Kids and phones
Technology has come a LONG way since I was a youngin.’ We played outside or indoors with toys and arts and crafts, occasionally Sega Genesis (I was always Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog), no Facebook to worry about, and we wrote notes back and forth instead of texting. When I was in middle school, my friend’s mom let us borrow her cell phone while we went to the mall.. it was the size of a brick and had a giant antennae, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. My mom didn’t have a cell phone, and my dad had one that was for work.
I was 16 when I got my first cell phone. Tom was a sophomore, too.. in college 😉 I begged my mom for one, and she said there was no point in me having one until I could drive. Later that week, I saw a 5-year old yapping on their cell phone while signing up for summer arts programs. At the time, I was shocked, and now.. it’s the norm to see kids talking, texting or totally fixated on their phones. If I were a kid in today’s society, I would totally want an iPhone.
It’s definitely not something we’ll have to worry about for a while – and who knows, something else new may be out by then- but when is it appropriate for kids to have a cell phone? When did you get your first phone? I could see myself trying to say “not until you drive” like my mom did, but I think that they can be extremely helpful for safety reasons. Maybe a phone with calls only- no data plan or texting until she’s much older?
Totally random, but remember when you had to plan out when you’d call your friends?
Oh, the good old days 😉
I got a pager when I sophomore in high school, but didn’t get a cell phone until I went to college. If my son took the bus to and from school, I’d probably consider having him carry a phone with limitied capabalities in case of emergencies, but since we take him to and from school ourselves, I don’t think it’s necessary yet. Maybe when he starts attending activities on his own, we’ll consider a cell phone.
I got my first cell phone at 12 and I felt like that was a good age. I was just starting to have a real social life and people I wanted to text and call. I know by the time I have kids they’ll come out of the womb with a bluetooth but I’ll tackle that battle when it comes! ;p
When our kids were old enough to be someplace other than school without mom or dad (sports practice, dance lessons, or a kids only birthday party) we felt best if they had a phone with them. If traffic caused delays, or anything came up its nice (and safe) to have a direct link to our kids. We had plenty of guidelines, mom/dad could always read the phone, and no phones in their rooms (everyone’s charged in the kitchen from dinner till the morning). But we even said, at the earliest it was more for our piece of mind vs. for their enjoyment!!
That said, my 3rd grade niece has a gaggle of kids (almost everyone in her class) msging on their iPod touches, which run off home wifi – no phone or data plan needed!
I got my first phone when I started commuting to college. I could see a limited plan being useful once your child gets involved in after school activities but I think it could be avoided until they start driving.
I got my first cell phone when I was 12… beepers were more my brother and sister’s age kind of thing. By the time I came along cell phones were becoming more popular! It’s crazy I feel like I don’t know where I would be without mine today!
ahhh i love this! i got my first phone at 17…but no one really had phones before that! it was the nokia 3360 and i loved every bit of it. especially snake. my 10 year old cousin got one and is shocked that i didn’t have one at 10, but it just wasn’t the norm! my friends and i used to call each other and plan to get on AIM at a certain time. then we’d go in chats together. haha ohhh man. i think cell phones are SO important when driving, though. i can’t imagine being stuck somewhere and having no means to call someone! ugh scary…
snake! omg i forgot about snake 🙂
my husband and i just had this same conversation with friends this weekend. and i don’t even want to think about how i’m going to handle this when my kids are at that age. i have a feeling they will think i’m super old fashioned.
Ha, I remember three way calling my two best friends! I’m still shocked and appalled when I see kids under 15 with a cell phone. I had one in high school but it was only for emergencies. I think high school age is ok, but no younger then 14. What do they need it for???
I got my first cell phone when I was in high school. I don’t know how people did their college years without a cell, because I was constantly calling people to meet up, or to get let into a building, or when your plans changed randomly.
