Is My 11-Year-Old Daughter Too Young for a Phone (We've Had Issues with Devices Before)?

QUESTION:

"Okay, so here it goes… I have an 11-year-old daughter. She will be 12 in March. Her father, who lives in South Florida, wants to buy her a cell phone for Christmas so that he can call/text/video chat with her.

Over the last year and a half or so, I have had several different issues with her and ‘devices.’ She’s been given phones and tablets to play games on, video chat with family, talk to her friends, etc. But every single time, I end up having to take it away from her within 1-3 weeks…

I won’t get into the details, but let’s just say she was just not mature enough or responsible enough to have the phone or device. Well, fast forward several months… And she is doing so well! She has been doing online school and handling it like an angel. Her grades are all A’s & B’s. She keeps up with her chores (which isn’t a lot). She has matured quite a bit and is just being ALL-AROUND GOOD.

I, however, am super nervous. How many of you think that she’s too young for a phone? I’m truly just curious. I got my first cell phone when I was 13. My husband said he didn’t get his own cell phone until he was 18. But, we are in 2020, almost 2021… Her school is almost 2 miles away, and I will need to drop her off and pick her up every day, but I am going to meet her a block or two away from the school (I am impatient with the carpool line).

I see kids these days with the newest iPhones and all these fancy phones. She will be getting something similar to mine, which is a Stylo 5. I have started writing up some ‘RULES’! Some of my rules are…

1- Must keep ON SILENT while in school, and she’s not allowed to use it during class.

2- She has to give me the phone every night before bed.

3- There will be random “checks” on it. (search history, texts, call log)

4- Her grades must stay up. If they start dropping, she loses phone privileges. 5- All homework must be completed before she can play on her phone.

6- She must keep up with her chores (clean kitchen after dinner, keep the bedroom clean, do her own laundry weekly)."

RELATED QUESTION: Should children have cell phones?

TOP ANSWERS (AS SELECTED BY MODERATOR):

“I agree with your rules. But if Dad buys it for her, it’s her gift. Instead of having this agreement with her, I would let Dad in on these conditions.”

“Set restrictions in the settings so that way she can’t get on certain things. And depending on phone company y’all have may be able to link it with yours so you can set limits to how long she can use it and keep track of everything she does.”

“You can put a setting on the phone that will block certain apps and such. I have the family google app it links my phone to my daughter’s. It allows me to see an app she wants to download and requires my approval to download. There are many ways to keep her safe and allow her to have a phone to communicate with her father more often.”

“My oldest got his phone at 9. My next got his at 9. My daughter got hers when she was 8. They are all-A students. They are not angels by any means but literally every single one of their friends have phones. Just because we didn’t get a phone until we were 16, for example, does not mean that’s the norm now. Things change. Times change. When I was 16, we had two landlines and DSL, so we were “in touch” with everyone the way it was normal back then… now, the normal is to have a phone. If you can’t afford it, that’s one thing. But if you can afford it; why make your child feel left out? Your rules are great and reasonable - we check our kids’ phones too. They know they can be taken away (and they have been grounded from them).”

“Set rules, follow through; there are apps that help you keep track of their activities and such my 10-year-old got her phone this year! I love that I’m able to track her and give her a little freedom to grow. I use bark and pact it shows me what and who she talks to, where she’s at, and allows me to manage her screen time and apps.”

“My daughter is 11 and has…issues with devices too. We did get her a phone so that she could talk to family and friends through covid. We have had to take it away for various reasons, but she can earn it back by doing extra chores. (She only has a few main ones). It’s worked for us I think.”

“Honestly, our opinions on this don’t really matter. We all have different views as to when our kids should have phones. The reality is whether or not YOU think she is ready and responsible enough to have one.”

“Just get her a phone that will only call family members. Too young to be on stupid social media apps. I didn’t get a phone until I was 16 and I had to get a job and pay for it myself.”

“Not telling any parent how to raise they kids but all my 3 have phone 13, 12 and 8 but I also work during the day and my kids are home so I need some way to keep in touch. Now that being said they are androids and their Gmail accounts are for kids and I monitor EVERYTHING they do with my Google account I can even lock them out of apps or well there entire phones if I need.”

