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Mom's Talk Q & A: How Young is Too Young for a Cell Phone?

The Greenfield and Greendale Mom's Councils weigh in on a parenting topic every week, and you're encouraged to join the conversation.

OK, so last week's Mom's Talk Q & A question was heavy, and judging by the number of comments received, .

So, this week we're lightening it up a bit, but still asking a question on a lot of parents' minds. We're talking about cell phone usage among teens. 

But don't let the Patch editors and Mom's Council members do all the "talking." Jump into the conversation below and give us your thoughts on the topic. Agree with what someone said? Let them know you feel the same way. Disagree in a big way? We want to know that as well.

Don't be shy. Tell us what you think.

This week's question...

How young is too young for a child to have a cell phone? And what kind of parameters should be set when that child gets his/her first phone?

Viviana Buzo March 24, 2011 at 03:30 AM
Does anyone think phones are good learning tools, like the iPhone or androids? My 4-year-old niece uses my iPhone and know how to find the games she wants. Scary.
David Cotey March 24, 2011 at 01:49 PM
Hey moms, not to change the subject, but my wife and her friends are pretty fired up about this "study." Check it out and let me know what you think. http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/parenting/ready-study-says-moms-job-making-kids-fat-2448394
Melanie O'Brien March 24, 2011 at 02:40 PM
My Twitter friends & I were just discussing this subject. My 10yo keeps asking when can she get a phone. I keep telling her, "when you need one". Right now, she doesn't go anywhere without an adult so I see no need. However, when she does get a phone, vigilance will be necessary. My friends who have teens with phones say it is especially important to monitor text messages. They say they block numbers from people who send inappropriate, or in their words, disgusting messages. Gosh, I'm so not ready to have a teenager!
Cheryl Sanders March 25, 2011 at 01:56 PM
I think having a cell phone should be based on the individual child's maturity level and if they need one. My two boys who are in middle school each have a cell phone. The younger one wanted one when he was in fifth grade, because his older brother had one. However, since he really didn't go anywhere at that age without an adult, we felt there was no need for him to have one. Now that they are a little older and like to hang out with their friends or participate in after-school activities/events, it's more important that they have phones so I can reach them or they can call me if they need to. At this point, they do not have access to the Internet on their phones, as I see no need for them to spend time browsing the web or playing games on their phones. I would rather they do that kind of thing at home on our computer where we can more closely monitor their activities online. I also feel it's important to periodically check their phones for inappropriate usage.
Lynn March 26, 2011 at 04:15 PM
Re: the question, when do you stop checking texts....I believe if your child is under 18 and/or mom and dad are paying the cell phone bill, as responsible parents you should still check text messages randomly. More often for the younger child so you can teach phone safety and etiquette. But as your child gets older, if there are changes in their behavior - school grades - or you just have a feeling something is not right, it is your duty to check the texts and emails to make sure your child is safe and not involved in any situation you need to be aware of.

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