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.
Debbie D. My oldest son was 12 1/2 & my youngest was 13 when they got theirs. Everyone's situation is unique. My oldest is now out school but my 8th grader doesn't take his phone to school & thankfully he's not too interested in it. Not yet anyways. ;) via Oswego Patch Facebook page
Debra S. Kids DO NOT need a cell phone for use during the day at school or after school practices! Schools have anywhere from 50-300 phones in the building which are allowed to be used for emergencies. Do not let your children fool you. It's merely a status symbol. They don't need them, and end up getting them stolen or using them during school which gets them in trouble. via Plainfield Patch Facebook page
Diane H. My kids got theirs when they started middle school & were spending more time at after school activities. Smart phones, while nice, aren't necessary and add to the expense. However I do suggest that you find a plan that has unlimited texting and save yourself the huge bill when they go over the limit (and they WILL!)lol via Bolingbrook Patch Facebook page
Sue B. I agree that it is about responsibility, not just age, but my question is who pays for these phones? We have a tight, tight budget, and I just can't see how families can afford monthly phone plans. My 11-year-old (soon to be 12) keeps asking us for a phone. My husband and I both have very basic phones. We can call and text and that's it. I think the peer pressure to keep up with the Jones' and the latest greatest technology is what feeds the phone frenzy. Families need more in person face-time. As far as the argument that the kids need the phone for activities and whatnot, I don't buy it (except for an emergency) if you need to pick up your kid at 5 from practice, then be there at 5 - worked for my parents may years ago. via Yorkville Patch Facebook page
Mark D. A basic cell phone, or a full-fledged smart phone? We bought our 11-year old a simple little cell phone because he now walks to school. All it has is voice and texting. That's all he needs. When and if he wants a smart phone he'll have to pay for it himself. Most likely 16 or so. I can't stand seeing little kids staring at smart phones. I wonder about the intelligence of the parents, honesty. via Joliet Patch Facebook page