I coach youth cheerleading, and we always have an issue with the girls on their phones during practice (breaks)… they are texting, facebooking, who knows what! I think by the time little Livi is a kid the technology will be much more advanced and accepted into our lives that it won’t even be a question of her having one as a kid. But hopefully by then the parental control will be better or something!
I got a cell phone as soon as I started playing school sports, which was in eighth grade for my 14th birthday. I only had it for phone calls until 10th grade, when texting was added. It was great to have for after school sports because a lot of our away games would end at an unpredictable time, so I was able to call my mom on the bus ride back to school to let her know when to pick me up. I think getting texting so much later than most kids was a really good thing. I am still not an avid “texter” and never even bring my phone to holiday or family gatherings. I am now in college and am the only one out of all the cousins my age not constantly texting at the dinner table.
I got my first cell phone in 8th grade. But I think I’ll be getting my kiddo one once he is in 5th or 6th. I also want to make sure he earns it and understand that it’s a privilege not a right!
I always tell people I was raised on cable and caffeine and I could never understand friends telling me they didn’t have cable or didn’t have a tv or could only watch an hour a day. I won’t be having kids anytime soon, but when I do, I don’t want them to know about iPhones. I don’t even have a smart phone yet!! Who knows, TV was the thing to rot your brain when I was a kid, but I still played outside a lot, practiced the violin a lot, and did really well in school. I think not really having restrictions on the tv made me care less about it.
I totally remember the “brick” phone. Or we called it the Zack Morris phone because it was the same phone he had on Saved by the Bell and we thought he was sooo cool 🙂 I didn’t get my first cell phone until I graduated college and could afford to buy it myself. I am not sure when we will let our little guy have one. It sure will make pick ups from sports easier. I remember having to call collect, quickly tell my mom to pick me up before she accepted the charges. Wow. Glory Days 🙂
I got my first cell phone when I was 17 (1999) and was supposed to share it with my younger brother but I strategically put a bright pink case on it so he wouldn’t want to use it…mission accomplished. Before that I had a pager for a year in hs and thought I was the sh$t. It’s so funny to think back on it.
As for kids today, I would personally get my kid a phone for emergency use (like one of those prepaid only, no contract ones) until he/she was in hs. I just don’t think it’s necessary for kids to have texting, phones and internet at their disposal 24/7 before they’re even 14! I also have a huge pet peeve of kids being “connected” whether it’s a phone, a PSP, or whatever all the time in public. It’s like no one can carry a conversation anymore in person and it’s disturbing. Kids at restaurants with PSPs make me want to grab it out of their hands and yell at their parents.
We dont have cell phones *gasp* I have had one in the past and found that I never used it and when I did it was my mother – love her but I dont want her to be able to get a hold of whenever. My sister bought me an Ipod touch for Christmas – so I JUST texted for the first time to her Ipod from my Ipod – It wasnt all that and picking up a real “land line” phone is actually much easier then trying to punch the tiny letters with my fingers. I figure my child will have a cell phone eventually – when he is a teenager. And I will get the most basic model (if that still exists) and I will have it set up so he can call or text a handfull of numbers. None of which will be his friends. If he wants to talk on the phone he can come home and do it so I know he is not talking/texting and driving or crossing a busy intersection. Will some children find it odd and poke fun of him a bit – maybe, but I didnt die from growing up in the 80’s/ 90’s with no cell phone. I doubt he will either.
When I started growing older and more independent (maybe around 11 or so?) my parents got us walkie talkies so I could take walks to the park with a friend (we lived up the street from a beautiful park) or walk over to a friends house without them worrying too much. It was a nice way of showing that they were letting me grow up a little, but still a good transition before the cell phone and the keys.
I got my first cell phone when I went away to college- when I could help pay for it!
I have a real problem with kids having them. First of all, it’s a responsibility issue- kids need to earn owning something that can break… or call China. Also, the verdict is out on the neurological effects they can have on developing brains.
I think no phone till you can pay for it. That was my moms rule. I totally remember planning to talk on the phone! So so funny.
