"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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