• 0    


                                      (This article is reprinted with permission from Dr. Lawrence E. Shapiro, Ph.D.)

    Q: "When is the Right Age to Get a Child A Cell Phone?"  

    A: As parents, this question is coming up more and more. When we were growing up, there were no cell phones. When they did appear, cell phones were often used in cars only.  Nowadays, we see personal cell phone use by kids growing at a rapid pace. Oftentimes I hear parents asking about what they should do when it comes to cell phones. Certainly, cell phone use is a safety issue. On the other hand, many schools have strict rules about cell phone use by students. Cell phone calls interrupt learning at school.  Make sure you are "in the know".  Read the article below to get some ideas.  

    Q: My 10-year old son is desperate for a cell phone. He says he needs it to call me in an emergency, or if his soccer practice runs late, or if he gets abducted by pirates (I think he's kidding about this). I tell him he's still too young. When is the right age to get a child a cell phone?

    A: Most professionals believe that you should postpone getting your child a cell phone until they really need it, and the parents I talk to say that it is between 11 and 15. In a 2006 online poll by the computer review site CNET.com, many responders suggested that one benchmark for teens getting a cell phone would be when they can pay for it themselves. Most parents agree that by the time a teen starts driving, he should certainly have a cell phone for emergencies.  A February 2006 Consumer Report noted that 1 out of 3 children in the 11-14 group own a cell phone, and with more phones being marketed to kids every month, I would think this number is climbing fast.

    The problems in giving kids cell phones too young include: the expense; it can be lost; it could mark the child as a victim for theft; it could give kids yet another electronic gadget which will take the place of exercise and play as well as face-to-face interaction. While there has been no hard evidence that frequent cell phone use has been linked to brain tumors in adults, as once speculated, there have been no studies to test the effects of cell phone use on the developing brain of a child.

    Your child can tell you all the advantages of having a cell phone--and some of them are real. Nothing can replace a cell phone in an emergency. Children in separated families might find a cell phone the best way to communicate with each parent and navigate their often complicated schedules. Some phone companies are promoting phones as better ways for parents to keep track of kids--including using GPS technology to locate your child (or at least his phone), and most phones for kids have a variety of controls restricting their use.

      Ultimately, you should make your decision on your child's "responsibility age," not his chronological age. Your child will be ready for a cell phone when he takes care of things, helps around the house without being reminded, manages his money, and shows concern for how his behavior affects others.

    -Lawrence E. Shapiro, Ph. D

    Lawrence E. Shapiro, Ph. D, is an internationally-known child psychologist specializing in the emotional intelligence of children and teens. He has written many books, and developed over 100 therapeutic games. You may access his website and other parenting information at www.askdrshapiro.blogspot.com   or sign up for his newsletter at http://www.instanthelpbooks.com/s.nl/it.I/id.3/.f

    Articles printed here are not endorsed by the WS/FC school system, but are for your ideas and information only.


Last Modified on March 18, 2020