Another funny note about changing telephone technology and kids…I’m a speech pathology graduate student, and when testing kids for speech and language disorders a really common picture to use is a telephone (because most kids are mesmerized with them and learn to copy mommy and daddy talking on one at a very early age). The only problem is that kids don’t recognize the stereotypical picture of a telephone that I most people think of. Nowadays there are so many different looking phones and they are always changing! Most of the kids I test always call pictures of calculators telephones. lol.
I guess I’m going to be the mean mommy because my kids not getting one until he can pay for it. Everyone has a phone so I don’t think he will be in a situation where he has to call me on his own personal cell. And if it’s an emergency then I want him to find an adult instead of taking matters into his own hands. Also, it just feels weird to have be in constant contact with my child, like I want to feel like I can trust him. I grew up with autonomy and I would like him to have that too.
I got my first phone when I was 13. I have had a couple of different smart phones for the past four years or so and I have to admit I’m totally glued to mine which is something that I’m really going to have to get under control when I have kids because I don’t want them copying me or taking interest in them just because I do. I hate to see little kids with phones, playing on their parents iphone or something (and I mean the really little ones – my nephews play on their parents and they’re about 3). My kids will probably hate me because I’ll be so strict about them having a phone lol and would only let them have one when it was practical for them to have one.
This is something me and my boyfriend talk about all the time – I think it’s horrid seeing 5 year-olds with cell phones, we’ve already agreed that when we have kids they won’t be getting one until they’re ready for college haha. I was 18, and at university, before I got my first one – I still fondly look on the days of planning calls, or arranging to meet up with friends the day before…I think having a cell phone is a bit of a pain at times, you become available 24/7 to people and you lose that ability to switch off, so I think not allowing a child to have one is actually a blessing 😀
I didn’t get a cel phone until I got my license either. Didn’t have a need to! I didn’t start texting until I was in college. It wasn’t really something my friends or I was into.. and they didn’t have texting plans or anything like that so you’d pay by the text!
How about TOTAL PHONE?! It having three people in one conversation was the coolest!
One of the biggest things that I don’t like about cell phones is that now.. parents never get to actually talk to their kids friends! My mom got to know my friends when they would call and ask to talk to me. That doesn’t happen anymore! It is all through the cell phone!
I’m thinking they can have their own phone maybe at 12. They are starting to go to events with friends and things without us at that age, and we may even be leaving them home alone. Since we don’t have a home phone, that will probably be a good age for us. Before that, it’s possible we’ll have an “extra” phone with no data plan to send with whichever child is out and about, but it won’t be “theirs”.
I didn’t get a cell phone until I graduated from high school. When I started to drive, my mom just let me use hers. I didn’t think it was a huge deal because not a lot of my friends had them. Times have definitely changed. I was talking to my boss at work and he said that his 10 year old son has one because when he goes to a friend’s house, a lot of the times now, they don’t have a home telephone. So he wanted his son to have a cell phone in case he needed to get in touch with him. It never occured to me that most people don’t have home phones anymore.
I got my first cell phone when I was 16. At the time I thought it was the cutest little Nokia. It later became known as “the Zack Morris Phone”. Haha. My grandma got it for me when I got my license. But I do remember a lot of kids either having their own, or borrowing their parents in junior high because the pay phone at our school wasn’t reliable and we had to call our parents to come pick us up after ballgames. I recently saw a 7 year old with a Droid though…I’m not sure I’ll eve be comfortable with kids that young having the freedom to surf the web!
When I was 16 and started driving, I got a pre-paid cell phone to use in case I had an emergency. Before that, I had to use the pay phone at school to let my parents know when to pick me up after rehearsals and practices. Times have changed SO much since then. This was only 10 years ago!
I didn’t get a cell phone until after college (1999). Before that, it was a beeper and a pay phone. The issue is supply and demand now. There are so few pay phones left on the street.
