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What age should I give my child a cell phone?

The irony in telling your child how times have changed and sounding just like your own parents is an undeniable part of being a parent. Over the past decade times went from slowly changing with fashions, pop culture, music and even transportation to a world that functions totally dependent on technology. Whether you have become a techie or despise the whole phenomenon, one commonly accepted device during this change has been the cell phone. While adults themselves are becoming attached and codependent on theirs, you may also find yourself wondering “at what age should I give my child a cell phone?”

Providing your child with their own cell phone actually has more benefits to it than the negative aspects. Giving your child a cell phone provides a level of safety that simply wasn’t available for youth in past generations. For example, when your child is out with friends, working a part time job or involved in after school activities, they can contact you for a ride home or simply if they will be later than anticipated. That rule also applies to you the parent should you be running behind schedule and need to notify your child of such changes. Many parents feel a bit more at ease when their children are in their teen years and begin to go out more with their friends; they begin driving or even perhaps dating. During these years teens strive for their freedom and parents are less reluctant to oblige them when they know they can call them and check in. image 17 What age should I give my child a cell phone?

Certainly with all the previously mentioned benefits, there are still a few valid concerns when issuing a cell phone to any child. The most common is for those teenagers that are of the age to drive as parents do not want them texting or making phone calls while driving. This is a dangerous combination when you mix an inexperienced driver with any form of distraction, but many parents have successfully gotten a hold of the situation with their teens. Inform your child that on the bill statement it displays the exact time when any texting or calls occur and that the first incident made while the child was commuting somewhere will certainly be their last. That pitch is very effective and it also controls the amount of use your child can have with their phone. Establish set times that cell phones are not to be utilized, such as at a specific time in the evenings and during family dinners.

If you can trust your child to be responsible and not to be careless with their phone at eleven years old, then go with your instinct and provide them with one. It may not be until your child is seventeen years old before you fully feel comfortable with them having one, regardless of the age you will need to monitor the use and if it appears to be under control then you made the right decision. A cell phone isn’t permanent it can certainly be taken off the child if it becomes as issue but most parents feel it lessens their stress load to provide another line of communication with their child to stay on top of the family schedules.

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