My son likes to pretend that he has a cell phone. He'll walk around the house with a toy car case against his ear (he has pretend phones, but he likes to use that case), and say things like, "Yeah. Yeah. That sounds great. Let's do that then. OK, gotta go. Bye." He'll tell me that one of my coworkers is calling me, and I'll tell him to ignore it because I don't take work calls at home while I'm making dinner. He'll reconsider and then tell me that Nana is on the line instead. (And, of course I'll take that call.)

I am happy that my son is many, many years away from owning his own cell phone. Mostly, because I don't want to be part of the brave Mommy tribe that has to forge the rules for children owning phones.


A recent British study by mobile Security Firm BullGuard found the following:

  • The average age a child in Britain receives a cell phone is eight. (Eight!)
  • 43% of parents search their child's Internet history - including on their phone - at least once a week
  • 22% of parents have had to have a serious discussion about content found on their child's phone

So, I am not really looking forward to any of that.

But, I know that it is inevitable, and cell phone use will just need to become one of those ever-evolving conversation we have as a family, the same as sex and privacy are.

So, for now, I am watching other Moms, like the mother who made her son sign a contract over his device last year (I love where she explains upfront that his phone is actually hers to prevent any confusion right away). And I am taking notes, in the hopes that it will be a little easier path to follow when my son gets his first real phone.

What age did you give your child a cell phone? Or, what age are you planning on giving your children one? Tell me at Sorry, Mom. I didn't listen.

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Tags: parenting, screen, technology, time

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Comment by Lauren Markman on June 28, 2014 at 9:29am

We haven't really decided when to get him a phone. It will be a balance between whether or not he is responsible enough and his peers. It's rough to be the only kid in your class without a phone, but I want to make sure he is responsible enough to handle it first. This is another of those ongoing conversations...

Comment by Marcia Fowler on June 23, 2014 at 8:08pm

I'm not looking forward to the cell phone situation. I currently have an old one. My hubby has his nice one through work and to save money, I don't have an updated one. I dread dishing out money just so my son(s) can have a phone but I know it'll happen. What I'm going to miss is what annoyed us as kids. Our parents knew who was calling because it was a common house phone. i just can't imagine that not being part of our family. I'll have no idea who they're talking to. I really dread that.

What age will you give your son a phone?

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