When Does My Child Need a Phone?

“When can I get my own phone?” This is the question that I’ve heard for the past couple of years from my twelve-year-old.

Are We Expected to Buy our Pre-teens Phones?!
In the past, it hasn’t gotten to the heated argument stage…but these past few months…it gets heated every.single.time. It’s a really frustrating conversation to have with a twelve-year-old boy {like most conversations at this age}, but it’s a conversation that is never going to be what he wants to hear, unless we give in and get him a phone.

My son has an iPod and has had one for a few years. When he’s connected to wifi he is able to surf the web, watch YouTube, download apps, FaceTime, and do basically everything that a phone can do, EXCEPT MAKE A PHONE CALL. Which, interestingly enough, he DOESN’T want to do, anyway! The “data” is the big seller for my son. He is adamant that he needs a phone for the most ridiculous reasons and has even used the words “my generation”!   

How Many “Screens” do we Need?
I know I may be coming off sounding harsh and insensitive, but let’s be honest, we all could use a little time away from the screens. In our house, we have two iPads, two iPhones, one iPod, two Kindles, TVs, an Xbox, and I’m sure a few more “screens” that I have forgotten.  Yes, we have allowed for this to happen in our house. Yes, my husband and I use our “screens” throughout the day. And Yes, my kids have limited times set to have their eyes and brains zoned in on the screens.  

What My Son Thinks
As far as talking to my son about this, I may as well be talking to a wall. He just doesn’t understand that phones are expensive and you have to pay monthly for the phone, as well as the plan. He also doesn’t understand why we think that it isn’t a necessity for him to have a phone. There are many reasons: we live three blocks from the school, my husband works at the school, and they can’t use their phones during school anyway! He also doesn’t understand the lack of privacy, immediate access, and overall scariness that we feel, as parents, for when our kids get a phone.  

My Thoughts on Phones for Kids
My husband and I would love to wait until our son is driving to get him a phone. Speaking for my own child, I honestly don’t think that our twelve-year-old is ready to have a phone. The responsibility and maturity level just isn’t where it should be to be able to handle having a phone. Quite honestly, I have no idea what age is the “right” age and just like everything else with our kids, it will depend on each child and each situation.  

Advice Welcome!
Parenting kids today with all of the technology is hard! It’s hard to find a balance and it’s hard to explain to them why they don’t need to have or be on these things all of the time.   It’s a completely different world now than when I was in middle school and high school. Obviously, there are pros and cons to it all, but maneuvering around what works for our family has definitely tested my patience lately!

What are your thoughts? At what age should kids have their own phones?

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