Anyone make their kids wait until 9th grade (or later) to get their first cell phone?
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 1/4/2013 by journey fan in NSBR Board
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journey fan
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Posted: 1/4/2013 7:43:41 PM
Or are we literally the ONLY family in America with that stupid rule?

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 1/4/2013 7:45:33 PM
We waited until middle school and only bought it because he needed it to call me so I can pick him up from sports.


PeaNut 371,264
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Posted: 1/4/2013 7:48:20 PM
No, he has had one for several year sand is in 8th grade. We have no land line. The school does not allow the kids to use phones to call for rides.

journey fan
"Don't Stop Believin'"

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Posted: 1/4/2013 7:48:41 PM

We waited until middle school and only bought it because he needed it to call me so I can pick him up from sports.

If the sports hadn't come into play, would you have waited longer?

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PeaNut 71,252
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Posted: 1/4/2013 7:49:34 PM
No, my three oldest children got a phone as they entered high school. My 8th grader keeps bugging me and I just told him to wait until school starts in the fall.

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PeaNut 165,323
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Posted: 1/4/2013 7:51:15 PM
DD got hers when she was 10 years old, as did DS. With them being out and about, I want them to be able to reach me and be able to reach them.


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Posted: 1/4/2013 7:53:01 PM
Our kids both got them for their 13th birthday. Seemed to tie in pretty nicely with when they started going out with friends more, longer bike rides, being dropped off at the mall or a movie, etc. I will tell you, it's AWESOME to have that private, instant connection with them. I love that they can contact me privately if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation, and they don't have to depend on anyone else or even clue anyone else in that they want to call me.

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journey fan
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Posted: 1/4/2013 7:53:08 PM

No, he has had one for several year sand is in 8th grade. We have no land line. The school does not allow the kids to use phones to call for rides.

That makes sense.

We do have a landline and kids can call for rides from school ... or the plethora of other kids and parents who have cell phones, LOL. But our kids don't do any afterschool activities and their sports practices are always done at a set time, or one of us stays there to help the coaches anyway.

I know everyone's situations/needs are different

journey fan
"Don't Stop Believin'"

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Posted: 1/4/2013 7:54:21 PM

No, my three oldest children got a phone as they entered high school. My 8th grader keeps bugging me and I just told him to wait until school starts in the fall.

Okay, now there are TWO families in America. Thank you

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 1/4/2013 7:55:16 PM
Our rule was seventh grade, because that's when he started having afterschool practices and needed to call when things were canceled. His sister is in fifth grade and wants a cell phone so badly, but the rule is seventh grade, period.

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Posted: 1/4/2013 7:57:41 PM
We got one "kid" phone when my oldest was in middle school. It was rarely used. We didn't pay for text messaging. It was only for emergencies. When our son went to high school, he got a phone. It is a basic phone. Both my daughters got a phone when they went to high school. Same deal. Basic phone. My 5th grader doesn't understand why he can't have a phone. All his friends have them.

I teach middle school and the number one gift for Christmas for students was phones. Many iphones. I understand that kids want gadgets, but I do not understand getting them expensive phones. I hear all the horror stories of how they get broken, lost, etc.

I told my kids they can have a smart phone when they pay for the plan.



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Posted: 1/4/2013 8:42:49 PM
My DS will get one if he goes to his designated secondary school (Gr 7 to 12) next year.

I already have the phone, I just have to reactivate it - it is a pay-as-you-go free phone. Although it's only a 25 min transit bus ride away, it's about 5 min walk through a sometimes sketchy neighbourhood.

If I end up switching schools for him (to do gr 7 and 8 at a K-8 school), then he will wait until Grade 9.

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PeaNut 155,670
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Posted: 1/4/2013 8:51:19 PM
Nope. Our kids did not get their own cell phones until they were 18 and 17. And no texting for the first year they had them.

