What is the Right Age to Give Your Child a Cell Phone?

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What is the right age to give your child a cell phone? Technology brings with it a lot of great things but it also has its drawbacks as well.   I use technology every day with my job and at home.  I really cannot imagine life without it most of the time.   Like most kids, my children want what their friends have and as soon as their friends got cell phones, they started asking me for one.  In my case, many of their friends got cell phones around the age of twelve.

What is the right age to give your child a cell phone?

AT&T conducted a study of 1,000 parents and 500 kids – ages 8-17 – on a variety of topics that relate to mobile phones, devices, and other issues.  Many of you have probably either asked or been asked…what the right age to give a child a mobile phone? While no one can really say what’s “right” –  the average age is 12.1. Kids’ first phones by age group:

  • Age 8-11 – average age 9.5 yrs
  • Age 12-14 – average age 11.3 yrs
  • Ages 15-17 – average age 13.3 yrs

Of kids who have mobile phones, 34% have smartphones. Percentage of smartphone adoption by age group:

  • Age 12-14 – 35% have smartphones
  • Age 15-17 – 37% have smartphones

What parents are concerned about in their kids’ use of mobile phones:

  • 89% are worried about texting and driving
  • 67% are concerned about bullying text messages
  • 69% are concerned about sexually suggestive messages
  • 77% are worried about their kids receiving calls from unknown numbers.

Just the facts

What I found interesting is how those worries related to what was actually happening, according to kids:

  • Over HALF have been in a car with someone who was texting and driving
  • Over 1 in 5 have received a mean text message
  • Almost half have a friend who received a sexual picture or message
  • 69% have received a call from an unknown number.

With this information, it looks like parents really are worrying for a good reason.  These things are happening to our children.   What’s even scarier is that only 66% of kids said they had rules on their phone usage but 90% said they would be OK with their parents setting rules.   An interesting fact is that 93% of kids do have rules on their phones at school.  This might make for an easy opportunity for parents to set rules at home if they don’t already have them.

2 of 5 kids say their parents have not talked to them about mobile safety, and they are more likely to have heard from their parents about stranger danger, alcohol and drugs and sex education that these issues. While these are the standard safety issues that kids learn about from their parents and at school, these other issues are a reality for kids in today’s world.

So, what is the right age to give your child a cell phone?

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Comments

  1. Kristin Wheeler (MamaLuvsBooks) says
    Sounds like an interesting party! A lot to discuss!!!
  2. Elizabeth L says
    Those are some pretty interesting stats! I'll have to try and make it to the Twitter party, thanks!
  3. Will not miss it
  4. My son is 7 and thinks he needs one. I say not for a few more years! He's always with me anyway! Who does he need to call? LOL.
  5. Those are some interesting facts. I don't think I got my own cell phone until I was 16? 17? 

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