cell phone?  This answer varies depending on who is asked.  I have heard some parents say not until the kids can pay for it themselves, and I have heard other say 16, 13 etc. etc.

I don’t think there is any magic age.  My opinion is that if the kid will be out of your presence and on his own for some period of time, eg. football practice, then it’s ok for him to have a cell phone so that he can be reached by you, and vice versa.  Did you notice that I said, can be reached by YOU?  The cell phone can be a tool for many different things, they can be playing games, texting friends, surfing the web.  Whatever they will use the phone depends on you, which phone is given, and what privileges are allowed.  The most important reason in mind mind for them to have the phone is access to you!

My compromise was to give my kids a “kids” phone called Kajeet.  With this phone I was able to program it so that only us the parents could be reached.  As they got older, the privileges were extended so that they could text and talk to friends.  Again, the phone was programmed to be able to talk and text only at certain times.  What was NEVER allowed and was always turned was was internet access to download, email, and picture messaging.  I did not want my kids to be involved in a sexting scandal.  I found that with this phone, the older ones were able to talk to friends, and I had some control and peace of mind.

I have found that the phone worked as a great incentive tool once they had it.  If homework was not done on time, the phone could not call friends for a day or two.  Similar measures is taken for any disrespectful behavior, chores not being done, room not being cleaned.  Any infraction that is deemed outside the boundaries of expected behavior.  So the phone can be a great parenting tool, take advantage of this.

If you think your kids need a phone and chooses to go with the iPhone or Android, make sure you install blocking apps there for their protection.   I will talk about some of these in a later post.  For now, try to keep it as simple as you can.

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