How young is too young for a mobile phone?

How young is too young for a mobile phone?
Do you think there is a specific age that is too young for a mobile phone? I've seen people with children as young as three or four years old asking what phone would be best for their child. To each their own, of course, but I wouldn't buy a child that young their own phone. Would you?

Children get hooked on screens so easily these days that I just don't see the point of making it earlier and earlier. I'm not going to tell someone else that they shouldn't do it, but I'm just curious about other opinions. Am I the only one that thinks a toddler is too little for his or her own phone? Maybe I'm just old school or just old.


A tablet? yes. A phone to contact the outside world? No! :D

What real use is a 'phone' to a toddler? Who are they gonna call, gramma? A tablet on the other hand means access to educational apps and hours of fun. Sure, there is a Skype app on most tablets, but I don't think most little kids will figure that one out for awhile.

Though maybe a mobile phone would be good for a school aged child who needs to call mom or dad to come pick them up for a ride from school or friend's house. Could be a good security accessory too. I'd hate to think of a child being stranded out somewhere with no way to call home.
Posted by Beverly on 05-05-2017
I would say anyone younger than 10 years old should not have a smart phone, but if the phone was a “dumb” phone like the Nokia 3310 then I would say that it should be alright for someone as young as 5 years old. One piece of advice: Make sure to monitor your kids phone usage aka do some parenting as good parents seem to be in short supply nowadays.
Posted by Gaince on 05-05-2017

According to me, a kid should not get his own phone, until he understands what a phone can do other than just watching cartoons and playing games. Tho a kid might use a phone of a parent or sibling under supervision and for a limited period of time.

as @Baverly said, a kid might have a phone if you are concerned about security or need of calling at any time. Yes you can give them but an phone without internet access and parental control on.
Posted by contracterboss on 05-05-2017
My granddaughter is 10 and has had a phone for 2 years. At first she just had an old one of mine which she played games on but now she is out and about I buy her credit so that if I want to contact her I can. I like that I can satisfy myself she is safe by texting or calling.

I personally feel a toddler is too young for a phone. They are likely to break it or lose it at that age. You can get age appropriate tablets which are fine for youngsters and are usually geared towards learning.
Posted by littlewitch66 on 05-05-2017
Who would a toddler call aside from their siblings? Other toddlers...? Who has a number at that age and what would they talk about? It's a similar debate to whether a child should have a social media account at a young age. I think it's important to emphasise interpersonal relationships at that point, instead to enabling them to wall themselves up behind a device...and don't get me started on those games aimed for kids with a buch of microtransactions urging kids to steal mom's credit card for more playtime. Tablets are a different matter altogether, as we can download some very nice games for mental development, not just Flappy Bird and Fruit Ninja.
Posted by Dionysia on 05-05-2017
Depends on how well the parent/guardian does at teaching the child how to use the phone responsibly. But of course a toddler can't handle a phone properly, so I'll say around seven or eight years old should be the lower limit.
Posted by Anonymous on 05-05-2017
As with anything, different ages may work better for different kids. At a younger age, the most important reason to have a cell phone would be for contact. For this reason, when a child reaches middle school age when they're beginning to take part in more extra curricular activities or events away from their parents, a cell phone would be incredibly useful. It'll make contact easier to arrange for rides to and from school, band rehearsal, football practice or the likes.

As was mentioned by someone else here, a tablet would be a fantastic option for younger kids for the purpose of playing games or drawing, but a cell phone with connection to the internet and other people is not necessary until around middle school, in my opinion.
Posted by TheArticulate on 05-05-2017
I believe a mobile phone is extremely important for a child. While at a younger age, around 5, a simple T-9 phone is great. Its important to teach them how to use it, but it allows them to be able to contact you and, worse case scenario, call 911. Growing up, both of my parents worked, so we were at home alone and it was vital we had a phone just in case. Smart phones are a bit different as they have access to the internet. I would personally wait until my children are at least mature enough to handle it and I'll buy them one. I would start out without a data plan as they have WiFi at home. When they get their own job, then they can start to pay for their data and phone to help teach them responsibility.
Posted by CubeJ on 05-05-2017
Before we give a device to a kid we have to ask ourselves what it’s going to be used for. I believe there is no exact age for a child to have a phone. A teenager going for things like camping, should have a phone so as to keep in touch with his parents.
Posted by Joelnexus on 05-05-2017
I don't mind if your child has a phone but age is an important factor. I agree you can keep in touch with them and it's a great convenience as it can make both of you safer in more than one ways. I also think that most parents provide a phone to their young kids for this particular reason but when I see a child of 4 or 5 playing games for most part of the day, I feel that's a big downside of this useful facility. I can relate when teenagers having a phone for more practical purposes like calling or texting in emergency or remaining in contact with their friends but when I see a child of 5-6 using a phone well, it's a tough call because that's not the right age for a child to use a phone.
Posted by mesush on 05-05-2017
Children don't really need cellphones until they're at least at junior high age (12-13). These days young people use their cellphones predominantly for surfing the web and playing games. Young children are not yet independent enough to warrant the need for a cellphone. They spend their time either at home supervised by their parents and family members, or at school, supervised by their teachers. If any emergency were to come up, they could easily use the phones of the adults in charge of their care. Personally, I believe giving a child a cellphone at too early is unnecessary and can be quite a distraction for them. It is alarming to me to see so many young children with their eyes glued to cellphones and tablets when i'm out in the world. I understand that it helps keep children occupied when out with their parents, and there are educational games and videos they can use on cellphones, but they have their whole lives to be submerged in the digital world. Until they're older and becoming more independent, going out with their friends without their parents, old enough to use social media and text/call their friends outside school hours, they really don't need a phone.
Posted by krystyltbh on 05-05-2017
Well said. I don't think they need one either. If they are going someplace, they can take your phone if need be (if you have access to another or a home phone). That's what we did. I'd give them my phone and they could call home or call dad's phone.

