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Kids and Cell Phones: 5 Benefits to Consider


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Nowadays, many parents struggle with kids and cell phones. For most of us, this is one area we don’t have an example from our childhood to draw from since cell phones weren’t as common when we were kids as they are today.

Without our own experiences to guide us, how do we determine what’s right for our own kids? I think a good place to start is to arm ourselves with information.

a girl wearing a backpack on her shoulder looking at the cellphone in her hand in front of a school bus with title text reading 5 Reasons to Give Your Child a Cell Phone

When the first iPhone debuted to the public over ten years ago, it caused an explosion of consumer excitement. A slew of new phones, apps, and designs sprung up over the next decade, and during this time, the number of users under the age of 18 jumped as well.

Today, nearly 50 percent of kids are getting their own phones by the age of 11 or 12, according to a recent Nielsen report. If you are undecided about getting your kids a phone, there are several benefits of kids and cell phones that you may want to know about before you make up your mind.

Kids and Cell Phones – Benefits

1.      Increased Social Interaction

If your child has difficulty making friends, giving him or her a cell phone may go a long way in boosting social interaction with others. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr allow your child to reach out and find other kids that share his or her interests.

While not all of these kids may live in your neighborhood, internet friendships can help your child learn how to create ties with others and foster social connections that may last far beyond their childhood.

2.      Safety and Security

If your kids are vying for more independence, giving them smartphones can give you peace of mind about their whereabouts while allowing them their freedom. It may improve family relations and build your children’s confidence as well.

A quick text or phone call lets you know that your child is safe at a friend’s house, the library, or at an after-school activity.

Some smartphones include security apps that allow you to see your children’s whereabouts on a local map and alert them in case of an emergency.

For example, if you are scheduled to pick up your daughter at her junior high at 3:30 and your younger child comes down with the flu at her school at 3:00, you can send an alert that will let everyone in your group know. This allows you to make alternate plans with a minimum of stress.

3.      Learning Responsibility

You may flinch at the thought of giving your young teen an item as expensive as a cell phone, but such a treasured item may improve their ability to be responsible. After all, a device that allows them to watch movies, listen to music, and keep in touch with their friends is likely to be guarded and treated like their most precious possession.

Another benefit in this area is that you can use the phone as a tool to teach them about money, budgeting, and the consequences of overspending. This can be accomplished by including your kids on your family’s cell phone plan and letting them know how much data they have available each month.

If they exceed that limit, you can set a consequence such as loss of phone privileges or assign them additional chores to make up for the extra expense.

4.      Technological Savvy

The future belongs to technology, and giving your younger teens access to a cell phone might give them an edge when it comes to learning new skills. Learning young may steer them toward a career in mobile technology and follow in the footsteps of Chris Sacca, popular entrepreneur and CEO of Lowercase Capital, where he helps bankroll startup companies. Chris Sacca’s wife, who is a partner in the company, is also the mother of three young children who are also growing up in the world of advanced technology.

While you might not understand all the apps and social media platforms that are available to your kids, giving them the chance to explore them and learn can help keep them current on the latest technology. Later on, when your children are college-bound, they may have an edge for classes that include virtual lessons and other programs that require knowing how to use mobile technology.

5.      Educational Support

If your child has ever come to you for help with algebra or a difficult literature assignment and even you had a hard time understanding it, having a cell phone can put your child in touch with homework assistance almost immediately. Free online message boards, lessons, infographics, and tutorial websites can be reached with the tap of a button. Some schools even support their own after-school sites where your kids might be able to find help while writing essays or trying to puzzle out algebraic equations.

a girl laying down on her stomach propped up on her elbows talking on a cell phone

If you decide to get your kids their own phones, contact their school and ask if there is a virtual parent portal available so you can keep track of each child’s progress and get them help before they start to fail tests, not after. The better informed you are, the more you might be able to enrich your children’s educational experience.

The decision to give your kids their own cell phones can be a difficult one, especially if they are not yet teenagers. However, there are several benefits as well, and as long as you monitor your children’s phone usage, it can be a useful tool.

 

31 thoughts on “Kids and Cell Phones: 5 Benefits to Consider”

  1. My dad is turning my good idea into a bad one. Like sports if it is going to run late i can use my phone but he says just use my coaches.

    Reply
    • Maybe you need to sit down with your dad and you can let him know the reasons you need a phone, and he can share with you his concerns. Then, hopefully you can come up with a good plan you can both agree on and feel comfortable with.

