Is Your Child Ready For A Cell Phone?

Most parents of younger children go through a checklist when they’re getting kids ready for school in the morning, to make sure they have everything they need for the day: lunch, books, homework, gym clothes, cell phone. Wait…cell phone? These days, slipping a smart phone into your child’s backpack is almost as common as making sure he or she has a pencil case. But at what age should you allow your child to have a cell phone? How young is too young?

More and more pre-teens, and some kids as young as elementary school, have cell phones. It’s becoming the norm. Years ago, parents kept tabs on their children by getting the phone number or address of the place where they were going. These days, however, kids are more inclined to text their parents for a ride home or to let them know where they are.

The folks at Apple seem to be fully aware that parents are warming up to the idea of buying cell phones for their kids. Take the recent launch of the new iPhone 5c. The device was launched alongside the new iPhone 5s. The 5c – which is a slightly less expensive model – features a plastic casing that comes in several colors that have obvious appeal to the younger generation.

An article on Forbes.com explains the theory of Jason Hine of ZDNet, who believed the new IPhone 5c was marketed with younger, iPod Touch users in mind…those who are “coming of age” and ready for their first smart phone.

“From that perspective, the carnival of colors available for the iPhone 5c and its colorful silicone cases make perfect sense. They’ve got “youthful self-expression” written all over them. They are also destined to stand out in displays at wireless stores across the world.”

Still, the question of when to indulge your child and purchase a cell phone is one that many parents continue to ponder. From a kid’s perspective, cell phones are a way to keep in touch with friends and fit in with the crowd. For parents, justifying the expense of a mobile phone is more about safety and staying in touch with their kids.

Ultimately, there’s no formula or clear-cut answer. The decision is personal depending on the parent and the situation. Parents need to determine when their child is mature enough to handle the responsibility of owning a cell phone and taking care of the device.