My teenager has a non-service phone, and old one of ours that she sometimes listens to music on and stuff, but she won't have a phone of her own until she has a job to pay for it and pay the bill. She's welcome to borrow mine as needed, but I agree with the statement that "they have their whole lives to be submerged in the digital world."

So many people seem to be addicted to their phones and to social media these days. I just don't want to start them off any younger. They seem to find this stuff soon enough, if you ask me.
Posted by Zyni on 05-08-2017
I can add to what I said above that if your child shows a sense of responsibility, like if they let you know where they are, when they should come back home. Or if they keep their promise or they they do what they say. There is another factor that would help you decide is if your kid is forgetful type or lose things easily or the one who takes care of his belongings.
Posted by mesush on 05-05-2017
I'm honestly not sure anymore what age is appropriate for a phone, these days phones can be used for a variety of things and needs may differ from family to family. Giving kids phones so they can contact their parents when they need to is honestly the most important reason for a child to be given a phone, other than that I don't see a need unless you want your child to be able to play mobile games on their own device, without having to let them use yours and risk any accidental purchases.
Posted by Krimzen on 05-07-2017
It is a new world and technology is part of it. Most of us weren't born in this era of touchscreens and smartphones so it may seem foreign to use to allow young children to interact with these devices, but if you've ever seen a child working a tablet then you know they are far more really for this technology than we were at their age.

Plus I would argue that letting a kid know how to use a phone is very useful, shall they ever be in need to locate someone or something. I would say so long as the kid demonstrate the ability to use it properly they should be allowed to, after all, it is not like if this technology was evil or something.
Posted by QuickSilverD on 05-07-2017
Yep, my kids know their way around technology probably better than I do. Technology has come a long way and is very useful, but I think it's also good interact on a personal level and not just on a phone/tablet/computer.

I don't think anyone is claiming it's "evil" though.

I'm not saying they should never use a device, or know how to use various ones, I just don't think I'd buy a toddler their own. There is plenty of time for them to be glued to the screen later in life.
Posted by Zyni on 05-15-2017
I don't know how young is too young, but I do know that there's a big difference between having a phone for "emergency reasons" and having a smart phone. Most of the people I know, when giving kids under 14 or 15 a phone for emergency contact, have gotten the basic TracFone which costs like under $100 a year. If the reason is truly just emergency calls, that's all they need. Texting and games and watching videos don't need to be part of a phone especially when most of those kids have laptops and/or tablets for doing those other things.