I didn’t get a phone until I was a junior in high school and got my license. I didn’t want one, I hated it. Now, we only use cell phones and don’t have a land line. It’s less expensive that way and I can talk to my husband, really the only person I call anyway, for free. We don’t text or have fancy phones. My husband’s phone doesn’t even have a camera. We have decided to get emergency phones for our kids once they are doing activities that would require them being alone for a period of time and needing to be picked up, that sort of thing. They won’t be texting or have anything fancy. At least not at first. I don’t want them to look at their phones as toys or symbols of status but as resources if they need it.
I got my first cell phone when I was 14, right after middle school graduation in 2004. I thought that was a good time because kids really start to have their own lives and start driving and all that. I definitely wouldn’t want my kid to have a phone with texting and data till high school at least. (I don’t even have a smart phone yet and I’m 22!) But I might consider one of those kiddie phones that only lets them call a few preset phone numbers. But sometimes I doubt there will be anything but smart phones by the time I have kids!
Haha, I didn’t get my first cell phone til like 18, and I didn’t even want one back then !
I first got a cell phone when I was 14. My parents were getting one for my older sister, and I think they thought they might as well include me! 🙂 I’m generally against giving technology to kids when they’re too young, but I think it can be a matter of safety. We have family friends who have an 8 year old. She has a habit of wandering away and getting lost in crowds, so they got her a cell phone meant for kids where they could just program in their numbers and the police. In cases like that I think it’s really smart to give kids cell phones. But yeah, I still remember times before caller ID! It scares me that my children won’t have any idea what this stuff is!
I actually didn’t get my first official cell phone until my sophomore year of college. My parents added me to their family plan and figured it was easier for me to call home than to always use a calling card. But when I was 18, I got a prepaid phone (without their knowledge since I wasn’t allowed to have one). I quickly learned that owning a cell phone wasn’t as cool as I thought. It was just another “thing” to add to my purse that cost money I didn’t really want to spend. 🙂
I had a pager from age 12-14 and a mobile/cell from 14. I think I only had the pager because I was at boarding school so my parents wanted me to have something. The pager was a pain in the aardvark. Similar to twitter you could only use 140 characters and had to call a number and speak to an operator to tell them your message. Horrid for a 12 year old to tell the operator “Mum it’s me, when you visit at the weekend can you bring some tampons with u, love you x”
I remember calling your friends “house phones” and asking their parents to speak with them-or leaving a message on their family answer machines! Crazy how things have changed.
It’s funny to see what I perceive as a bit of a “generation gap” in these comments- those who seem to be close to my age (almost 30) seem to not have a phone at least until they started driving, if not college. Those currently in their early 20s seem to have been given a phone earlier! My parents gave me a phone sometime after I started driving (I think) and I had the same one through college (a nokia!) but I remember NEVER using it. It just wasn’t the norm! I often just left it in my room in college and would go days without knowing where it was. Using our room phone or other campus phones was totally sufficient.
I could MAYBE see giving a child younger than 16 a phone with limited capabilities (phone only) and there would definitely be some teaching and consequences if they went over their “minutes”. I have an Iphone now which I just got in the last 6 months and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. It’s very convenient when I’m driving and need directions or realized I forgot to return an important email but I hate being so connected and often just put it away when I’m home. I think our society is a little too connected virtually without taking time to actually connect with people in real life (and I am def. guilty of this too! As evidenced by love of blogs. 😉
Oh my gosh Sega Genesis! I had one too, I think Lion King was my favorite game. I gave it to my high school boyfriend a million years ago and apparently he stil busts it out to impress his retro-minded friends. My current bf is mad that I didn’t save it for him lol. I didn’t have a cell phone until I was 17. I used to teach college freshmen, who were only about 6 years younger than me, and when I would tell them that, even they couldn’t believe it. Kids can get away with so much more these days! I remember my mom getting mad at me when boys would call our house phone when I was in jr high hahahahaha
This post brings back so many memories! I remember thinking pagers were the coolest thing and wanted one so badly. Like how stupid is that? If you got paged, you’d have to find a phone to call the person back! So weird haha. And I remember waiting by the (HOUSE!) phone when a boy was supposed to call me. And of course it was super awkward when my dad or brother answered.
