Welcome to "Hey, Mom and Dad"—a weekly feature in which we ask our Facebook fans to share their views on parenting. Every week we get the conversation started by taking a look back at a question we asked parents the week before on Patch Facebook pages from around the area:
Your child is 10 years old and insists he needs a cell phone in his life to keep him safe and in constant contact with his friends. What do you do? Run out and put him on the family plan? Or, tell him to wait until he can get a job and pay for it himself? That leads us to this week's question:
What is the appropriate age for kids to have their first cell phone?
Take a look at what people had to say and join the conversation in the Comments section.
Wendy F. I can see very basic (and durable) phones for kids once they are in very late grade school or junior high - largely to communicate with their parents. In high school - I can see a more sophisticated phone - but I really don't think kids should be given top-of-the-line cell phones (like iPhones) until they are out of high school. They are very rough on them - and they don't need all the bells/whistles. It drives me nuts when you go out and see kids 7 and 8 years old - with iPhones (which they don't put down even at meals out with their families). Today's kids are way TOO wired. They need to learn to communicate other than by texting or Facebook updates! via Woodridge Patch Facebook page
Debbie A. It all depends on the use. Latch key kids should have them. via Downers Grove Patch Facebook page
Paul J. I believe it depends on the maturity level of the kid, not so much the age. My wife and I got our a son a cellphone when he was nine. He's eleven now. Nothing fancy, just a simple phone for calling and texting. No Internet connection either. The phone was free and it's $10 a month on our plan. Makes me feel better knowing he has it when he goes out. via Darien Patch Facebook page
Gavin Q. Our rule was no phone until college unless you paid for it yourself. As far as for safety when going places, I got to borrow Mom's phone. lol. I thought it sucked at the time, but I'm glad they did it. It made me appreciate the phone a lot more when I finally got one. via Lemont Patch Facebook page
Chris H. When they can pay towards the bill! via Western Springs Patch Facebook page