You might want to wait before you get them one. Kevin Roberts is the author of Cyber Junkie: Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap. And he believes the minimum age for a cellphone is 12. If your younger children need a phone in certain situations – like, on a school field trip - he suggests getting a pre-paid phone for them to use on an as-needed basis.
Child safety expert Kim Estes agrees that middle school is the appropriate age for phone ownership. Because at that age, tweens spend more time with their friends and less time with adults. And having a phone allows them to stay in contact with you - and still assert some independence. And when you finally decide it’s time to take the plunge, resist your child’s pleas for the latest smartphone. What you’re really after is basic communication – not unlimited texting, game playing, and Internet surfing. Plus, our expert says that the promise of a smartphone is the biggest carrot that parents have to motivate kids. So, it’s a good idea to have your child earn an upgrade by behaving responsibly, doing well in school, and keeping up with their chores.
Finally, remember that text messaging and Internet access open your child up to a variety of threats. That’s why it’s important to closely monitor who they communicate with. And to talk to them about what information is appropriate to share with others.
What do you think the right age is for a kid to get their own cell phone?