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Moms: When's the Best Time for Children to Get a Cell Phone?

What is the best age to allow your children to get a cell phone? How do you monitor its use? Read what some local moms have to say and then include your opinion.

Moms Talk is a weekly feature on Hamilton-Wenham Patch that invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Hamilton and Wenham.

Each week moms in the two towns will all combine to take your questions, give advice and share solutions.

Moms, dads, grandparents and others who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about the best pre-schools, the best pediatricians, playgrounds and the thousands of issues that arise while raising children.

If you have a suggestion for a question in for this space in future weeks, please let us know.

So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation today with something that is on many parents’ minds and their children are attending school during what would have normally been vacation week.

This week's question: How young is too young to give your child a cell phone? Do you/would you put restrictions on them? Do your kids have a cell phone? Why or why not?

: We told our children that when they are 16 they can get a cell phone. My friends with older kids have gotten their children phones in middle school. I really don't think they are necessary that young.

We already have enough restrictions with TV, Internet and computers. I don't need another electronic to manage for my kids! I will say that my kids do have iPod touch and they figured out that with a free application they can text from the iPod so. If they are somewhere and need to communicate with me in middle school they may end up using it.

This subject then leads me to wonder about the scientific research of cell phone use for children under 12. The last article I read said cell phones were not recommended. Has anyone done research regarding this?

: My kids are not old enough for a cell phone. It does seem like the magic age is when they enter middle school. One middle school mother told me, she took the phone back when she saw what other kids we sending her student. You have to learn the technology and check what is going out and coming in.

Interestingly, Fox News had a story on teens loosing sleep because they had their cell phones in bed waiting for the next text. I've heard similar stories from friends.

When I was a teenager, I wasn't even allowed a phone in my bedroom. All conversations happened where my parents could check-in. And no one dared call after 10 p.m.!

They recommend either leaving cell phones on the first floor away from the bedrooms at all times or charge cell phones in the parents bedrooms overnight.  This could be the time you check the text messages.

In developing guidelines for youth groups, we decided cell phones go in a basket once you arrive and can be picked up when it's time to go. Even riding in the cars, phones are in a basket. The teens will have the best conversations if you give them the chance.

irene renaud April 06, 2011 at 11:28 AM
Irene Renaud: i feel that that this is dependent on the needs of each family. it is difficult to put an actual age minimum tho this becuase of the different needs of each. i agree that the cell phones need to have parameters around them: i.e. leave the phone in the kitchens/designated area, monitor text messages. i do not allow texting in the car. this is a great time to catch up with my children during our busy days! i have set the rules with my child, which makes her friends have to follow. it seems to work.

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