I Got My Preteen a Cell Phone


pre-teen cell phone“Mommy, I want a cell phone. Can I please have one?” my 11-year-old daughter asked. “Oh, and it has to be the latest iPhone.” I looked at her strangely. The sheer fact that she called me ‘Mommy’ instead of ‘Mom’ was clue #1 that she was too young for a cell phone. 

“Sophia, you do not need a cell phone. Who are you going to call?!”

And that is when she hit me with every kid’s most favorite phrase, “But all my friends have one!” After that, I could hear my mother in my head saying every parent’s response, “If all your friends jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you?!”

It was a discussion my husband and I were having over the last six months… should we get our daughter a cell phone? I was not on board with this. She is only 11! What does an 11-year-old need with their own personal cell phone? She could communicate with her friends at school. She didn’t need rides anywhere. She took the bus to school and the local YMCA, and she was never home alone.

The problem was that my cell phone contract was going to run out before the beginning of the next school term. And now, finally, after living on the planet for 38 years, my husband decided he wanted one. That would be the end of the house phone as he would take the number as his own.

I still debated this. My husband and I could easily get cell phones without adding our daughter, but in the end, we got her a cell phone (not the latest iPhone) which has actually proven to be very convenient.

The Benefits of My Daughter Having a Cellphone:

  • Pick-up from after-school activities. She is in Middle School now, and things are way more lenient when it comes to who picks up your child. They basically have free range. She decided to perform in the school’s theater production this fall, including staying after school for rehearsals. There were several times my husband and I had to pick her up, and because she did not have a cell phone yet, there were instances where we showed up too early or too late.
  • Checking in when she is not at home. There is an ease of texting her when she is at my parents, my in-laws, or a friend’s house. She will not feel the need to lie about how she is through a private text instead of talking over the phone.
  • Checking in with her when I am traveling for work. Instead of asking my husband if my daughter has done all her homework, eaten and bathed, I text her.
  • Getting cute messages since she is not a teenager and full of angst yet, I still get many adorable “I love you” or “I miss you” texts and images. This is my favorite.

We have given her rules for her to keep the phone. 

If she breaks it or loses it, she buys it outright. She is not allowed Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram yet (and is actually obeying this as I periodically look over her phone), and she has to turn it off by 9:00 p.m.

While I still think we could have waited to get her a cell phone, the positives of her having one have highly outweighed the negatives.

When do you think a child is ready to have a cell phone?


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