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View Poll Results: What age should a child get a cell phone?
Younger than 12 (when?) 3 37.50%
12 2 25.00%
13 0 0%
14 0 0%
15 1 12.50%
16 1 12.50%
17 1 12.50%
Voters: 8. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-30-2020, 11:46 PM   #1
Andrew NDB
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What age should kids get a cell phone these days?



In there here and now. What say you? If it was your kid?

For me, I'd always told my daughter, "when you turn 12, is my vote." But now she's knocking on 13.

For me, there's a variety of factors to consider. If she is provided with one... should her mom and I both have access to it at a moment's notice to make sure she's not, like, being hit on by creepers or otherwise up to no good? Should we just trust her? I'm pretty sure if myself or her mom handed her a phone that only enabled her to call us in emergencies or "approved" friends or associates and not much else, she'd just be like, "Don't bother. I don't want it, then."

Does having a cell phone at 12-13 even have the same stigma it did 5 or 10 years ago? As in, "Sh**, they're going to end up in human trafficking next month if I allow that!" or is it... more normalized? I don't have my finger much on the pulse of this anymore and I'd hardly want to come off as some kind of curmudgeon of the Dark Ages.
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:00 AM   #2
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Younger but with no functionality just for call and text or something.
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:03 AM   #3
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I can't speak from experience as a parent, but I do think it's more normalized now. I know there are kids who get phones at suuuper young ages, but amongst my friends I think 13 is pretty common. It's the age that you can legally start your own social media account.

I believe there are parental activity tracking apps that you can use if you want to be cautious. I have one HS classmate who 100% stalks and checks every single bit of activity her kids do on their phones and, frankly, it comes off as being pretty terrible behavior.

Giving them a phone can be a good teaching opportunity for what is good online behavior. Let them start an Instagram or TikTok (kids are generally too bored with Facebook), but with the requirement that you have to follow their account. (Keep in mind that "finstas" are a thing--an account that is hidden from parents--but if you're vigilant you can probably snoop out anything like that.)

While it's less of an issue right now since no one is going anywhere due to COVID, I feel like having the ability to instantly contact them in any situation (or vice versa) would outweigh any of the possible negatives.
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:03 AM   #4
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Best to give it as late as possible, and the phone that only calls family members and approved friends like you mentioned would be the absolute best case scenario.

We can't trust all of these Silicon Valley Tech Giants to have our children's best interests in mind, and what better way to feed children their propaganda than through a portable machine that they will likely be glued to for hours on end?

I mean, people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were severely restrictive on their kids using smartphones. What do they know about about phones that we don't? It's actually quite scary to think about.
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Old 12-01-2020, 05:07 AM   #5
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Is there an age when people learn to hold their phone to their ear instead of flat, and using speaker, as if the public wants to hear both sides of the conversation?

Related, why am I suddenly hearing the other side of calls loudly broadcast from cars? That seems like such a terrible idea.
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Old 12-01-2020, 06:03 AM   #6
frank_one
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13 is the right age. Trust her, let her grow. But be there whenever she needs help, make sure she knows you will be there.
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Old 12-01-2020, 08:03 AM   #7
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Phones are for emergencies. With the tracker on it you can know where your kid is at any time when they're at school or traveling alone. Likewise if you kid(s) get in trouble, get lost, etc. they can easily call you to pick them up.

It's funny, I didn't get a cell phone until I was literally in college. I went all of High school without one, and I think I got my first phone around...20? But then again I was born in the 80's, so our generation didn't grow up with mobile phones.

I've always wondered, can't kids easily cheat on tests with phones these days? You can just look at your phone under your desk and look up all the answers for a test easily online. And I always wondered how kids could honestly not look up porn or anything else on their phones these days at school unless their parents blocked stuff, because I know my generation would have done it if we had phones back then.
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Old 12-01-2020, 08:18 AM   #8
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Kids of tech giants have the tech limited to their kids, I feel I'd take a similar approach. Lazy parents just give the phones to kids earlier and earlier so they'll stop bothering them. Keep them busy and they won't need a phone all the time. Let them learn technology instead of using technology to make them stupid. When I deal with teenagers they mention they know tech because they're young but they aren't tech savvy, they just know how to swipe the phone and use certain apps but they're tech illiterate really.

You aren't also going to socially gimp your kids by not letting them have phones, it's like those parents who didn't allow video games when I was a kid or TV before that. Balance in everything is key, luckily I think by the time I have kids who are of that age the phone dilemma will be a thing of the past, I'll have to worry about them using VR instead. Smart hones are ancient if you think about it, I got my first iphone in 2008 I think, over a decade ago! People still act like a new smart phone is some type of revolutionary device.
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:00 AM   #9
CyberCubed
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People are really showing their age on this forum considering the 30-40 year old average age here.

As sdp said, it's like if our generation didn't get exposed to TV or computers when we were young. Cell phones are for everyone. This is like a, "Well back in my day" thing...when your grandparents said, "Why do I need a computer? The phone book and encyclopedia's are just as good dangnabbit!"
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberCubed View Post
People are really showing their age on this forum considering the 30-40 year old average age here.

