What Is The Right Age Or Circumstance To Give A Kid A Phone?

Young businessman talk on cell phone in a tie

What is the appropriate age to give a kid a phone? Or what circumstances make it ok to give a kid a phone? These are common questions I talk to parents and executives about on a regular basis. How young is too young is the magic question.

I know kids these days are getting iPod Touches or old hand-me-down iPhones at a young age but they are not hooked up to a cellular carrier. That is not what we are talking about today. How old should a kid be to get a hand-me-down iPhone connected to a cell phone carrier with their own phone number?

There is no exact age like Facebook that says kids need to be at least 13 years old to get an account. Parents don’t get any guidelines for this kind of thing. In many cases kids get phones because maybe they have a dance class or soccer practice that the parents don’t always attend so they could potentially be left alone and being 2015, should be able to call for a ride. In other cases kids get left home alone or go out with a friend or grandparent and the parents want to be able to reach the child. More and more people are giving up their land lines so there is not that static phone line always available at home or at a friends home they may be visiting.

What have you done with your kids or seen others do in these situations? With the gift giving season upon us this is going to be a topic of conversation with many parents.

Me personally… We let our kids play with our old iPhones but we’re considering putting an AT&T sim into one of them so our 8 year old will be reachable. We had an issue yesterday where we couldn’t reach my mother in law (who had the kids) because her phone was on silent. We weren’t worried but wanted to coordinate dinner plans. So we may just be “those” parents giving a 3rd grader a working cell phone.

One thought on “What Is The Right Age Or Circumstance To Give A Kid A Phone?

  1. Hey Jeb – As we have kids of a similar age, it’s an issue I face regularly, and am asked about as well.

    Recently my 7 year old asked for a SIM card in her iPod Touch (nee old iPhone 4S) and I asked her why. She said so she could call and text others. Then I told her none of her friends have one, to which she responded that they would once she got one! I flat out told her I was not going to be the one to start that ball rolling.

    The example you gave is a real one, and where Grandma would have the silent ringer on, the kid would have theirs playing Blank Space. That being said, I don’t think the kids are disciplined enough to work with the technology, and the iPod Touch is still a privilege, and one that is frequently taken away. Plus my 4 year old will take the iPad and say she wants to play a game, and next thing I know she is in Netflix watching Jake and the Never Land Pirates! I can only imagine what she’s like when she learns to fully read.

    Of course my response to this is subject to change, and it is a very fluid subject.


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