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Kids and Cell Phones

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Updated May 16, 2009

A cell phone can seem like an almost essential accessory for tweens and teens today.

A cell phone can seem like an almost essential accessory for tweens and teens today.

Photo by Scott Dunlap

Cell phones are popular with kids, especially tweens and teens.

In our family, there are two very differing opinions on this issue. Our eight year old wants a cell phone already, which isn't too bad, because it distracts him from the fact that he also wants a dog, but I don't think he needs one yet.

At what age are kids ready for their own cell phone?

At what age do they 'need' one?

Latest Developments

Many schools, including those in New York City, are banning cell phones, so your child may not be able to have or use the phone during the time when he is most likely to be away from home.

The Firefly Phone, which is a popular 'first phone' for younger kids, is now available with pay as you go and monthly plans. Although the Firefly Phone is a 'real, functional cell phone,' pre-teens and teens likely won't think so, and they will probably want a regular cell phone.

Other new phones for younger kids that allow a lot of parent control include Enfora's TicTalk, which includes educational games from LeapFrog, and Wherify Wireless Wherifone GPS Locator phone.

And of course Apple's iPhone is the latest must have phone for kids.

Background

Unlike other parenting problems, most of us can't really think back to our own childhood to see how our parents handled this issue. After all, cell phones weren't around when most of us were kids.

For many parents, a cell phone just seems like something else that their kids will nag them about getting, such as an iPod, Xbox, Wii, or new laptop.

Teens and tweens likely see the cell phone issue differently, imagining that getting a cell phone is a step towards independence and a status symbol among their friends.

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