As sdp said, it's like if our generation didn't get exposed to TV or computers when we were young. Cell phones are for everyone. This is like a, "Well back in my day" thing...when your grandparents said, "Why do I need a computer? The phone book and encyclopedia's are just as good dangnabbit!"
Lol true.

Get with the program old dudes.
Kids need the phones, the world is moving foward maybe y'all should do the same..

Now I'm gonna go make a Tik Tok vid at my age...
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Old 12-01-2020, 11:23 AM   #11
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My twin boys are seven years old right now. I think probably around 11-12 years old is when I'll want them to have a phone. It was at that I age that I would be wandering town with my friends. So my parents wouldn't have known exactly where I was, if they needed to get a hold of me. The age they are at right now, I know that they're with an adult.

Last edited by ABrown; 12-01-2020 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:35 PM   #12
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If I had a daughter, "When she's old enough to pay for it." Sh*tty as it is to say, but boys can have a longer leash. Perverts and coke parties are less of a factor for boys. I'd rather be "The Strict Dad" than get a call that they found my daughter in a ditch somewhere.

You should absolutely have the right to review their phone but try not to abuse the right, because that can breed resentment. But I can't tell you how many stories I've read about girls who definitely would've been sex trafficked if their Mom or Dad hadn't "abused their authority" by checking their phones. Why take the risk?

Every single teenage girl is going to have some pervert messaging them, sending them dick pics and/or trying to get them to meet up. It's the parent's job to keep them safe and protect them, and that mean you can't be "nice" about it all the time. It's a given that they're going to lie to you about who they're talking to, where they're going, etc. etc., that was all true even before cell phones. But the horror stories are all out there, and most of them have some variant of "I didn't check my kid's phone because I wanted to be their friend." There's no reason to take chances and give them a long leash. It doesn't matter how good you raised them, teenagers are going to make terrible decisions no matter what; it's the parents' job to mitigate the damage as much as possible by any means necessary. They can be your "friend" when they grow up.

Part of why I never wanted kids is so I wouldn't have to deal with that kinda crap. I have a niece, she's 21 now and knowing what I know of all the sh*t she got up to a few years ago, all I can say is 1. I'm glad she's not dead, and 2. Glad she's not my kid.

I don't know man. Nothing good comes from this, but I understand there's a strong peer pressure element to it. I just don't think being "Cool Dad" is as important as making sure your kid is safe. But that's me.
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:39 PM   #13
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Frankly, I don't see why kids need a phone before they're old enough to drive.
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Old 12-01-2020, 01:01 PM   #14
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Yep. It's mostly just a status thing, which shouldn't be encouraged anyway.

One of the promoters I used to work for has a daughter who just went off to college. He raised her by himself after her Mom got all drugged out and left them. They're extremely close and always have been. Until she turned 18, no cell phone and no social media. She's very pretty, so that was wise. Even when she was like 13 and coming to the wrestling shows there were creeps whispering "Man, can't wait to hang out with her in five years", so it was good that these people literally had no access to even talk to her. If she'd had a cell phone and a FB, you can only imagine what might have happened.

They're fine, she and her Dad. Best friends. Honor student, about as well-adjusted kid as I've ever seen. Now, to be fair, it "helped" that her Mom was a druggie and she saw at a very young age what that stuff leads to, and that her Dad smartened her up early on that "All guys are f*cking perverts", so she was always a pretty sharp kid anyways. And her Dad wasn't an ogre but definitely very strict. He once very politely chastised me on his own FB when I wished her a Happy Birthday by name, he PM'ed me and said "Thanks very much, she saw your message but I had to delete it because I don't allow anyone to reference her by name in public. I take zero chances on any creeps getting in touch with her. By all means re-post it without using her name, hope you understand." And I told him yeah, I absolutely understand and that he's a good dude for being so vigilant, because I totally do get it. But anyways, no cell phone, no social media, and she turned out fine and they're best friends. So it can happen.

Meanwhile, when she was a teenager my niece had both a cell phone and a FB page. To be fair, she wasn't AS bad or get in AS much trouble as some kids do, but still. Drugs, drinking, sex with creeps and older guys... would it have happened anyway? Maybe, but having a phone and social media definitely made it a LOT easier, and that's from her own mouth. She got herself straightened out more or less, thank God, but given her own honest admissions about what she used to get up to and How/Why, I really can't see much upside in taking a lenient approach to stuff like this. Lord knows what might have happened to her if she was just a little bit dumber or less careful.

Better safe than sorry, says I. Falls way hard on the wrong side of the "Risk/Reward" Equation. What's the upside of a teenage girl having a cell phone? You get to be Cool Parent and their friends accept her as "cool and hip". Hooray. Compared to everything ELSE that can go really badly wrong, and does go wrong Every Single Day? Yikes. No f*cking Bueno.

