What's the Right Age for a Cell Phone? Kids' Safety a Factor?

child mobile phoneHow old was your child when they got their first cell phone? 14? 12? 8? If your pre-teen is begging you for a phone of their own and telling you that “all their friends” have one – they're probably not lying. The average age of kids who receive their first cell phone is falling like a brick. So how much does kids safety come into play?

A Pew Internet Forum survey in 2009 asked parents of cell phone owners the question, “How old was your child when s/he got her/his first phone?” The average age was 11-12. Of kids who owned cell phones, 46% got them in the 11-12 year age bracket.

The average age is still falling, however. (One study in the U.K. Reports that the average age of first receipt of a cell phone in the country is 8 years of age!) Older teens report receiving their phones later. In fact, 0% of 17-year-olds polled got their first phone at ages 10, 11, or 12. But 12-year-olds reported receiving phones much earlier. In fact, 10% of them were less than 10 years old when they got their first mobile phone.

Statistics are good to know, but they're not necessarily a good reason to put a cell phone in your child's possession. Make your decision based on your child's unique needs and capabilities. Owning a cell phone is a big responsibility, and whether your child is 7 or 17, only you know best if they're really  ready for it.

-Article Contributed by Jenny EvansTry Bark for free

We are pleased to announce that Bark will be taking over where we leave off. The uKnowKids mission to protect digital kids will live on with Bark. Our team will be working closely with Bark’s team in the future, so that we can continue making the digital world a safer, better place for kids and their families. While we are disappointed we could not complete this mission independently, we are also pleased to hand the uKnowKids baton to Bark.
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