Today many children are increasingly having access to cell phones. It is not uncommon to see kids in the U.S. carrying a cell phone by the 4th grade. While not all children have mobile telephones this young, some parents decide to give their younger child a phone for many reasons.
There is no 'set' designated time a child should be given a cell phone. The age a child receives the privilege of carrying a phone should be individual decision and is likely to vary according to each family and child.
Several things should be considered when trying to determine whether or not your child is mature enough to handle a cell phone. It is entirely possible for a 10 year old to be responsible, but a 15 year old act completely irresponsible. Which child should get the cell phone? The older one or the more mature one?
Middle school seems to be a pretty good age to give a child a cell phone, if anything for peace of mind for the parent. At this age kids begin to get involved in extracurricular activities, clubs and spending time afterschool with their friends; having a cell phone makes it a lot easier to check in and be sure a child is safe. In the event of an emergency or other need to reach a parent, the child has a fast way to call.
When you are deliberating at what age to give your child a cell phone, there are a few factors to keep in mind which may help you come to a good decision. Here are some good considerations to think about before giving your child the privilege of a mobile phone:
* Maturity Level
Is your child matured enough to handle carrying a cell phone? Does (s)he appreciate proper usage of a phone and understand what is considered abuse?
A child who will abuse the privilege by constantly going over minutes, sending inappropriate text messages, or making prank calls is perhaps not mature enough, but one who will follow your set phone rules and not take advantage of having a phone is probably mature enough.
Carrying a cell phone carries responsibility and a child who tends to constantly lose things is probably not ready for a cell phone. There is not only the replacement costs of the phone to consider, but the misuse which could occur if someone else finds the phone and decides to take advantage and run up your cellular bill.
* Understands How To Use The Phone
A child who understands the concept of wasteful usage and good phone etiquette is likely ready for a phone. One who doesn't understand the purpose of a phone and perceives the cell as a toy is probably not ready to carry this responsibility.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to allowing a child the freedom to carry a cell phone. Every child is different and the child's personality and behavior should be a prime consideration when making this decision.
One of the biggest benefits of giving your child a cell phone is the high accessibility; you rarely will have to worry about your child knowing they are only a speed dial away; however, there are significant drawbacks as well. Before allowing your child to carry a cell phone, what's most important is you weigh out the pros and cons.