I know I come off as like, super old-fashioned with this kinda thing. Full Disclosure, several girls (and women) in my family were raped and/or sexually assaulted, some of them as teenagers and some of them as grown women. Absolutely any steps taken to minimize that risk can only be a good thing in my opinion. Especially when they're at their most vulnerable period of life and prone to making terrible decisions.
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Old 12-01-2020, 05:17 PM   #15
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12 or 13 sounds like a good age, imo. Not a bad thing to use for a small right of passage and a push toward a little maturity with a requirement to behave responsibly.

Preferably one of the cheaper ones though, if you ask me. People who give kids phones that cost hundreds (save for those who got a deal that offered one for free)...no comment. No way would I have been allowed to own something so costly. lol As it was, I had to beg at age 12 to be allowed to have a regular inexpensive house phone for my room. (One of those cool transparent ones, remember those?) And now of course tablets are even common for toddlers... I guess someday when cars are all self driving kids can also have them and at younger and younger ages? Sad that we're getting old enough to act like old grumps wondering what has become of the world and "the youth today." lol

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Old 12-15-2020, 09:12 PM   #16
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I have a less than 1.5 years old kid and I will say he will be permitted to have a limited functionality phone only for calls as younger as possible. Maybe 6,7 years old. You don't know when if something emergency will happen.

For smart phones, I hope it will last forever that he will not using it but I know it is impossible. I myself is not into smart phone, social media is mostly "tittytainment" and only make you stupid if without correct guidance and good sense of judgment. Instead of using smart phones it is better to do things have more meanings. I am worried about my son because my mother in law is a mindless and reckless woman who is so obsessed into subscription of stupid social media accounts and just throw a book to my son and she's just watching phones. Children learn role model from guardians, and she's definitely the bad model.
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Old 12-16-2020, 11:03 AM   #17
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It's very very hard for me to generate any kind of sound or informed opinion on this one, man. I could go either way, but lean towards later, but that isn't right either.

I know it's only a phone, but with everything that can come with it, that's a legit family by family parental call.

Ummm... no pun intended. LOL Seriously that happened by accident...
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Old 02-16-2021, 08:28 PM   #18
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I don't know, man. I got my first mobile phone when I was 10. The good ol Nokia 3210. But that was back in the year of 2000. What else could you do on that phone to kill time besides playing Snake?

But I did have access to the Internet at home by then alrwady. And it's not like my family supervised my Internet browsing constantly. We didn't stick very long with dialup, so it's not like they'd know how much I was browsing once we switched to broadband. And believe me, I quickly ran into rather... compromising fanart of my favourite cartoon characters from a few clicks on yahoo search by accident. It didn't exactly scar me for life.

Social media is a whole different animal, however. Back in the day my mother warned me to avoid chatrooms for my own safety. Chatrooms were the places people went to talk to strangers back in the day, but they were also easy to avoid if you weren't interested in them. The Internet is way more centralised nowadays and everything is based around social media. Chatrooms were very popular, but the Internet wasn't based around them. If you wanted to know what was happening in the country or around the world you were better off just turning on the TV or buy a newspaper.

If I was a kid nowadays I bet my mum would warn me not to share pics of myself in twitter and not to upload videos of myself onto YouTube. Just like she used to tell me back in the day not to reveal my real name or location to strangers online. I'm sure I'd understand her advice and follow it.
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Old 02-16-2021, 11:15 PM   #19
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It's different with guys. The internet is 99% creeps.

My wife gets hit on literally every day, and not for nothing but ever since she got hurt a few years back and put on weight she's not exactly a supermodel. I'm not being mean or anything, she's the first person to say the same thing. But 99% of her FB friend requests or Instagram messages are guys trying to creep on her. Every day, we're sitting here and her phone pings and she starts laughing and then she's like "Oh my GOD, it's another one. Listen to THIS idiot..." And then she strings them along until they admit why they're trying to talk to her and then she Blocks them. If they're really pushing their luck she'll report them to whoever, also.

And she's a 30-something married woman who chooses Profile pictures specifically to discourage those types of people from bothering her, but it's still a constant thing anyway.

So knowing what I know... if I had a daughter, there's not a CHANCE she'd be anywhere near the internet until she was at least 17 or 18. Call me what you will, I don't care; I wouldn't be inclined to more or less hang a sign around my kid's neck saying "I'm a dumb naive kid, come kidnap and rape me and bury me in a ditch somewhere." It's not that boys don't have to worry about predators, either, or even just creeps, but it's hundreds of times worse with girls.

I've just seen way too much to have a passive attitude about this sort of thing. So my hypothetical kid would hate me for being a boring, controlling, hyper-paranoid parent. She'd eventually thank me when she was a grown-up and didn't have any memories of being locked in a van by some lunatic she met in a chatroom.
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Old 02-16-2021, 11:23 PM   #20
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No, wait, you're right. I hadn't thought of that. It's indeed easier for guys and I'm taking it for granted. My bad.
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