This is such a tough parenting question- especially when your kids are approaching or have entered into middle school where I am told “EVERYBODY has a cell phone“. But do kids really need cell phones at this age? I faced this issue last year with my oldest son when he entered middle school and wanted a cell phone of his own- one that he could use to call home when needed but also one that he could use to text with his friends.
Needs vs Wants
Kids Need Access to a Cell Phone for Drop-Off Activities
When my oldest children began playing travel soccer where I would drop them off for practices at various fields in nearby towns for two hours at a time, I felt that it was important that they had a way to reach me in the event of practice ending early or a thunderstorm sneaking up on us expectedly. Now I could have relied on coaches or other parents having their cell phones available for my kids to use to call home… but that did not give me the peace of mind that I needed to know that my kids could reach me at any time. So our first family cell phone did not belong to any one child- it was used for sports drop-offs only (and was kept in a sealed ziplock bag along with written instructions to remind the kids how to use the phone and a listing of all of our phone #s too). The phone would be transferred from backpack to backpack each afternoon and then returned to the kitchen counter each evening so we could make sure that it was fully charged for the next day. But let’s be clear- that cell phone was for me…. and met my needs. Not the kids!
With a Cell Phone… Comes Some Rules and Responsibilities
But now that Kyle wanted to have a phone of his very own…. we knew that we needed to set some rules regarding its use. First came discussions of safety- only exchange text messages with people that you know…. Mom and Dad will always be allowed to read any text message that you send or receive…. we talked about anything that you send to someone in a text can be forwarded and shared with other people…. never text anything that you wouldn’t say directly to the person’s face….. and I am sure that we spewed forth a ton more of these nuggets of knowledge. Next came discussions about responsibility- that once we purchased the phone, if he were to lose it or drop it or be careless with it- that he would have to buy the replacement with his own money. And speaking of money- that might have been the biggest lesson of all. Kyle was given an annual budget for cell phone expense, and it has been his job to monitor his use, purchase his monthly texting plan based on usage level, and make sure that he has enough money in his cell phone budget to last him the entire year.
What’s A Good Option for a Parent Looking to Purchase a Cell Phone for Their Child?
Your child is going to want a phone that looks cool, and allows them to make calls and text. You are going to want a phone that allows you some control. Luckily- there is a great option for you…
Check out Kajeet’s website and use the promo code BACK2SCHOOL for 15% off!
kajeet™ is a great cell phone solution for parents who, like me, want to stay connected, know where their kids are, and keep them safe online.
Learn more about all that kajeet™ has to offer by watching this short video.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of kajeet. The opinions and text are all mine.
So The Answer Is?
You should get your child a cell phone when either you feel that they need one because you are dropping them off for sports practices or activities and you want them to have a sure-way to reach you if they need you….. or when your child is asking for one and you feel that they are ready to handle the rules and responsibilities that you have defined for cell phone access.