On second thought, I think those basic cell phones even include texting now, so there's no reason (in my mind, that is) to supply a 10 year old with a $500+ smart phone.
Posted by Destiny on 05-08-2017
My idea of a kid's age to be given a gadget is when he starts schooling in the first grade. I understand that schooling now is as early as 4 years old but my rule of thumb is first grade or 7 years old. And the main purppose the gadget, be it a phone or tablet, is mainly for communication with persons close to the child, i..e. parents, siblings, and maybe cousins as well. And for the games, it is all right provided the installing of games is with the approval of the parents. To be honest, I am very strict when it comes to technology and I hate seeing families in a restaurant with the kids using the gadget instead of having a conversation with the family. And another thing, the child will have full independence on the phone when he reaches high school level. Regarding strangers, I think the child can avoid strangers in the internet or in texting if given the proper orientation. You just don't give a phone to a child. Of course, you have to teach him not really on how to operate but on how to use the phone properly including the security and safety against strangers.
Posted by Corzhens on 05-10-2017
I have no kids BUT I'm about to adopt three siblings from two to five years-old and my husband has seven adult children. I asked him what he thought since he has so much experience and he thinks around six-years-old is about right. By seven, these kids will be showing you stuff on the phone (if it is a smartphone and aren't they all?) and you'll be calling your child to help you out with phone settings.
Posted by DeeFree on 05-11-2017
I think when the children are in their teens, they're more likely to go out more, therefore, would need something to make sure they're safe.
Posted by Atropia on 05-11-2017
I have children myself and I only started letting my children have a basic phone from the age of 10 so they could get used to one however I only allowed them to have it so I could contact them and no the other way around. It wasn't until my children were 12-13 years of age that I allowed them to have their own data and minutes so that they could call me on their phones when they were out and about and the reason I allowed that is because of how far away school is from home and I needed them to be able to contact me and vice versa if there ever was a problem. A tablet from say around 3 - 4 years old is perfectly fine I feel but a phone is definitely a no go. Why would a child need a phone at that young age anyway? It's not like they will be heading out away from you as a parent and you will need to contact them. Phones in my opinion are there so you can contact your child. Once your child has more independence and tends to go off a lot more that is when it's time to consider a mobile phone, not before.
Posted by Shortie on 05-12-2017
I think once a child is old enough to travel back and forth from school on their own is the age they should get a cell phone. Anything can happen on their travel that they may need to make a call. Especially if they have after school activities and you work. Communication is the key to safety and less confusion about scheduling.
Posted by Zyphir on 05-13-2017
Yes, but does that mean that children ages 7 or so need a smart phone? Social media culture is taking over and is detrimental to the mental health of those in middle and elementary schools. These kids becomes obsessed with how many likes they get on Instagram and how other people perceive them. Social media becomes less of a record keeping idea and more of a show off culture. TV shows today are rampant with this idea - just look at Netflix's "Thirteen Reasons Why." While this is an extreme example, it shows the detrimental effects of social media culture and how naive children are damaged by it.
Posted by Anonymous on 05-17-2017
Indeed. That's another great point. Children don't need to base their personal worth on what people online think of them. There is plenty of time for social media stuff later when they can deal with it better and understand that not everyone will like what they like or agree with everything they post. I see older kids and young adults who act like their lives are over if their stuff doesn't get likes. It makes me sad.

I also think personal (in person) interaction is important. It's no wonder so many people have trouble coping in social situations these days. Some people even text each other from the next room rather than talking to one another.

Why get them started early?
Posted by Zyni on 05-18-2017
I agree with what some people have said about phones vs tablets. A phone might be pretty unnecessary for a small child, but a tablet can work as a pretty powerful education tool. I don't really see a reason to withhold something like this from a child. After all, smartphones and tablets take a larger and larger role in our lives, so why not let a child learn?
Posted by hampus94 on 05-14-2017
Fluffy Panda
There are clearly a lot of people on this site posting their opinion but in my opinion, I think that you should get a cell phone by the time your 10 at least. The reason I say this is because cyber bullying has become a lot bigger and scarier. However I do believe that you should be able to call for help if needed but, that's my personal opinion. Lot's of kids that are really young are getting iPhones and I just think that's wrong but I'm not a parent so I can't decide for other children.
Posted by Fluffy Panda on 05-14-2017
In my opinion I do not think there is a certain age where a child is supposed to have a phone. It all depends on his ability to understand the meaning of a phone and the things he can do with it. While for the parents it can be useful because they can contact the child, or even locate them on the map through some applications, the baby point of view is a more delicate problem. It has to make the difference between the benefits that a phone can bring and the bad things that can occure, for example chat with strangers . This particularities can also be controlled with help from parents. In conclusion, I think it depends on the child to the child, depending on its development and the education it receives.
Posted by birlaandrei on 05-14-2017
I think you shouldn't give a child who is younger than 10 years old a mobile phone. We must not forget that mobile phones are tools to communicate with other people, and I don't see why a kid who is younger than 10 would need to call anyone. When I was that young I would always be around my parents and didn't go out with friends yet. Now, I know everyone is different, and that times have changed, but in most cases, I would say a phone is not necessary for such young child. A tablet or a laptop is fine. Nothing expensive though. Remember you're dealing with kids who don't have a notion of how much things cost nor how hard it is to make money. And please make sure your kids are playing outside as well. It's important to get familiar with the technology, but it's as important to get enough physical activity and socialize with other kids.
Posted by FatManX on 05-15-2017
I would say kids under the age of 10 would not need a mobile phone maybe a Nokia flashlight wouldn't be so bad. Young kids would not have to require a mobile phones as it can be very distracting and cause them to stray away from their studies. Parents should have an adjust schedule to attend to the child when school is over and in case of emergencies.
Posted by camshaq23 on 05-15-2017
hpro hamed
I think under fifteen or fourteen is to young to have a mobile phone. because mobile can access them to the to much informations that they are not ready for it. if you want to do that you surly should use monitoring apps to check them and don't let them to go somewhere that can mislead them from the good way...
Posted by hpro hamed on 05-16-2017
Some children are more responsible than others, so it definitely depends on the child. A parent should be able to use their best judgment according to the individual child in question. In my situation, I have one child that is responsible enough and gets decent grades in school, on the other hand, I have another child that really need closer supervision and isn't yet ready for certain responsibilities such as owning a cellular phone.
Posted by tinkerlove on 05-16-2017
Art Over Homework
I think it is up to the parents who care for the child. There are some children who are very responsible and who know how to behave. And there are adults who will play on that phone all day. It depends on the character of the person. not their age. However, at too young of an age, people will not develop the character and self control they need to have a cellphone. Therefore the parents need to be extra careful when deciding when or if they need one.
Posted by Art Over Homework on 05-16-2017
Having a designated phone (not smartphone) for emergency uses is necessary in a child life. When you restrict your child from these things your only causing them to rebel when they get older or lack there of the experience to manage there lives properly. I think under 12 years old is too early and above 12-15 depend entirely on the child's routine when leaving school whether they take the bus, train or has a driver to take them home, whereas when in school if anything should go wrong the teacher can call the parents. :)
Posted by onpointpaul on 05-17-2017
I am a mother of two. I allow my 8 year old child to use my old smart phone at home for games, youtube videos, music, and taking pictures. She will not have her own smart phone until she is at least 12 or older. Ideally, she will not need a phone until after-school activities such as sports in late middle school/early high school. I don't hate electronics, but I think that children should not be too connected during their formative years. There is too much unfiltered content online that they are not old enough to properly process. Also, children are emotionally undeveloped and can send mean or harmful texts or messages that can be quickly and thoughtlessly sent. Children can be meaner through technology than they would ever be in person. I want to protect my children.
Posted by Mahshiemonalisa on 05-17-2017
This is a very touchy subject. There is no right or wrong age for a child to have a cell phone. We, as parents or adults in these children's lives need to teach children what to use the phone for. My daughter had a boy in her class not only using his phone but, looking up inappropriate things. Now my daughter has a phone as well but it is put away during the school day. She only uses it to contact me if the bus is late or she wants to attend some activity after school.

