Should I Buy My Six Year Old a Cell Phone?

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Okay, so you’ve read the post title and instantly think I am nine different kinds of crazy, right?

She’s six. What on earth does she need an expensive piece of technology for? She’s just going to lose it. Kids don’t need to be connected every hour of every minute.

Look, I know the reasons for not buying them are there and they’re all good reasons. In fact, my knee jerk reaction is there’s no way she needs a phone.

But then, when I start thinking about it, well… I think I’ve changed my mind.

child with cell phone

Should I Buy My Six Year Old a Cell Phone?

We don’t have a home phone. We haven’t for several years, and I love it. I love that telemarketers don’t call me, I love that I don’t have to field phone calls for my husband, and I love that there’s only one phone number to get  a hold of me. Because of this, I always have my phone with me, and it’s rare for me to miss a call. What I am trying to say here is, I plan to never ever have a home phone again. If she wants to call her friends, then she has to use my phone or her father’s phone. We both keep things like work email, important contacts, etc. on our phones. She could accidentally post to Facebook or Twitter– or even call someone I just don’t really want to talk to right then. Plus (and yes I am aware this is totally selfish) — if I am having a conversation with a friend via text or chat, etc. then I don’t really want to give her my phone so she can chat with her grandpa for twenty minutes in the middle of it.

I don’t want a phone my daughter can take to her friend’s house or to school. I basically want a replacement for the home phone for her to be able to use. If she wants to talk to her friends or family, I want her to be able to do that without having to pry me or my hubs away from our phone. And, for $9.99 a month added to our family plan, it’s WAY cheaper than getting a landline! The phones I am looking at to get her are free when you add them to your plan– so we are really just out the extra ten dollars a month for this.

My daughter has had my old iPhone for years. (Which I can’t just add calling to, because they require you to also add a $15 data plan, and I see no need for that.)  It doesn’t have a calling plan on it, and it basically works like an iTouch. She can play games on it, it has WiFi, and she even has a free texting program she uses to communicate with her grandparents. But the texting is a bit cumbersome–she uses one of those free to text programs. It’s filled with ads, it takes forever to load, and it’s just, in general difficult to use.

But I think the texting for her is a GREAT thing. I love the idea that she can send her grandparents little messages of love when she’s missing them, and that they could reply back when they have a free minute. We live about an hour away from all her grandparents, and really anything that makes her feel more connected to them is important to me. We already have unlimited texting on our plan, so adding it to her phone wouldn’t be any extra cost to us.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that I got this message either:

Dude, as a mom… you just can’t beat that. So, does my six year old need a cell phone? Well, I am starting to think that she does.

Note: This post was originally published in January 2012…but I still wonder how young is too young…

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  1. Easier to have a home phone and screen calls, eliminates picking up to a telemarketer. I have a 13 yr. old granddaughter who lives with us and recently, police officers were in her school auditorium, giving a talk on “sexting”, yes, it’s out there and in the schools. When I heard it was going around her school like wildfire, I took her phone. I’m not opening the door to opportunity when I know there is danger lurking and i am putting the weapon in her hand. Children are just that, children. We need to treat them as such.

  2. I must be nine kinds of crazy too because after reading your post, I totally agree with you! I just git my 12-yr-old a pay-as-you-go phone so its cheap and sturdy, he can text and I can call him. Of courser, now the 9-yr-old wants one but I’ve dug in my heels. We have a home phone. She can email her grandparents 🙂

  3. Instead of an actual phone, we chose an iPod Touch with a phone app that requires wi-fi access. This serves just fine as a home phone and has no monthy bill.

    But that was for a 10-year-old, and frankly sometimes I think it was way too soon. After having to compete with the damn thing for your kid’s attention a few times, you won’t think it’s nearly as cute.

    1. @Steve M, I think that’s why we aren’t “technically” going to give it to her. Plus, then it’s like it’s the home phone… we will just tell her she’s welcome to use it in the same way we were welcome to use the phone back when we were kids.

      I hope it works. heh.

  4. It’s really ironic for me to see this post as a current topic among extended family is that my grandnephew (also 6yo) has a cell phone. We’ve all scoffed & rolled our eyes, Really?!? But, they live in Indonesia and this way he is able to call him g’ma and g’g’ma and have real time connection instead only the biannual visit.

    You both touch on a point that is a frustration for me in contacting adults who have only cell phones and no land line. When you want to contact the family in general, you end up having to call each person individually and potentially leaving messages “all over town.” Or, in one case, their cell reception in their apartment is horrible so even if person is there, call doesn’t go through. I don’t know about others, but I can receive a cell message faster than I miss the call, or–more likely–not receive the message for 3 days.

  5. I am a total phone nazi…so there ya go.

    My almost 12 year old BEGS for a phone…and no he will not get one yet. He doesn’t need it. He can email from a computer.

    However, we like you, do not have a landline. So we did add a third cell phone to our plan (very basic not fancy). Since my older two do stay home alone sometimes it was necessary for them to have a way to contact me. I also allow my oldest to take it with him when he goes to out of town basketball games with teammates and I don’t go. So we have a spare phone, but it is not his.

    I think we need to let kids be little while they are little. They are in such a hurry to grow up and society creeps in in the easiest of ways. So there ya go….my take. 🙂

    1. @LaShawn, See, that’s exactly what we are thinking with the phone… that it’s more the “home phone” than anything else. Can she text and call from it? Sure… but it isn’t something I would want her keeping in her bedroom or anything.

      That’s just it. If it helps her reading and writing to send messages to her grandparents and gives her a chance to communicate with them, then I am all for it. But, I don’t want it to be something she carries with her in her backpack or anything.

  6. Though I’m not yet convinced a 6 yr old needs a cell phone, you make good points, especially about how you handle it (keeping at home like a landline).

    For now, I’m keeping my landline for a number of reasons, but especially because it holds the 1st phone message from my (then) BFF3.0, “Ya-Ya? I love you, Ya-Ya!”

    1. @Flowersbyfarha, heh… my mom is keeping hers for that very same message because my daughter calls HER YaYa!

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