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Hey, Mom and Dad. When Should Kids Get Their First Cell Phone?

Parents, Patch wants to hear from you on the questions that get families talking.

Welcome to "Hey, Mom and Dad"—a weekly feature in which we ask our Facebook fans to share their views on parenting. Every week we get the conversation started by taking a look back at a question we asked parents the week before on Patch Facebook pages from around the area:

Your child is 10 years old and insists he needs a cell phone in his life to keep him safe and in constant contact with his friends. What do you do? Run out and put him on the family plan? Or, tell him to wait until he can get a job and pay for it himself? That leads us to this week's question:

What is the appropriate age for kids to have their first cell phone?

Take a look at what people had to say and join the conversation in the Comments section.

Margaret Postmus VerVelde: Freshman year for sure. My youngest got one in 8th grade so we could keep track of her while she was at club volleyball. —on Palos Patch Facebook

Cindy Eskra- Fogu: When they can pay for it. —on Palos Patch Facebook

Diane Pijus-Bolda: When they are a freshmen. And I definitely would not be buying them an IPHONE. on Palos Patch Facebook

Ashley Stachniak: My parents gave me a cell phone when I got my license. And when I didn't answer their calls I got the phone and my keys taken away! —on Tinley Park Patch Facebook

Mia Novoa: As soon as my son can afford to pay his own cell phone bill, he can have his own phone. Until then, he can use the house phone or my phone to talk to his friends. That's how I was raised too. —on Tinley Park Patch Facebook

Denise Ardisana-Tubeszewski: my son plays sports he never gets out at same time after practice so the phone saves me time sitting at the school. —on Tinley Park Patch Facebook

Larry Klein: I gave my kids phones when they learned how to drive. So 16. Each month they got $25 worth of service. If they ran out of service they either put more money on their phone, or they couldnt drive the car. They learned a lot from this practice. —on Homewood-Flossmoor Patch Facebook

Kate Duff: I think also this is one of those areas where parental modeling is really important. If your phone is just about surgically attached to your ear and you can't get through a meal without texting somebody about it, you can't really blame your kids if that's how they think phones should be used. And Jen, I agree about the phones being for the parent — the peace of mind in knowing my kids can always get in touch with me is SO worth it. —on Homewood-Flossmoor Patch Facebook

Rami SteadyMobbin Sneineh: It will teach them responsibilty, however could cause a major distraction from education and family time. There must be a limit in using it, like no phone allowed during dinner and homework time. —on Orland Park Patch Facebook

So what's your take? Do kids need a cell phone before they're old enough to pay for it themselves? Tell us in the comments below.

Titan Dad October 03, 2012 at 01:35 AM
my friend gave his 9 year old son one when he started going to the second mile camp. kept getting butt dialed and heard rhythmic slapping sounds though.
Chronicles of Bob October 03, 2012 at 01:58 AM
To Soon?
Kathy Smith October 06, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Hopefully all you parents that are saying NO to cell phones will stand by your decision, I have seen ALOT of parents give into their kids, cause this is where our society is now. Buy/ give your kids everything they want!! Really makes hard on the other parents that are instilling rules and boundaries, parents need to be parents, it's okay to tell your kids NO!
NANCY GRACE October 08, 2012 at 11:20 AM
No phones until 18
Lisa Kuban December 05, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I gave my children cell phones once they understood how to use them. They take them whenever they are away from us and we have a standard rule if you are ever anyplace you feel uncomfortable you excuse yourself, go to the bathroom and text us that you want to come home. We will come get you and make up an excuse so that there are no hard feelings with whom you were with and so we can handle the situation at home. These days you never know what goes on in other people's homes, how coaches are with kids etc. It is a safety issue. My son's bus was in an accident when he was in kindergarten. After 45 min of waiting for the bus to arrive and still no answers as to the reason for the delay from the school we got a call from the officer on the scene. My son handed him the cell phone with my number on it and said can you call my mom to come get me. We were at the scene by the time the school notified us of the accident. The officer told me how impressed he was that my son knew exactly what to do and that when he finished calling me he offered his phone to other children to call their parents. He was scared so he called. That is why my children have them. If they are at a friends and the older siblings are being mean or the parents are fighting or their friend wants them to go someplace they aren't allowed they txt us and we call say we forgot we had plans and are coming to get them. It all works out well.

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