Barista Kids Poll: When Did/Will You Buy Your Child a Cellphone?

Some 75 percent of 12-17 year-olds own cellphones, up from 45% in 2004, according to a 2010 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The study also found that 58 percent of 12-year-olds had a cellphone, up from 18 percent in 2004.

When did/will you buy your child a cellphone? Take our poll and tell us why in comments. Was it because they started walking to school? Or did they hound you for one until you gave up?

Take our poll….

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10 COMMENTS

  1. I said between ages 11-12, but I’m not even sure about that. We’re lucky in that we don’t have terribly smart phones, so our kids aren’t particularly interested in them. We considered getting one, but the cost was exorbitant, and I would definitely not get my kids one until they could afford to buy it for themselves. A simple phone (if those exist by the time my kids are that age) will be fine for basic calls, but one that can surf the ‘net will have to be all their responsibility.

    My attitude comes from being a classroom teacher both pre- and post- cell phone use. Anyone who thinks their kid is *the one* who can resist texting or taking photos or video in class is fooling themselves. And anyone who thinks it doesn’t take away from class-time or affect test-taking is also full of hooey.

  2. Not until my children are old enough to be left by themselves. Until then (I’m assuming I will be ready for this in 6th grade) why in the world would they need one? So, I can brag to my friends that my child has a cell phone and therefore they will think I have $$? I think the state of my car says otherwise.

    I don’t give into my kids wants and needs for material things because they hound me. That is lazy parenting.

  3. My 9 year old really wanted one for Christmas. Way too young imho. I told her that I would get her one when I need to know where she was.

  4. I went to hear Rosalind Wiseman speak at Montclair Co-op School a couple of months ago (she’s the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, among other titles). It was a fantastic talk filled with helpful advice for the many, many parents who took it in. I got a lot from her fascinating presentation… two points on cell phones in particular. First, we give kids cell phones so they can use them when they are in trouble. The truth, says Wiseman, is that kids can get into a lot more trouble with a cell phone than without one. I buy that. Are our kids ever that far from a helpful adult who can assist them when needed? And if/when the answer is yes, they are and need the phone, we get to Wiseman’s second good idea about cell phones: instead of giving the child/adolescent their own cell phone, keep one in the kitchen drawer that is the “family” cell phone to be used on specific occasions when a parent gives the okay. She also advised that such a phone NOT have a text plan associated with it, as the possibilities of text bullying can and should be aggressively sidestepped however possible. Wiseman has a lot to say on the topic of technology with tweens and teens, so I would recommend a read through QBAW to every parent for some good counsel in these new and turbulent waters. I’m in no hurry to put one in my child’s hands.

  5. For us it was middle school. The kids had to learn that with the phone came accountability–they had to let us know where they were and answer it when we called or texted, or there’d be hell to pay.

  6. We got one for our girl when she went started 6th grade, and began walking home from school (sometimes). Along with practicing the approved route with her multiple times so that she’d know where to cross… we got her a basic phone that Christmas, “just in case”. Mostly she used it to call her dad and ask for a ride! LOL Now it has become important as she is involved in HS sports – whether it’s “Mom, practice ended early, can you pick us up *now*??”, or “Mom, I got a ride with so-and-so”, or “We are just passing Applegate’s so leave now” after a weekend bus ride home from an event. Sometimes it’s the really important text such as “Mom, can you get me this that and the other thing” while I am at ShopRite after work. She could probably borrow other kids’ phones for this stuff… but I do like being able to reach her.

    My 8th grader clearly does not need a phone since we now live so close to the middle school that it would really be quite ridiculous. He’s basically never anyplace that I can’t reach him, and although he wants a phone desperately (to keep up with the Joneses), now that we figured out that he can text from his iPod touch at home on our wi-fi, I think we can put it off a little longer.

    What’s interesting is, I don’t know how my folks survived not knowing where I was at all times. When I was small-ish, I could be anywhere in the neighborhood and only had to be home when the streetlight came on (yes, really.) And then, even more so after I got my license! Times a-changin, I guess.

  7. LOL Roo !
    That’s what a good set of lungs are for!

    of course, maybe from under the porch the sound doesn’t travel as well…

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