View Poll Results: Should we get our son a cell phone? (DH wanted me to do a poll!)
YES! He should have it available when he goes to biodad's and available in his backpack at school. 11 10.19%
YES! He should have it available when he goes to biodad's, but not in his backpack during school. 32 29.63%
NO! He should not have a cell phone. Period. 60 55.56%
Mandatory Other - Explain! 7 6.48%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 108. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-18-2013, 02:44 PM   #1
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Hear me out - what age to give a child a cell phone?

Hello all!

Perhaps this question has been posed in the past. Our situation is a bit unique so I'm going to throw it out there anyway.

Our son is five and a half and begins riding the school bus for the first time this week. He lives at home with myself and my husband (his step dad), but does have visitation with his "biodad". Unfortunately, there's isn't great communication between myself and biodad so when he's away it's hard to know what is going on with my son and whether he's ok. Of course I have the ability to call him through biodad's cell or home phone but he doesn't usually answer when I call.

I've always talked about getting our son a cell phone "when he's ready" but I'm not sure how to determine when that is. I'm starting to feel like now would be a good time. My thought was, he could call us from biodad's (or we could call him) and also I thought it might be useful in an emergency, so maybe he could have it in his backpack should something come up?

If you could respond to the poll, but also comment with your explanation and what characteristics (as well as what age) would be a prerequisite in your opinion before having a cell phone I'd really appreciate it!

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Old 08-18-2013, 02:56 PM   #2
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Re: Hear me out - what age to give a child a cell phone?

I voted other.

I think 5 is a bit young for a cell phone. I could see it in extreme situations where the non custodial parent is deliberately withholding contact or there's real reason to believe the child isn't safe. But nothing in your post indicates anything extreme. So, no, to me it doesn't sound like he needs a phone, but that doesn't mean that I think he's too young period.

I got my oldest a phone when she was 13ish (might have been 12.) She was doing a couple of different things at school-sports, clubs, etc. She went to a club event after school and they got back later than they were supposed to. She called me to tell me that she was going to be later, borrowing a friend's phone. But when she got to the school her friend's parents were there so she couldn't borrow the phone again, and there were no payphones at the school. That's when I knew she needed one.

We paid for it the first year, but she took it over the year after, paying for her prepaid cards. That was another factor for us, was how fast could she take over the bill.
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Old 08-18-2013, 02:56 PM   #3
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Re: Hear me out - what age to give a child a cell phone?

I don't see any harm in him having one to take to biodad's house, or really, at any age. In my mind it's another tech device and the risk is that he could lose it or break it or have it stolen and you'd need to be prepared for that.

I mean, other than you and his dad, who is he going to phone?
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Old 08-18-2013, 03:07 PM   #4
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Re: Hear me out - what age to give a child a cell phone?

Everyone's relationship is different, but my daughter's Biodad was perfectly capable of handling things with her. I didn't really call her much on her weekend with her dad. She was always free to call me, and he usually answered me when I called him.

But, I would not have trusted my 5 year old with a phone. She'd have either lost it immediately, or called someone in Russia.
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Old 08-18-2013, 03:08 PM   #5
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Re: Hear me out - what age to give a child a cell phone?

I say no. He's really way too young for that IMO. Its much more likely to be used as a distracting toy than for its intended purpose. I say just try to relax and trust the adults that are taking care of him. Teachers, bus drivers, and his bio dad, etc. And while its hard to let go when he's on visits, I think its best to let that time be their time and avoid calls if you can, unless, as PP mentioned, there are issues or concerns. Maybe he isn't returning your calls because he feels they are a bit intrusive? If I were in his shoes, I'd be a little annoyed by it. Not about genuine concerns, but random "How are things going" type calls would TBH.
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Old 08-18-2013, 03:11 PM   #6
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Re: Hear me out - what age to give a child a cell phone?

Whats to say biodad isnt going have him put the phone up while hes there?
I dont feel a 5yr old is responsible enough to keep track of a cell phone.

Also, my kids' school has a strict no cell phones policy.
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Old 08-18-2013, 03:18 PM   #7
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I don't know if they are still around, but there was a firefly cell phone. The parents had to program it and the kids could only call the programmed numbers. I think it had pic buttons of a mom and a dad so the child could just push those. DH commented on them when they first came out about what a good idea they were for little kids, but I don't think I have seen anything for them recently, but they might still make them
ETA: I would give a 5 year old a phone as long as I could regulate who they could call. And lock any way to purchase apps too. DS1 is 4 and he can use our phones easily.

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Old 08-18-2013, 03:24 PM   #8
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Re: Hear me out - what age to give a child a cell phone?

is there a reason to think he is not okay when he's with his dad?

i don't think i would trust my 6 year old with a cell phone. i think she'd lose it or break it or, as pp said, call someone she shouldn't. even if she was responsible with it, another kid at school might think it's really fun to play with. i think 5 is a little young for what is, imo, rather a big responsibility.
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Old 08-18-2013, 03:26 PM   #9
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Re: Hear me out - what age to give a child a cell phone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyinthesun View Post
Whats to say biodad isnt going have him put the phone up while hes there?
I dont feel a 5yr old is responsible enough to keep track of a cell phone.

Also, my kids' school has a strict no cell phones policy.
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Old 08-18-2013, 03:30 PM   #10
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Re: Hear me out - what age to give a child a cell phone?

I think 5 is way to young to have a normal cell phone. And I think bio-dad should be answering when you call.

In your case, however, have you looked into those phones that can only call a limited amount of numbers?
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