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Posted: 1/4/2013 8:55:17 PM
I think my son got one when he started to drive at


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Posted: 1/4/2013 8:57:03 PM
Originally, my rule was going to be that they could get cell phones when they had jobs and felt like paying for them!

When ds entered grade 9, dh got a cell phone for work and since he no longer needed his, we gave it to ds to use.

We figured we'd get one for dd when she started highschool. She is in grade 8 this year and we ended up getting her one for Christmas.

For me, it was not that she 'needed' a cell phone or that I was worried about being able to be in contact with her, or that I felt it was a safety issue.

I had noticed though that it was becoming more usual for her peers to have phones and that they were becoming more of a way for kids to communicate and explore their friendships. Texting is big among kids here (I would imagine in most places). Those who cannot participate tend to be on the outside or excluded. Not out of meanness or anything, it's just a matter of convenience.

It was a similar reasoning that saw us getting the XBox 360 and going 'live'. Most of ds's peers really do have that system and it is a form of social interaction for them.

Some of dd's friends do not have land lines at home anymore. And those friends usually have cell phones but do not use them to 'talk' on or receive calls. So dd cannot call them from our phone to talk to them, because the friends have unlimited texting but are not supposed to use the phone for talking to friends.

I did not want her to be socially isolated. I don't particularly like the trend of kids having cell phones (except for those cases where there is a true need, or for the convenience of parents, etc.). But since that is the reality of our kids' social circles, I do not want to isolate them socially if I have no real moral objections to the idea or see any real downside.

At this age, friends are so important as children become more independent and their peer relationships and social lives often help form a strong base for the sense of self-esteem and self-confidence and ability to interact with people later in life.

I don't just let them do things because 'everyone else does it' and would not if I felt that something was inherently harmful to them. But for me, I adjust my stance on issues like this after weighing a variety of factors. And their ability to be part of their peer groups is a strong consideration for me.

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PEAceful Pea

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Posted: 1/4/2013 9:03:52 PM
You would be the odd one out around here. I belong to a Facebook group for middle schoolers in my area and another mom recently asked the same question. The overwhelming response was that all the middle school students (grades 6th thru 8th) had cell phones. I was sort of surprised because that didn't follow the pea norm.

My son (17) got his first cell phone in 7th grade because that's when he had a need for one. He never really expressed an interest in having one sooner. Dd got one for her 12th birthday (my hand me down)...she was begging for a phone and for us, it was a good a gift as anything else on her list.) She uses it a lot now that she's in 7th grade (carpool issues, ski bus, choir rehearsal, and just general staying in touch with me.)

We haven't had an issue with either of them losing or breaking their phones. Dd still has my hand me down and we upgraded ds to an iPhone for his 16th birthday.



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Posted: 1/4/2013 9:06:08 PM
Both of our kids got their cell phones the summers before they started high school. Talk and text only. No data


PeaNut 101,443
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Posted: 1/4/2013 9:09:58 PM
Our kids got them when they were able to drive. I would have held off longer, but my DD was the first to drive and we didn't want her out at night without a phone. I didn't want her to rely on stangers if something happened with her car. Back when our kids were that age, we didn't even have texting so that wasn't an issue.


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Posted: 1/4/2013 9:18:27 PM
Our original plan was high school bc that is when I suspected she wouldn't be with me 99.9% of the time. However since we needed to pull her from private school due to increased hours in my job I could no longer drop and pick her up soo she got a phone this year. It has been quite helpful when activities are cancelled after school and different arrangements need to be made etc. I monitor it closely, in front of her, nothing to hide. She knows I will read whatever I want to read and she is OK with it. I explained how technology can get one into trouble so I will monitor/teach her what is appropriate and not until I feel comfortable allowing her degrees of privacy. She gets that.

On a side note, bc she has an iPhone, I can monitor where she is and how far from home. Again, not a huge deal at her age but still useful.


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Posted: 1/4/2013 9:20:40 PM
Both my boys got their phones in 9th grade, specifically because of extracurricular activities. My step kids got phones practically as soon as they came out. In fact, they had beepers first. Their mom always had problems saying NO.


