Mom's Talk Question: When Should Children Start Using Cell Phones?

We ask. You answer. Share your experiences in our online discussion.


From the malls to the classrooms, you see children texting friends and parents on their cell phones.

According to a 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center, about 23 percent of parents said their children received their first cell phones when they were 12 years old.

In similar research, Pew found at least 75 percent of American teenagers today have a cellphone, often purchased by their parents so they can stay in closer touch. And parents are more likely than other adults to have a cellphone, for the same reason.

How old was your child? Have they begin asking for one? Is the age dropping?

Take a minute and type in a comment about your experience, what was the right age, what isn't. You'll be helping a Mom who may be approaching this threshold and could use some Mom-to-Mom advice.

QUESTION: When Should Children Start Using Cell Phones?

ANSWER: You tell us. Login in the upper right hand corner. It's free and only takes about 20 seconds. Then comment on this article. Share your views and get some advice. Suggest future questions for discussion.

Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for parents and their families right here in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff.

Every Wednesday in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.

Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our communities will have a new resource for the thousands of issues that arise while raising children.

So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation today with a question from the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Patch's Mom's Council.

The Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Moms Council will share their insights along with you.

Robin Bermel November 16, 2011 at 11:07 PM
I'm looking forward to seeing comments on this topic. Personally, I hope my child will purchase their own when s/he begins earning money. Is that realistic?
Nina Vallone November 17, 2011 at 01:41 AM
I think it's realistic if you make it so, Robin! Our first received a cell phone once she entered middle school. Looking back I realize it was completely unnecessary at that age. By 6th grade, there was more of a use for it - nearly everyone had phones, the kids keep in contact when they are meeting up, and it was a great way for her to let me know if practice was running late, etc. The phone has worked for us because we've stressed it is a privilege and not a need. My oldest also knows if the privilege is abused it gets taken away. We haven't had any issues with too many texts or inappropriate web sites, etc. The best advice I was given, and it's worked tremendously - is that the phone is left downstairs to charge at night! No late night texting keeping them up late!!! And one more tip from another mom friend: when friends come over for a sleepover, collect all cellphones - tell them everyone they need to talk to is right here - that way - no one is making late night texts or calls or taking photos.....be sure to let parents know you'll be doing that if they need to get in touch with their kids...
Jim Powers November 17, 2011 at 04:12 AM
So sixth grade looks like a possible target for giving a child a cell phone. Do you agree? Disagree? Share your experience.
Linda S. Remensnyder, Au.D. November 17, 2011 at 12:17 PM
Sorry, as a Doctor of Audiology, I think that we should restrict use of cell phones by children. My profession is discouraging cell phone use because of the diameter of their skulls. Research indicates that their brains are more susceptible to the elctromagnetic damage and the years they will use them is longer than we have been able to evaluate in other populations. An accessory that is dangerous is just not worth it. I worry because I see teens at Northbrook Court walking with their friends and the cell phones coupled to their ears and then they're in the theatre again with their cell phones coupled to their ears. The amount of electromagnetic stimulation scares me and scares my profession.
Robin November 17, 2011 at 02:18 PM
My oldest two received their first phone as Freshmen in High School. Phones weren’t as popular then, so it was about normal. As a result, their younger sibling wasn’t “allowed” to get a phone until he was a Freshmen. (Fair for one, fair for all, according to the older two.) I can almost say with 100% certainty, my son was THE last one in has grade to receive a phone. I have one more, he’s a seventh grader, and won’t be getting a phone for two more years. Again, pretty positive, he’s the only one without a phone. Do I think he’s missing out on having a phone? Absolutely not! Even if we didn’t have the “tradition” of no phone until high school, I’m not sure we would have given them one sooner. I have a really hard time thinking that elementary/middle school students really need a phone. Where are they going that we haven’t dropped them off at or are already planning on picking them up? And, if something unexpected does come up, every place they are at... has a phone. My biggest pet peeve, elementary age children with iPhones and Blackberrys!


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