Written by Doctor G

When Should a Kid Get a Cell Phone?

You probably want this free tech contract for tweens and teens!

How do you decide if your child should get a cell phone?

Parents frequently write to tell me of their child’s fear of the dreaded diagnosis DBLOCF (Death By Lack of Cell Phone). While parents rarely worry about this rare disease, kids are sure that we are heartless and “don’t understand anything!” Parents worry about the real dangers of kids with cell phones and the downfall of manners – actually all human interaction – at home when kids do get them.

Doctor G has the two questions you should ask yourself before you take the cell phone plunge with your kids:

1. Does your child need a cell phone?

2. Is your child ready for a cell phone?

Need is different than want, and that crucial determination is for parents to decide.

Once you’ve determined that your child does actually need a phone (urging you to get a flip phone for anyone younger than 15), Doctor G has 4 ways to know if your child is ready for that much-longed-for piece of technology in his or her pocket.

Have you given your child a phone? Use it’s magical powers to teach your kids more respect and responsibility! And make sure your younger ones all memorize the number.

preschool cell phone

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6 thoughts on “When Should a Kid Get a Cell Phone?”

  1. I really like what you say here about the “Death By Lack of Cell Phone” and in the link to the steps to consider before taking a firm decision on the subject.

    In my book, “The Remade Parent,” I look at other similar issues that mothers and fathers are faced with on a daily basis.

    Your advice to parents “to be strong” in resisting our children’s repeated attempts to browbeat us makes good sense.

    Thanks for the excellent post!

  2. My oldest is 7 and is asking for a phone. While she doesn’t NEED one, some days I feel like it would be easier if she had one so I can easily get in touch with her. I’m trying to hold off till at least 9 which is when it seems like most kids around my community get their first phone. Right now it would be more for me than for her. Her friends don’t have phones yet and I don’t think she’s responsible enough to carry one anyway. She’s got a Nook at home she barely takes care of, let alone a phone she’s going to carry out in public!
    P.S. Happy to be part of your SITS tribe 🙂

    1. I had that exact same thought about my 7 year old last night when he was at a sleepover. But he doesn’t need one, and most people do still have a regular phone if he needs us. I do want him to know he can exist without being plugged in. Also, he would never keep track of it either! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I saw this link from The Momiverse on Twitter and couldn’t believe the timing! Just today my husband and I were discussing the cell phone situation with our 14 year old. I know it seems old to be just getting his first phone, but to be honest – he really doesn’t need one! I drive him to and from school and sports events and parties. He uses Facebook and Instagram on his iPod so he’s hooked up socially. He’s not even asking for a phone, but my husband thinks he should be given our old iphone with a pay as you go contract.

    I appreciate these ideas for making some rules around usage and not just handing it over to him without a proper talk about it all. Thank you!

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