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Posted: 1/4/2013 9:21:55 PM
My dd got one entering 7th grade because she started school sports with unpredictable pick up times. My ds is in 6th grade and he is convinced that he will get one next year as well. However, unless he joins a sport or activity that makes it necessary, he won't be getting one. I don't use an age as a determiner for getting one. I use a need...and I currently see no need for him to have one.


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Posted: 1/4/2013 9:22:25 PM
All three of my children received their first cell phones when they graduated eighth grade. They don't need them before high school in my opinion!

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Posted: 1/4/2013 9:26:18 PM

I did not want her to be socially isolated. I don't particularly like the trend of kids having cell phones (except for those cases where there is a true need, or for the convenience of parents, etc.). But since that is the reality of our kids' social circles, I do not want to isolate them socially if I have no real moral objections to the idea or see any real downside.

My youngest got a phone senior year of HS (age 17) but with no texting. I'm a teacher, DH is a school bus driver, and we didn't like the obsessive texting we were seeing in the students we dealt with each day, so no texting. Our son didn't mind at all but, what was interesting, was his inability to get a girl to go out with him because he was not able to text. He thought that was ridiculous and actually thanked us for making him realize how silly and superficial some of the girls he encountered were. Eventually he met a girl that didn't care about his ability to text and they dated for quite a while. Other than that, he never encounter any social isolation because he didn't have a phone or couldn't text.

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Posted: 1/4/2013 9:30:12 PM
I didn't get one until I also had a car.

Of course, I also always made sure to have change for the PAYPHONE in case I needed to call home.

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Posted: 1/4/2013 9:53:00 PM
9th grade here. When he started HS. DD is 7th grade and probably one of the few without a phone. She can get one in 9th grade like DS did. They survived. Did not see the need sooner.

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Posted: 1/4/2013 10:07:45 PM
Our oldest had to wait until this past summer for hers. She got it for her 17th birthday. However, there were extenuating circumstances in her case that will hopefully not apply to our other children. We've told the rest of them when they can drive they can have a cell phone (and too be honest, the oldest got hers before she could drive because she didn't get her licence until last month.) We have a land line and their extracurricular end and a set time most of the time.

The next child will get a driver's licence this year and will get a cell phone then.


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Posted: 1/4/2013 10:13:12 PM
Our daughter got a cell phone when she went to college. The town we lived in while she was in high school had little to no cell service and I taught at gopher high school. It worked.


PeaNut 307,675
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Posted: 1/4/2013 10:19:55 PM
I have a 7th grader that seems to be the only one in her circle of friends without a cell phone.

I work from home & am with her most of the time. I drive her to sports & pick her up.

She *wants* one but:
1) I don't see a need
2) I don't want to spend the money

I have a strong girl & am not overly concerned with getting her a phone so she will fit in. If people exclude her due to not having a phone, they are not what I would call friends. We have a home phone and she gets church texts & other stuff on my phone so she is still informed.


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Posted: 1/4/2013 10:26:12 PM
Our rule was they get a cell phone when they start to drive - for my piece of mind when they are out. Kids can get their permit to drive at 14 here.

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Posted: 1/4/2013 10:58:21 PM
Well, we don't have a specific grade or age in mind for our oldest (13yo, 8th grade). We told her we would get her a cell phone when we felt she needed one not just because she wanted one. We're getting to that point now. She's involved in sports, spending more time with her friends, and we don't have a land line. Having a third phone would be nice.

It will be a basic texting phone, no internet.


Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 1/4/2013 11:01:45 PM
My oldest got his first cell phone for Christmas when he was in 9th grade. Younger DS got his for Christmas in 8th grade, but only because they removed the payphones from school that year and he was staying after school for activities every day.


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Posted: 1/4/2013 11:14:01 PM
Our oldest is 14 and a high school freshman and does not have a cell phone.

Not sure how much longer that will last but I am glad to hold off on that expense for as long as we can.