I don’t think kids need cell phones until they are doing activities on their own without mom and dad – meaning an after school practice, going to the movies, the mall. And that’s pretty much just a safety issue.
My aunt and uncle got their son a cell phone when he was an infant. I thought it was kind of ingenious because if the baby was with his sitter or an aunt or a friend, they always had the same number to get in contact with that caretaker AND it was something they were paying for instead of the caretaker. Then, when the baby grew up (he’s 11 now) that phone/number continued with him through after school activities and things.
Wow, the number of people saying they wouldn’t get their kids phones until they’re college age or the like is really surprising to me. I may be biased since I’m 18, and was raised in a world with cell phones. I got my first when I turned 14, so right before high school. The thing is, it’s true kids do not need phones. And I would say there is no reason for anyone to have a phone before they’re 12 or 13. But by high school, teenager’s social lives revolve around them. Without a phone with texting, kids won’t get invited to parties, to hang out, etc. That’s just how we communicate now. Phones and Facebook. No one calls me (certainly no one would calls my house number), and no one uses mail or even email for social reasons. While I agree that having strict rules about phone use (like not using it while driving, past a certain hour, during school, etc) is important, not letting teenagers have a phone at all may be setting them up for unintended social isolation…
Agreed. I got my phone at age 12, (I’m now 22) and I was the first one in my grade to get it, because my parents are awesome. haha. I kid…it wasn’t “needed” then, but now when I look at my younger brother, 7 years my junior who has had a phone since maybe..3rd grade (he’s diabetic so he got one early for emergencies), he does need it. I would say definitely the latest to get one would be starting high school. I mean 12 year olds can babysit right? Go to the mall alone? I did at that age. Its important to have them for emergencies as well as to keep in touch with friends and parents. I used mine all the time to just touch base with my mom. Plus you can track your kids on it (obviously another topic all together, but a useful form of technology for some parents who worry).
All I know is, if my daughter is walking on the boardwalk at age 13 or 14 down the shore with her friends, I would want her to be able to text me if something happened, but equally I would want her to be able to look up the nearest ice cream place that it open, show her friends a funny you tube video, etc.
Limiting time is one thing, but not getting your kid a phone until they drive (which is 17 in a lot of states) is a bit ridiculous and you might end up setting your kid up to be disadvantaged socially.
I can see the awkward convo between 13 year olds now…did you see so and so’s status update? No…my parents only got me a jitterbug (anyone remember those? – The phone with big buttons and pre-programmed emergency numbers…mom…dad…home…911) haha
I got my first cell phone at 15, which was in 2000, so nobody I knew really had them before that. I have very adamantly said in the past that my future kids won’t have cell phones until they are about that age, but honestly, I have no idea. Things change so much. We’ll see in however many years before I have kids of my own.
I know it is just CRAZY where times have taken us. Yes I love someone who mentioned the Zack Morris phone… how hysterical of a reference is that. Ok so I have two twin 6th graders who ARE BEGGING me for phones. They want an iphone.. not going to happen. Has anyone thought about doing the prepaid thing with kids? My girlfriend gave her two kids tracfones where she says it barely costs anything and she can control the minutes. Has anyone else tried that? I went on their website and the price is right… I suppose I am just scared to get my kids phones!
I am not buying my kid a cell phone until they are in high school, and like most people have said, I will be providing a basic phone with a pay-as-you-go setup. I see no need for my kids to need a cell phone before then. The plans for a smart phone in Canada are pretty expensive and most of the social aspects (FB, twitter, even texting now) can be done via the computer, which can be a bit more monitored. Sometimes parents are unaware of what their kids are talking about on the internet/phone and there is also the inappropriate times to use their phones. You can say to a kid “don’t text in class”, but they are totally doing it anyways. Sometimes parents text their children while they are in class which annoys me to no end.
