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When Should Your Child Get a Cell Phone?

I sort of dislike questions that are worded like this because it makes it sound like there is a universal answer to this question and there’s simply not.

It depends on the child and the situation.

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Let me just be upfront about something — I ABHOR talking on the phone. I mean, hate it. With a passion. With a capital “H”.

I have no idea why I feel this way. I wasn’t traumatized in a past life (not that I believe in past lives, but whatever), I don’t recall receiving bad news over the phone thereby scarring me for life. I just don’t like talking on the phone.

So, when it rings? I let it ring. And ring. And ring. Until voice mail kicks in. And if the person doesn’t leave a message? Then apparently, it wasn’t very important, right?

I know this has frustrated my family to no end. But they now know, that if they want to talk to me, either leave a message and I’ll call them back, or email me.

Actually, always email me. That is always the best way to reach me.

My phone aversion has rubbed off on the kids. They too hate talking on the phone. Though some of it probably stems from the fact that they’re boys and boys are not generally as chatty as girls.

At least, MY boys aren’t. 🙂

So the whole cell phone issue, and my boys not having one glued to their ears like their peers, was never an issue for us. Jazz did ask for one in middle school, but I vetoed the idea.

I mean … why? I was his personal taxi driver. He knew he couldn’t go over to a friend’s house after school until his homework was done. And the only activity he was involved in was band and they never had any last minute extra-curricular activities that I didn’t know about at least months in advance.

In short, there was never a need for my boys to have a cell phone. If they ever needed to get a hold of me, they used the school phone.

*gasp* The horror!

To top it off, it just seemed silly to spend money on something they didn’t need, and would likely get them into trouble (because the schools get VERY CRANKY when they catch kids using their phones during class). So, we didn’t worry about it.

But to appease the boys, I told them, “You can have your own phone when you start high school,” thinking, high school was EONS away and we’d cross that bridge when we came to it.

Hello bridge.

When Dude started high school two years ago, we bought him a phone. And we decided to do that because we were hoping that Dude would get involved in something at school and NEED it.

But he didn’t. And the boys ended up sharing the phone between them. Whenever one, or the other, stayed the night with a friend, they took THE phone. And whenever Jazz went out of town for a band performance, he took THE phone.

And though this situation worked out really well, Jazz wanted his own phone. And again, we told him no. There was no NEED to have another phone – sharing the one phone was working out quite nicely, thank you very much.

To appease Jazz, I once again told him, “when you start high school, you can have your own phone.”

Hello high school.

So, here we are. Both boys are in high school. And though Dude still isn’t involved in any extra-curricular activities (and never ask him if he’s interested, you’ll get the “death” stare), Jazz absolutely needs his own phone. The kid has been, and will continue to be, non-stop busy with his music for the next four years.

Considering the boys rarely used their phone, they had a TON of minutes saved up. (We go through Virgin Mobile and do the pay as you go program). And since we knew Jazz would be using the phone much more than Dude, we designated the old phone Jazz’s and we bought Dude his own phone.

Dude once again changed when he got his phone. He started acting more grown up, more …. manly, I guess. He carries his phone with him every day and he’s been texting an old friend who moved to another school district over the summer. He’s even given his phone number to an old online chum (don’t worry. It’s all on the up-and-up).

And Dude is eligible to take his driver’s test next week (he won’t, but he’ll be eligible.) Which means, soon, very, very soon, Dude will NEED his cell phone because he’ll be out on his own.

That’s the only reason why our boys have cell phones now. Because they both NEED them. And I like to keep track of them, especially now that they will be doing their own things, separately and without me or Kevin.

Do your kids have their own cell phones? Why? What do you think about kids having cell phones?

5 thoughts on “When Should Your Child Get a Cell Phone?”

  1. My daughter (my husband’s from his first marriage) spends half the week with us, and the other with her mother. We had been vetoing the “I want a cellphone” issue until now. Her mother isn’t the most responsible person sometimes and I feel better knowing that she can reach us if needed.

    She’s just turned 12 and has a cheapie pay-as-you-go phone. Surprisingly, she’s been very responsible for it … though she texts me more than anyone else, LOL! (not that I mind :))

    She wanted an iPhone, so this was our compromise. My husband and I both have iPhone 3Gs and in a year will be eligible to upgrade. If she continues to be responsible and keep her grades up, she’ll get one of our older iPhones.

    (Of course she’s already told me that she wants mine because my games are better, LOL!)

  2. My son of 11 had to have a cell phone, of course he loses it more than he uses it…lol! But it is nice when he does have it on him especially when i need to get a hold of him… right? NOT. unfortuanately Alot of the time I call him and realize i hear it ringing in the other room, so really what good is it if he never takes it with him! We too do not have a landline phone, so gotta love it!~

    Thanks for your thoughts on children and cell phones!

    Have a great day!

  3. My daughter has had a cell phone for a few years now. I have to say that we do not have a traditional landline phone.

    My daughter is rather busy and involved with after school activities so this has been a nice way for us to keep in touch.

    And we can text each other too. I don’t recall life before cell phones.

    I use them quite a bit myself. I have been known to text a friend with football scores on Sunday while she is in church. And she responds. LOL

    Wishing you a scent-sational day!

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