Posted on June 23rd, 2011 in Media Addiction, Parents Stories | 2 Comments

When is an appropriate age for cell phone ownership?  I feel as though when I am out in public that the kids running around texting and using cell phones is getting younger and younger.  I am afraid that my six year old is going to be asking for one at her next birthday.  All kidding aside, there is more here than just status image or responsible cell phone usage.  Cell phones give kids a way to communicate with one another that is completely unedited..  There are many different issues with basic cell phones, however, now that cell phones can access the web there are a variety of new problems that arise with their ownership as well as their usage.

A few problems that I have come across with parents, educators and other minors are;

  • Sexting
  • Bullying via texting as well as other online avenues, i.e Facebook.
  • Gaming Addictions
  • Texting While Driving
  • Texting Addiction

It is hard for parents to be able to monitor who their children are talking to, and what is being said, because even the most diligent parents can’t access deleted texts, and can’t monitor communication via the phone.

Dr. Claire McCarthy a primary care physician at the Children’s Hospital Boston, recently ran into the cell phone issue with her 10-year-old, complete with itemized notes, explaining the reasons whey she should be given a cell phone.  As Dr. McCarthy states in her blog, and we have posted here at the MVRC, a 2009 Kaiser Family Foundation report says 31 percent of 8-10 year olds have cell phones.

Some of the issues I raised above were on the doctor’s mind, as she and her husband considered the request.  In addition to the above, they correctly considered an early exposure to the low-level radiation from a cell phones.  As well, the real driver behind their daughter’s motivation, fitting in with what is considered “cool”.  In the end, they decided against giving their 10 year old a cell phone.

Do any other parents have stories to share, and how they’ve considered this 21st Century parenting dilemma?  We’d love to hear from you.


2 thoughts on “Kids and Cell Phones: How Young Is Too Young

  1. Char says:

    I have three kids ages 15, 13 and 9. All three have cell phones. Even though the 9 year old has one, it tends to be on my desk and lacking a charge 90% of the time. She doesn’t seem to be interested in using it, except when she spends the night at a friend’s house or is somewhere without me.

    I believe that kids will use cell phones responsibly if you as a parent set and enforce the guidelines from day one. I frequently pick up the phones of my older kids – I read their text messages and look at their call logs. So far, so good.

    1. Amanda says:

      I am glad that there are other proactive parents out there, but I have a question. How do you know that when you are checking your child’s phone that there aren’t texts that are deleted, or that the call history hasn’t been edited? I just wonder that for parents that check their children’s phones, if these children are more apt to edit what they are doing and saying BECAUSE they know you are checking. Also, when your 9 year old goes to a sleepover, why does she take a cell phone? Do you think that there won’t be a phone for her to use there? I am just wondering for my own good for when my daughter starts to go to sleepovers! The world that our children are growing up in now is completely different than the world that we grew up in! Thanks for your comment, I appreciate your story!

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