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READ ALL ANSWERS BELOW:

1 Like

Set restrictions in the settings so that way she can’t get on certain things. And depending on phone company y’all have may be able to link it with yours so you can set limits to how long she can use it and keep track of everything she does.

3 Likes

My kids r 10 and 11 and both have older used iPhones. I have screen time restrictions bedtime schedules and tracking on their iPhones. It makes me feel better when they r away and a good way to teach responsibility.

3 Likes

I don’t think it’s a big deal.

4 Likes

If she can do all the housework then I would think she is very mature. Her dad hopefully will step on your toe soon. After all he bought the phone to hold conversations with him. Your definitely too strict.

4 Likes

to young. if anything gove pre paid cheap flip phone where she can only call and send texts. no internet

4 Likes

My son is 8 we started with the Obama phone( no judgment please) but it’s a start for us to show responsibility

2 Likes

My daughter has a phone but not connect only uses on internet she’s 10 if she wants to text friends she has to do it on my phone !! And no FB no Instagram if she want to use those she has to do it thru my acct

My son is 9 and he is getting one for Christmas this year. I am a single mom and we are testing the waters of him staying at home on his own for an hour or two at a time. He can call or text on his iPad but that’s not always reliable since it’s dependent on WiFi and since no one has landlines anymore a cell phone is really the only way to go.

Use the mmguaedian app, remove apps, set limits and do checks even GPS if necessary and lock phone from yours and set your fingerprint as a pin. Family link and security master are good too for monitoring. I have a 12 and 11 year old that got phones 2 years ago for safety reasons and I definitely still dont trust them just because of age… but get an app to help monitor

I think your rules are great and reasonable. Personally I didnt have a phone till i was 16(once i was 18 I had to get a job and pay half the bill to keep it) and it was necessary because i stayed between my aunts and my dads and my dad didn’t drive(disabled vet) and i went to soccer practice 30 min to an hr away from them(depending on who i was with). I dont see a phone as necesaary, moreso a privilage. Ita honestly how comfortable you are with her having it. My mom never wanted me to have one and only had a basic phone herself for calls and limited texts. If you think she is ready I say go for it, but remain consistent with your rules and follow through. Otherwise, waiting wont kill her. Disappoint her maybe, but youre her mother first and foremost and her friend second

1 Like

An older phone would work. There’s a lot you can control from your own phone through an app or your carrier. Follow your gut! No one knows your kid better than you.

2 Likes

I reccomend you get a children’s phone watch! You can call from it as well as video call, send messages to specific people. And you can gps track it. Literally a children’s safe version of an I watch. Or get a cheap phone that doesn’t have access to anything you’re not comfortable with.

Not telling any parent how to raise they kids but all my 3 have phone 13, 12 and 8 but I also work during the day and my kids are home so I need some way to keep in touch. Now that being said they are androids and there Gmail accounts are for kids and I monitor EVERUTHING they do with my Google account I can even lock them out of apps or well there entire phones if I need

2 Likes

Set rules, follow through, there are apps that help you keep track of their activities ans such my 10 year old got her phone this year! I love that I’m able to track her and give her a little freedom to grow. I use bark and pact it shows me what ans who she talks to, where she’s at and allows me to manage her screen time and apps.

1 Like

If you’re worried about it, then get her something like this. She can only call contacts you preprogrammed into the phone (you, her dad, etc) and emergency services. No pictures, no games, no risky behavior possible.

3 Likes

It all depends on the child
My kids have all had phones with service since about 8 years old, my 6 year old has an internet only phone for games, BUT right now my 17 year old is on wifi only restriction with her actual service paused because she just can’t handle a phone
I know it sounds weird but when she has service she’s absolutely horrible, backtalking, no chores, ignoring all school assignments, but when her service is shut off she’s great, good grades, does chores, helps without being asked, gets along with her siblings, etc

I use family link. You can lock the phone and have a bed time and restrict apps. They can only add what you approve.

5 Likes

Honestly, our opinions on this don’t really matter. We all have different views as to when our kids should have phones. The reality is whether or not YOU think she is ready and responsible enough to have one :woman_shrugging:

2 Likes

Don’t let her have social media. You have to check for it constantly because all her friends are probably on them and it’s easy to hide.