      Reply
  2. hi, my parents gave me a phone with no calling or texting about a year ago to see if I could manage having a phone. After two weeks or so, I used it as a timer outside and forgot to bring it in. It rained that night and ruined the phone. I feel really bad and embarrassed. What can I do to regain their trust? (ps I’m really mature for my age but SUPER forgetful.)

    Reply
    • You should talk to your parents and ask them what you can do to regain their trust. You can also just try your best to do all of the things they ask you to do so you can show them you can be responsible.

      Reply
  3. Hi I’m Divya.
    I’m 10 and in grade 6.
    i already have a phone but all i need is a sim,my mom would let me have social media and any type of games but not a sim. i feel i should save up my birthday money and christmas money to save but my puts it in my bank account. what do i do?

    Reply
  4. Hi! I’m in the 7th grade and my parents said that if
    i get all A’s they could get me a phone but just to show responsibility i’m making them a power point about the benefits do you have any other benefits?

    Also, anyone who’s parent’s can not a afford a phone, I recommend to buy the amazon renewed phones they are some much cheaper and BUYSPRY is a very reliable seller who works with them.

    Reply
    • That is exactly what I was going to do for my 13th birthday! I’m in 7th grade and my parents keep telling me about all these parents that said to wait as long as you can and kids who still don’t have one in high school. Not only would the phone help me, but not having one makes me feel left out like everyone else is growing up and I’m left in the dust.

      Reply
    • Hi o.j. 11 my friend have joined at iPhone ‘ll and more is not have one. At all my mom says I might look up dirty things unless my mom passed down her old phone I’m not getting one how do I get my parents responsibility😊😒

      Reply
  5. I am 10 years old
    I have tried everything to get my parents to get me a phone, but they think that I will play games and get addicted.
    But really all my friends have the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max.
    I just need A Phone for texting and calling.
    They won’t even agree to give me a google pixel 2 or 1
    I don’t understand why, I know it’s not because of the money.
    Cause they have the latest phone and latest devices
    Can I get some Advice Please?
    How do I convince them?

    Reply
    • Hi Chris, your parents are simply trying to do what they believe is best for you. Perhaps you will be able to persuade your parents, but you may still be unsuccessful. Please try to understand your parents’ motive which is ultimately, for your well-being. When you try to see things from their perspective, they’re more likely to show you the same respect and consider the situation from your perspective. Also, suggest an in-between solution that will give you the opportunity to prove responsibility with a phone while protecting you from some of the things your parents are concerned about. Look into an iPod touch which will let you message and FaceTime with your friends, Gabb Wireless which is a prepaid smartphone designed specifically for kids in your situation, and parental control apps like Net Nanny.

      Reply
    • hi i’m kail in 8th and i really want a phone because i have a not working iphone 5se and everyone in my class has a phone bigger than an 8 and i want the 8 plus but my parents won’t give me one i have been asking for the last 2 years and all 4 of my parents are rich and my dad has 4 cars my stepmom has a BMW and my mom has a audi qx80 and my step dad has a 2 porches and i live in a ok manchin . i know and am realizing that i’m not that good of a person and daughter and i have been trying to do better what do i do !

      Reply
    • Well for starters, I would wait a little longer, till 6th grade or 13 years old. I wasn’t even thinking about phones when I was 10, but things can be different.

      Reply
  6. Hi I’m nella I’m in sixth grade.i am very active and social. All my friends have phone pretty much my whole class. I really want a phone so i don’t feel left out. I’m pretty responsible and I don’t do anything that my parents disapprove of. I’m not sure why they won’t give me one.Can I have some advice??

    Reply
    • Hi Nella, your parents are most likely trying to protect you from some of the negative consequences of cell phones so your best approach would be to have a frank and open discussion about it. Really think about WHY you want a phone and how you would use it and ask your parents what their concerns are and work towards coming up with some parameters and rules that would make them more comfortable with the idea. Your parents aren’t likely to give in if you want a phone just because “everyone else has one.” What are some other reasons you want one? My kids use them to get help with homework and make sure they have the right assignments. It gives them a sense of security when they are at an after-school event because they have a way to communicate with me if the event lets out early or late or if they get separated from their friends somehow. And I have a way to track their location, which I don’t often use but does give me peace of mind.

