My 9 year old has been bugging us for a cell phone and has added it to her “Christmas List” for Santa (yes, she still believes). Surprisingly, there are a handful of girls in her school who have cell phones. My husband and I are 100% against it. We know that she is not ready for it. She does not know what the word “responsibility” means yet. But I did some research to find out what the statistics are for a child to have a cell phone.
According to an article from American Academy of Pediatrics, there are two main reasons for a child to have a cell phone:
- Medical issues: A child can reach parents immediately when a medical problem arises.
- Emergencies: When both parents are working, a child can reach parents easily and vice versa.
Studies and reports confirm that we do have a new norm for today’s digital youth and how families are adjusting to these changes. YouthBeat confirms that kids are starting very young, as young as 1st grade, from TV, DVD, video, computer, cameras, music, and finally cell phones. Of course, usage increases with a child’s age. Among cell phones, 22% of younger kids use them compared with 60% of tweens and 84% of teens. Cell phones are part of the social scene when a child enters the tween and teen years. So be prepared for daily begging from your child.
Santa brought her an iPod instead and after enabling restrictions, for example, setting a curfew, passcode, and limited web access, it has been a pleasant experience so far. With her Principal’s approval, it just adds more weight to our final decision. There are just more good reasons than bad ones. So it looks like she will get a phone for her 10th birthday this summer before she enters Middle School.
A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. - Maya Angelou