My kids are only 6, but it seems as though I'm seeing kids not much old than them with cells. Just curious at what age you purchased phones for your children (or did they use their own money for the purchase), what type of phone was it (was it a smart phone or a no frills phone), and what ground rules did you set for them. Looking forward to the responses even though we have a number of years til we'll consider them for our own children.
Oldest got hers as a HS freshman in 2006. Basic flip phone. Family share plan until she managed 1300 texts in a month. Then I bought unlimited texts for her. Youngest got hers 18 months ago, slider phone. Plans change and now we have more mims and unlimited texts for all. I didn't want to give an 11 yr old a cell, but virtually nowhere has pay phones anymore if she needs to call me.
My eldest was 10. He is extremely responsible and would sometimes walk his younger brothers to and from school w/o me. It was more a safety precaution. My second oldest got one when he turned 9 since he took over the role of being the oldest at school when my eldest promoted to middle school. They are my only kids (now 12 & 10) to have them.
Mine don't have phones yet, but my oldest (12) is doing more and more things independently now and may have the need to contact me, so we will likely get him one soon. He may need one for when he starts attending football games with his friends next year, but he will certainly need one when he starts track again in the spring. I don't know how many of his friends have them, but he will have a pretty basic phone with texting capabilities to begin with. I told my DH that DS needs the phone more for MY sake than his own, because I need the peace of mind that he can call if he needs anything.
We bought one for DS when he went to 'big school' at 11 years old, mainly to tell us when he needed to be picked up from after-school activities. We recently got him a smart phone and he really hated the touch screen (even though he loves his iPod), and he's now got a slider which he likes. As far as electronic communication devices go, it's his last choice (iPod, PS3 and computer are way ahead) and it remains a device to tell me 'Pick-up now'...
By "cell phone" I'm guessing you mean a cell with phone service My kids have had IPhones for a couple of years now (they are 7 & 8 years-old), but the phones have no service. My DH keeps upgrading his IPhone and the kids get his hand-me-downs for playing games. They are especially great when traveling. I'm not sure what is an appropriate age to activate phone service. I guess it depends on the kid, their schedule, and their maturity level.
6 is too young! My twins are 8 and don't have them, no need for them. An iPod Touch is plenty.
My DD got one at 9 because she plays volleyball and we carpool and I was so afraid of her being somewhere waiting on a ride and me not know someone was late, or forgot, etc. . .
At that age she never really used it. At 10 we gave her an old iPhone and she uses an iPhone now still - she's 11.
I got my oldest one when he was old enough to bike in the neighborhood. He came home one day saying "this man helped me get my pant leg out of my chain." Track phone was in his pocket that evening. He was 8 approaching 9.
My kids got cell phones when they were ten. Right when they started asking me to please not stay at every practice lol. They upgraded to iPhones with their birthday money when they turned 12. I routinely go through their text messages when they're not looking, then tease a bit about what I read. Just to let them know I'm on top of it. Of course they could delete anything they don't want me to see, but I hope/trust that there's not really much to hide right now. My kids also think that we can get copies of the text messages from Verizon lol. I did not tell them this, but I also didn't correct it.
Thanks everyone for the replies so far. I do notice the kids who have phones at my kids school are older (no older than 11). They seem to use them when they're going to and from school. Especially the ones walking by themselves.
DH changes phones often, so the big kids have some android phones they play games on. I've noticed though in terms of kid intuitive games and whatnot the iphone is better (as that's what DH has now), but when they're ready, we'll buy the no frills one. less complicated that way, I hope.
My Steup-son got his at 8 because it was a communication issue. he has unlim. text and chat on his mom's plan. He rarely uses it at home, usually his sister (4) is playing games with it. I wouldn't call him mature, however he has not abused the privledge.
Both my kids got them when they were in first grade. (They're five years apart) Simple $30 flip phones with prepay minutes. I paid the $100 for 1,000 minutes then $10 a year for another 100 minutes and so the older minutes didn't expire.
My older son was involved in a lot of sports and with his grandparents a lot. After 5 years he still had over $90 in his account - so on average he used about $12 a year. When he started middle school I added him to the family plan with shared minutes and unlimited text for $10 a month. I just bought him a $100 (no contract) phone that had a keyboard and fm radio.
When the older one got his new phone I bought another cheap $30 flip phone for the younger one and just put the prepaid sim card from his brothers old phone into it. When the younger one first got his phone he would call me everyday afterschool when he got picked up to say hi and that he missed me/loved me. What parent wouldn't pay $0.10 a minute to hear that? Lol The younger one also has a SEVERE nut allergy so it gives me a little peace knowing that he can always call me if he needs to.