      Reply
  7. Hi I am going into high school and my parents still will not let me have a phone. My dad is even making me write an essay to why I should get a phone. What are some more reasons. He is very stubborn. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Madisyn, it sounds like you’ll be writing a persuasive essay. I’d start by identifying all of the reasons your parents might be opposed to giving you a cell phone and counter each point. Are they concerned about the cost? Your ability to take care of it? That it will put you in danger? That you will ignore other responsibilities? That you’ll be exposed to bullying on social media? Try to figure out why they are against giving you a phone and outline arguments (ideally, with proof and examples) of why they need not worry. Then, outline the many benefits. As a parent, I like having the ability to contact my kids and get feedback from them while they are away from home. They can easily send me a text message if they are in an uncomfortable situation without anyone noticing. It also helps us coordinate pick up times much easier so neither of us spends a ton of time waiting. My high schoolers are actually required to have a cell phone since they submit some of their assignments this way (some teachers use this as a method to prevent cheating). Finally, if your dad is being stubborn, it’s a good sign he is taking his parenting responsibilities seriously. You’re lucky to have a concerned dad looking out for you. 🙂

      Reply
    • I’m in the exact same situation(about to be a sophomore) ….start off with asking for small phone privlages such as texting and then later ask for use of the web and social media.

      Reply
  8. Hi, my mom won’t give me a phone, she says ideas I can’t be more responsible then we can talk about it again. I’ve tried being more responsible by doing my work in school and doing my chores st home. What are some other ways that I can show responsiblity? I really want a phone and all of my friends have one. I’m in 7th grade and I feel like it’s time. Thank you! 😊

    Reply
    • Hi Malaury, cell phones can be very expensive and they expose you to a lot of other things that parents like to shield their kids from. Some ways to show your mom that you are prepared for the responsibility of a phone are to take good care of your things (put things away, keep your room clean and tidy), be open with your parents about things happening in your life, even if you think they won’t approve. If your mom knows that you will be honest with her and tell her about things that are troubling you, she might be less worried about how you will react to things you might see/hear on your cell phone. Sit down with your mom and explain what apps you want to use on the phone and why. Agree to let her periodically monitor the content on your phone so that she can rest assured that you are using it as agreed. She probably would require this anyway, but if the idea comes from you, it demonstrates to her that you want the phone for intentions she can support and that it won’t become a device that puts you in danger. Also, if you show a willingness to contribute to the cost of the phone, you will have an added incentive to take care of it. If you have any money saved or if you earn money from an allowance, offer to put some of it towards the phone and service plan. Avoid the argument that you want it because all of your friends have one. As a mom, I can tell you that argument carries no weight whatsoever. Finally, even if it takes a while to convince her, respect her decision. Acting out will only convince her that you aren’t emotionally ready yet. If you handle disappointment maturely, it will work in your favor in the long run. Your mom just wants to protect you and in her unique role as your parent, she knows you in a way others don’t. Trust her instincts and wisdom and you’ll earn her trust and respect in return.

      Reply
  9. I have been an IT specialist for over 17 years and these are the worse 5 reasons for ever giving a child a mobile device. Kids are known for not following rules and if you don’t believe me, just ask the thousands of teachers that take away mobile devices every day in class.

    Facebook is NOT for children and it has never been designed as such. I would never allow my 10-year-old on Facebook as much as I wouldn’t let her go outside in the middle of the night. The number of predators and perverts I have found being an IT professional (from even those you never suspect) has made me suspect of just about every guy out there.

    The most idiotic reason for giving them the cell phone was “getting over social awkwardness or being shy.” Giving them a laptop or pad to use at home where they are supervised is a brilliant idea but for those of you that have watched hours of kidnappings, rapes, bullying and child abuse on the Investigative Discovery Channel know that the cell phone was the number one common denominator of all these episodes involving minors.

    RETHINK your position on this matter!!

    Reply
    • Hi Mark, thank you so much for sharing your experience and opinion. It’s clear you are passionate about the topic and I appreciate a different perspective for my readers to consider. I have 5 children, my youngest is 11, and all have cell phones. I’m aware of technology addiction, predators, and as a blogger, well aware of the evil that lurks online. Personally, I choose to trust my children and arm them with the knowledge to make wise choices and follow the rules I establish for their safety. My purpose for this post was to highlight potential benefits of cell phones for our children since I believe many people outright forbid them without considering all angles and solutions, not to advocate that all children should have one. Your comment has highlighted that this issue is a broad and important one (again, I thank you for taking the time to write it) and though my position hasn’t changed, I do see the need to provide more complete and diverse information to help my readers make the best decision for their families. I will be updating the post to reflect alternative points of view.

      Reply

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