I think that there is a proper time and place for using phones and other tech devices (iPods and iPads). Someone commented about how phones/texting/FBing are how kids communicate which I can understand. However it can be at a cost for other forms of communicating. How many times have you been to a restaurant and seen a kid playing on a phone/gaming device rather than talking to Mom and Dad? The days of playing car games and singing in the car are almost gone because kids are just tuned into the DVD player or on a device. You go into a university/college area and how many people are in a group of people, not talking, on their computers? I’m not dissing technology at all. I have an iPhone and an iPad and obviously communicate on the internets. I just know the proper time and place.
The reality is though, we have no idea what forms of tech will be out there in 15 years time. For those who like me and also had pagers in the 1990’s….did you think that one day we would have these nifty handheld devices with touch screens?
I am 30, and did not get a cell phone until the end of my sophomore year in college when I could pay for it myself. I graduated high school (1999) when cell phones were not as readily available and inexpensive. None of my friends had one until college or later. And we just did not rely on them as much.
I have three children now, all three years old an under, and I just cannot imagine them having cell phones before high school. The argument about them being socially disadvantaged without a cell phone…I just don’t buy it. Do people not talk to each other face-to-face anymore? If being able to connect to others is dependent on possession of a cell phone with texting capabilities, then I would venture to say that is socially disadvanted. I don’t even know if safety is as big a factor as some would think. Not too many years ago, my parents would tell me where to be, at what time, and I better be there or I would get it. If I felt really uncomfortable, I would just let my child take my cell phone and call me on the house phone or my husband’s cell. But the need for their own phone at a young age (5 or 10 years old, really?!!!!?!?) is absolutely redonkulous to me!
I was 26 when I got my first cell and I shared it with Jason! Keep in mind that this was 1999 when cell’s were just getting super popular. We bought Sarah a blackberry for her 12th b-day, though….
I got my first cell phone at age 12 because that was when I transitioned from elementary school to high school. I walked home from school every day and it was about a one hour walk so my parents wanted me to have a phone in case of an emergency. This was back in 2002 though, so texting was barely a thing. I can honestly say that I barely used the thing until the tenth grade when texting and camera phones became popular.
I didn’t get one until I was out of college & traveling for work (this would be about 1993 & it was huge, too)! I just got my daughter one this year (she’s 12) because she’s old enough to stay home by herself now & is walking to & from the bus stop. I also drop her off at practices or games & want to make sure she can get in touch w/ me if need be. So our decision that it was time for her to have one was mainly for safety purposes (& less based on her desire to text her friends, although that’s what it seems to be predominantly used for!) 🙁
My fiance just got a cell phone and only because we moved in together and we weren’t getting a home phone because I have a cell phone. He’s 28. He’s the only one I know without a cell phone–even both my parents have one, if only to make ingoing/outgoing calls. I didn’t get a cell phone until the start of university only because I never really had a use for one before since none of my friends had their own cell phones either.
I wouldn’t let my child have one until high school or even after. Most high schools over here have plenty of payphones (side note: I remember on 9-11 all the kids using the payphones to make sure their families were okay. I had never seen those payphones in such use before.
I totally remember the days of passing notes in class (and getting caught) and having to plan everything beforehand, like where you were going to meet someone and at what time. I also remember having to ask someone for specific directions rather than just putting the address into Google Maps and letting the internet tell you how to get there.
It seemed like a much simpler time back then to raise kids…less technology to worry about.
I’m 22, and I got my first cell phone when I was either 14 or 15. The only reason I was allowed to have one was because of all the after school activities I was in. A sport every season, study groups, and lanuage emersion. After September 11th, it was pretty much standard for any military brat that went to high school off base to be seen with a big ol’ nokia. However, I had to pay the $25 a month with my allowance.