I think it depends on the maturity of the child as well as how often is the child alone where they may need to call an adult. Does the child have after school activities or visit friends houses often? If the child wants one because their friends have one in my opinion that child can go without.
Posted by Anonymous on 05-18-2017
I think children as young as one year old can be given a phone. However, children should not be left unattended when they are playing with phone. You can use your phone to let children listen to different kinds of sounds , such as animal noise, music etc. You can also use phone to let children watch videos of animals, and cartoon shows. You can also read books on phone for children. Phone is not just for talking to people, but also read books, listen to music and watch video
Posted by vinaya on 05-19-2017
Jonathan Solomon
Growing up, I was always taught that a mobile phone is a responsibility. This is why I base my entire comment around responsibility.

Simply put, it depends on what type of responsibilities that child has. In America, we have a term called "latchkey child". These are children who return home from school and are home alone for several hours. Generally, children like this are more independent and responsible for their own well-being. My dad was a latchkey child at age 8. If he was my son, I would've bought his first phone at age 8. My parents always stressed to me about being in communication with them 24/7, no matter what the age. So personally, I feel it comes down to that specific child; how responsible they are and what type of responsibilities they have to take on.

If you're a parent, who's not comfortable with their child having a mobile phone, buy a tablet. They can still enjoy the perks of a phone, without actually having one. Just my opinion...
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 05-19-2017
I don’t see that a child would even need a phone their own until they are in their early teens. Up until then, why can’t they use their parent’s phone to call friends?

If a very young child has a smart phone, it will be a distraction in school, you will have little control over what they are seeing, who is contacting them, and what types of photos they are sending or receiving. If a child is carrying an expensive smart phone, they also become the target of thieves and bullies at school. Then we have cyber-bullying, sexting, grooming, happy slapping, and the problem of those kids who will be teased simply because their parents can’t afford the very latest iPhone.

Kids have enough to deal with just growing up, why open the door to a load of new potential problems for them by giving them a phone when they don’t need one?
Posted by Anonymous on 05-23-2017
I believe it is more a matter of maturity and responsibility than age. However, having said that, the ages mentioned above (3-4), I would definitely consider as being too young, unless those children were somehow exceptional enough to understand the importance and responsibility of having a phone. In this day and age, I could be wrong.
Posted by Mark.c on 05-23-2017
According to me, a kid should not get his own phone, until he understands what a phone can do other than just watching movies and playing games
Posted by Anonymous on 05-23-2017