How Young Is Too Young For A Cell Phone?
Over the past couple of years it has become common place for teenagers to own cell phones. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone over the age of 15 that doesn’t. I do not have a teenager. My oldest child is 11. Does he have a cell phone? Yes.
When I bought it for him I remember feeling like I needed to explain my reasoning for getting it for him. Because I was insitent that he would NOT get one. He asked over and over. In third grade this started. THIRD GRADE! He actually asked for a Blackberry. I had a Blackberry. I told him to forget it.
He kept on and on all year. I noticed children his age and younger getting a cell phone simply because they wanted one and usually because one of their friends had one and guilty parenting ensued. He thought I would fall under the pressure. NOT! I vowed he would not get a cell phone until he was in his teens (at least).
I judged parents for buying these kids cell phones at age 9, 10, 11 (and younger) because it seems more evident than ever that kids now days get what they want, when they want it, and are actually more expectant and less thankful for what they have or are given. I believe that holds true about a majority of today’s children.
But when my son was 9, on the brink of the age 10, I had a change of heart about getting him a cell phone. It had nothing to do with “what everyone else is doing” or that he “broke” my resolve. He actually had quit asking.
It was the summer before fourth grade and he was going to be spending a majority of his break with his father. My son had a great school year pulling out all A’s every report card. He was showing more responsibility, too. But more than anything, and this may be selfish, I wanted to be able to talk to him anytime I wanted. So, the cell phone was for me, too.
When I took him to get it he was overwhelmed with a thankful heart. He couldn’t believe it. I explained to him that while he had “earned” the cell phone through good grades and behavior, we would hold true to what the reason was for the phone: for me to be able to reach him.
It is not a text all the time, talk all the time, play on all the time device. That was somewhat frustrating for my son to understand at first because his friends have that kind of full access. In my opinion, for his age, its main purpose is so that I am able to reach him. However, the fact that I was now a parent who had bought my child a cell phone did open my eyes a bit.
I believe there are many parents who too quickly relieve the appetites of their kids’ “look what everyone else has” desires, but there are other parents out there who’s reasons for giving a child a cell phone is well founded. I don’t know where you draw the line. There are kids as young as six with cell phones. I have no clue why a six year old would need a cell phone.
Maybe it’s a security thing for a parent, and in this world I can understand that. Much like my reasons in wanting to have the option of connection when my children aren’t with me. To each his own. Ultimately, I think that limits for children where cell phones are concerned are important. And I believe, most of all, that the motivations for getting your children a cell phone are important.