How old is ‘old enough’ for a cell phone?

It seems that “all of my daughters friends” have cell phones. Many of them have had a cell phone since they were 8-years-old! I have often asked, “How old should my daughter be before having a cell phone?” Twelve seemed like a good age.

And, does she really “need” a cell phone when she is rarely out of my sight, or she is with a trusted friend?

Yesterday it happened. I succumbed to the peer pressure and gave my 10-year-old a cell phone. I know. I know. What was I thinking? I said 12-years-0ld was the magic age for a cell phone.

Although 10-years-old seems really young to have a cell phone (she’s 4 months from being 11), this is how kids talk to each other today. Remember when you used the phone as a tween or teenager talking to your friends for hours even though you just saw them in school? I know very few people who have land lines and our kids must use our cell phones instead of using a house phone.

It was my old phone. I got a new phone, and adding her to the phone plan was free. (That was smart of AT&T. Get the kids hooked on cell phones early by giving it to them for free when they are young.)

But here’s the thing. This cell phone didn’t come without restrictions. I made her sign a Cell Phone Contract with her father and I. (I am a mean mommy.) There is nothing more irritating than receiving a text from one of her friends on my phone at 9:30 p.m. on a school night.

I found many samples of contracts online and then I revised the list to fit our family. I added stuff like…

  • no texting after 8 p.m. on a school night
  • no purchasing ringtones, games or music without my parents permission (although this option is turned off on her phone)
  • no allowing friends to use her phone to call home, make phone calls, send silly jokes or any other reason
  • no bullying, spreading rumors, gossip, etc.

Oh, she happily signed her life away because she r-e-a-l-l-y wanted a cell phone.

I would type out the complete contract I used but I “stole” it from another blog and I can’t remember where. Here are some other great example of Cell Phone Contracts are here.

At what age will you allow your kids to have a cell phone? Or, if you already have given them one…how old were they?

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