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Posted: 1/4/2013 11:19:39 PM
when my daughter started going away to dance camp and festivals , she needed one. she was 11

We go one for son at that time. he was 16

PEAceful Pea

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Posted: 1/4/2013 11:22:31 PM

This is the real "stupid rule" if it's truly the case. The school absolutely should provide a way for kids to contact parents. We have at least two phone options for student use after school hours. The student activity office sets a phone out every afternoon as the various activities are wrapping up, or students can go to the main office to use the student phone if there is still a staff member working the office. What kind of school doesn't allow kids to make phone calls? Do they really want kids there all night? Sheesh.

Our junior high doesn't let the kids use the office phone unless it's a true emergency. There are just too many kids. And, the office is generally closed by the time after school activities ended. Ds played tennis in 7th grade and they wouldn't get back on the school bus after away games until 7:00 pm or later. I am sure if he asked the coach or a friend, he could have used their phone, but how fair is that to always mooch off of them?



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Posted: 1/4/2013 11:26:47 PM
My daughter got one since last year when she was on second grade and she used up all of her 250 text messages within days.

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Posted: 1/4/2013 11:28:07 PM
My son got his first cell phone for his 14th birthday which was, coincidentally, on the last day of 8th grade. We would have waited but he was going on his first trip out of state without us (Scout trip) and they strongly urged all participants to carry a cell phone with texting capabilities. He was much older than most of his friends to get his first phone but he has been very responsible with it. No complaints here.


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Posted: 1/4/2013 11:57:40 PM
My ds got it as an 8th grade graduation gift. He used is ipod to text his friends using the wifi until then.

second ds will get his cell phone for 8th grade graduation too.

Sometimes I wish he already had a cell phone, it would make it easier for me, but now I get to go down to the friend's house and meet the mom if I need to get him home early.

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PeaNut 104,551
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Posted: 1/4/2013 11:57:47 PM
I waited until they could pay for it themselves.

I can't remember on my older one when he got a phone, and my younger one was in jr high.


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PeaNut 133,429
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Posted: 1/5/2013 12:18:35 AM
My son was given his cell (w/texting, no data) in February of his 9th grade year. Right before the big band trip to NYC.

While both dh & I were going on the trip, we didn't know if we would have students under our care or if the boy would want to go with another adult chaperoned group. We were not having him without a way to get in contact with us under those circumstances.

He did end up staying with us (surprisingly) the entire trip, including some of his friends. So, it really wasn't necessary.

However, if I had it to do over, I would have gotten the phone the summer after grade 8. With his being in band & Jazz band after school, life was so much easier after he had use of that phone to get in touch with us.

Bonus...the kid opens up so much more with me while texting.

So, this anti-cell phone person says, by 9th grade. You have no idea how shocking that statement is coming from me.

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Posted: 1/5/2013 12:35:25 AM
I didn't have a rule. I don't usually carry a cell phone, so am not that excited about them, and don't care if my kids want to call or text their friends.

My oldest (10) was in a professional Nutcracker performance this winter. She takes dance three days a week, religious school two days, karate two days, and basketball starting a few weeks ago. It is so much easier to coordinate things now that (two weeks ago) we got her a phone.

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Posted: 1/5/2013 1:08:47 AM
My two got theirs once they got to HS. They were both in band so there was a lot of after-school practice, games, etc. that required communications. They both got pre-paid phones at first so they wouldn't abuse them (can't call to get a ride home if you used all your minutes). Two years ago, we got a family plan and they upgraded to phones with talk text and web (but they weren't smartphones). Last week, we all got new phones and they're all Androids with hotspot capability. The kids are 19 and 21 (with birthdays coming up in the next couple of months).

