Not too many years back, only adults had cell phones, and not all of them. These days house phones are the rarity, and personal numbers are the norm. However, with this fact comes a few questions. Many parents find themselves wondering when they should get cell phones for their children. After all, with certain cell phone companies, you can add a line for as little as $5 a month. The factors to consider when determining whether to buy your child a cell phone are as follows:
First, are they mature enough to have a cell phone and still follow the rules you attach to it? Most parents are not going to give their child a cell phone without any stipulations for use. For example, the rules may include things like not letting friends use your phone, not texting or calling during school, not using it to cheat at school, not talking while driving, not sexting, or using it to harass or bully other kids, etc. There are a whole host of issues that can come with giving the children the freedom of a private phone line. So, before you buy your child a cell phone, make sure they are mature enough to handle the responsibility.
What are your child’s cell phone needs?
Second, evaluate their need. Of course kids want cell phones, all of their friends have them, they can constantly be dialed in, etc. But, do they really need one? Well, obviously no one needs them, but some could use one a lot more than others. For example, your ten year old may benefit from a cell phone while another ten year old may not, simply because your ten year old has two different sets of parents, and spends time in two different homes. Your fourteen year old may need one, and your neighbor’s fourteen year old may not because yours is actively involved in sports, and extra curricular activities that take them away from the home often, and do not have really set hours. By the age of sixteen, most kids have cell phones, and this is because they are driving, which gives them the ability to call for help if they need it, etc. Why would your child need a cell phone?
Third, think about their situation. The fact is, while keeping up with the Joneses may not be at the top of your priority list, it can be very hard on your child if they are the only person in their whole class at school who is not toting a cellular phone. It can lead to their resentment, and misuse of what they do have. So, consider where you live, and what the norm is around you. What is the norm for their group of friends? This does not mean you have to follow it exactly, but take it into consideration as it will affect your child.