The past few weeks, I have been hosting events in my community sponsored by At&T. It has sparked some interesting conversations. Mainly, “When should kids get a cell phone?”
I don’t know about you, but my 9-year-old is already eyeing a cell phone. She thinks it would make a fabulous tenth birthday present. At first I was totally against it. And while I don’t think she’ll get one when she is ten, I think 11 (or middle school) is the perfect time.
Contact– As she gets more involved in activities after school and before school and sports and drama rehearsals and whathaveyou, I like the idea that she can contact me when she needs to get picked up or if her practices are running late. She could chat with Daddy when he travels, chat with her Aunties or Grandma. With features like AT&T’s Smart Limits, I can manage purchases, texting, data usage and time-of-day restrictions, block unwanted calls and texts, block calls to 411 directory assistance.
Learning Limits – This is a serious issue with a phone – or even internet access. Kids need to be taught what is appropriate online behavior – what kind of things do you say, what pictures can you post, etc. I feel like if we start early – 11 or 12 – our kids will (hopefully) be more open to our giving them input and sharing what they are up to. If they get a phone at 16, they will be in full “Hands Off Mom” mode and it will be harder to have these conversations. I love that the Parental Controls are available for their cells as well as our home internet. We can help her learn safety early on.
Safety – If she has a phone, she can call or text me anytime, anywhere. If something is happening she is unsure about or worried about at a friend’s house, she can tell me. She can ask for help or have us come get her. With features like Family Finder, I can know where she is easily and keep track of her without constantly calling.
Responsibility – Having a phone is a huge responsibility. She’ll have to charge it, keep track of it, be safe with it. She’ll have to manage her budgeted texts and allowance for apps and downloads. It’s a great teaching tool. And we will so get the insurance for when she drops it in the pool or something 😉
I think she’ll be ready next year. What age are you thinking about getting phones for your kids?
Disclosure: I am proud to be part of an AT&T Family Safety Ambassador program. This is a compensated position