An interesting story regarding my eldest and her new (at the time) phone... two days after she got it, there was an electrical fire at the school and they were evacuated to the football fields. She was able to let me know something had happened (and I found out that it was an electrical fire) and she was able to coordinate pick-up (because they wouldn't let the kids back into the now-smoky school) with her grandmother. She even asked if some of her classmates could use her phone to call home, to which I agreed of course. If the kids hadn't been able to contact parents/relatives, they would have had to wait for some hours out in the late August heat for bus or parent pick-up.

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Posted: 1/5/2013 6:29:02 AM
I don't really have a rule about it, but my opinion on is that they don't need a cell phone unless they're regularly somewhere that they need a ride (sports, band, etc) at odd times or they have their driver's license and/or a job.

I have no idea when an 11YO who takes the bus to school and then straight home and has no other extra activities might require a cell phone and yet DS has several friends who do have them. My kids is rather less social, though, and doesn't want one.

I know I'll have a fight when his sisters get older, though. My 9YO already wants one. I'm willing to consider it sooner, but DH (a teacher) is strongly against them. Despite rules that require them to be put off and away during school hours, they are still being used during class and still a distraction he thinks students don't need.

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Posted: 1/5/2013 6:52:45 AM
My sister has her kids wait until high school. My 11 years old and in 6th grade dd keeps telling me that she and her best friend are the last 2 kids in middle school to not have a cell phone. I simply respond with, "at least you are not alone". I plan on waiting until my children have a NEED for a cell phone. At this point there is no need.

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Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 1/5/2013 6:54:19 AM
My niece got one for 6th grade, but she goes to an out of town magnet school that has dances and after school activities.

It is a basic phone with text only.


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PeaNut 81,224
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Posted: 1/5/2013 7:11:50 AM
We did. My DD got her phone on the first day of 9th grade this year. No data, just texting and calling.

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Posted: 1/5/2013 7:36:34 AM
Mine both got theirs in 6th grade which is the first year of middle school here. That was the year that they were walking more than three blocks to school. Plus, dh and I were both across the river in DC and I always worried about another 9/11 or some other event that would cause them to close the bridges between DC and Virginia. I didn't want that to happen and us not be able to get in touch with the kids.

Then when they got a bit older and were allowed to go to the mall or to a movie with other kids I liked being able to text them and find out immediately where they were. It's a nice face-saving thing for the kids because, as someone here already mentioned, no one else has to know that a kid is texting their mother. lol...


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Posted: 1/5/2013 7:39:13 AM
DD is in 7th grade and we plan on getting her one in April when her braces come off (and Coincidentally our last payment for said braces )

Oh and she will be in high school next year as 8th grade here is in the high school.

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Posted: 1/5/2013 7:39:15 AM
Can a Canadian answer? LOL

I saw NO reason at all for our kids to have a cell phone in grade school. Seriously - if they need me, then go up to the office and ask the secretary if you can call home. Easy peasy! Plus, we were 5 minutes from the school.

Now, when our oldest hit grade 9, we really weren't on the cell phone page yet either. But because she attends school out of district, we carpool. And I got tired of texting the other kids in carpool to get messages to her. Her Christmas gift that year was a cell phone.

So when our second DD hit high school, she got her phone for her November birthday.

DS will get the same exact rule!


Mom to Julia (18), Hannah (16) & Jonathan (12)

the pea formerly known as 2Gals!

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PeaNut 29,051
February 2002
Posts: 10,160
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Posted: 1/5/2013 7:43:17 AM
Regular cell phone when 12. Smart phone when 15 years old. Smart phone is her "allowance". Instead of giving her cash for chores, I pay for the smart phone.


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PeaNut 108,542
September 2003
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Loc: ND

Posted: 1/5/2013 8:02:50 AM
We made our oldest wait until the summer before 9th grade and looking back he really should have had one by 7th grade when he got involved with more school sports and activities. DS #2 had one by 7th grade. My oldest had to borrow other friends phones to call home for rides and that wasn't right. Or he sometimes I had to sit around and wait because practice ended early and he didn't have a way to call home. From a safety aspect that wasn't good.


"When was the last time you did something for the 1st time?"
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