Should I give my kid a cellphone? That has been a question parents have been asking for almost a decade now. I remember when my daughter first asked me for a cellphone. I wasn’t excited about the idea but I knew she would not stop asking me for one because all her friends had one. She was 12 years old and growing up fast. What could I do? Should kids under age 16 have a phone?
These days most parents would say yes. i understand that there are no more pay phones and kids need them if there is no home phone. Being a latchkey kid comes with it’s issues already but not having a way to communicate adds another set of issues. My daughter was a latchkey kid for a short time so I get it. But I think there should be limitations.
Flip phone vs. Smart phone
This was my biggest concern when my daughter asked for a phone. This was back in the day before iPhones came out. The Blackberry was all the rage so there were other brands that had similar features. Access to the internet was new but it was coming fast.
Lexi (my daughter) wanted a nice smartphone but I wasn’t having it. She would have to settle for a Tracphone or a similar type. She would be able to dial the number, get text messages, and no data plane.
When my son got older he began asking for a phone. Technology was much better now so the smartphones seemed like the only option. A few months earlier I came across a great deal from Freedom Pop to buy a Samsung Galaxy 3 pretty inexpensively and I’d get free talk, text, and limited data. I jumped at it so I had a phone. Not long after that I upgraded to a different phone and plan. I gave my son the Samsung and sent him on his way. He has a nicer phone than my daughter did but he has limitations like she did.
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Limited vs Unlimited Plans
My daughter’s Tracphone prepaid plan was pretty pitiful. I can laugh about it now but back then she was not too happy. She had 100 minutes, maybe 300 text messages, and she got charged each time she checked her voicemail, LOL! It was awful. But it taught her responsibility. She could not talk endlessly on the phone and text all the time. She basically limited her talk and text time to me and close family. Over the years she has gotten upgraded phones and plans but she still does not talk very much and she has started to text her friends more.
My son’s limited plan has had a similar affect. He rarely talks on the phone and he barely sends text messages. Maybe it has to do with being home-schooled and not feeling peer pressure. He doesn’t use the data plan much either because he’s on wifi at our house most of the time. Best of all I saved money by putting them on pre-paid or free cellphone plans!
I can’t see giving kids under 16 a generous or unlimited plan for two major reasons:
- They are not paying for it
- They have no opportunity to learn self-control and responsibility for what they have
Other parents may disagree but I know that limited the cell phone type and plans for my kids have saved me thousands of dollars and taught them responsibility and self control.
Does Cellphones Increase Drama for Teens?
My sister mentioned a conversation she had with a co-worker. Her son is girl-crazy and is having a lot of problems out of him. My sister told her that her son, who is the same age, doesn’t have this issue and that it could be that he doesn’t have a cellphone. The lady admitted that maybe that was where she went wrong.
A phone in itself cannot control behavior but it can be a contributing factor.
So should kids under 16 have a cell phone? I think they can if you as the parent put limitations on the type and plan. Can you trust a 13 year old to keep a $400 phone safe, free from cracked screens, or from being stolen? Can a 10 year old truly be responsible if given an unlimited plan and the latest iPhone?
I don’t think so. That’s my opinion, but the boundaries I set with my kids have been successful.
What about you? How old was your child when you gave him/her a cellphone? Has it been a headache for you?
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