Kids and Cellphones: Our Story

Tween with cellphone

Photo credit: Mike Wolanin

We bit the bullet and got a cell phone for Elena at the end of the school year (she’s 11, by the way). It’s a touchy topic, and one that involves much debate. And like so many parenting dilemmas we face, there is no right answer, just the answer that works for your family.

For all the worrying and gnashing of the teeth over kids and their dependence on tech, I have to say that knowing my kid is carrying around a phone and can be reached (or reach me) whenever needed is somewhat liberating. While some might view it as just another way we helicopter parent in today’s world, I see it as a useful tool to let go sooner for those parents who have a hard time doing so. I am more likely to say “yes” to letting her go somewhere on her own or with friends when I have the security of knowing I can reach her easily.

I was interviewed by a local paper on the topic along with a few other parents, and thought you might enjoy reading how we came to the decision that we were ready to equip our tween with a cellphone. It’s actually a funny story, and Elena’s ingenuity earned her a phone a few months earlier than we probably would’ve purchased one for her otherwise. You can see photos of us here and read the entire article here:

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What do you say? What age would you consider a cell phone for your kids? And does it feel like one more step towards helicopter parenting or does it make you feel more empowered to give your kids independence?