Note: Before you read this, please know that I understand that all families and circumstances are different. There’s not a “one size fits all” plan for letting kids have cell phones. This post is simply about our family and how we have approached this seemingly controversial situation. I am not here to place judgement on others that might have a different view on this subject. I’m just trying to make it through these teenage years with my kids! 🙂
My daughter, Raven, is turning 13 in August. If you ask me, she lives a great life. Loving parents, roof over her head, food on her plate, clothes on her back.
If you ask her, though, she is deprived. She didn’t have electronic devices of her own for the first 8 or so years of her life. And she doesn’t have a cell phone – which means that she is one of the very few kids in her grade that doesn’t have one.
But somehow she has survived. Crazy, I know!
Mike and I decided a few years ago that none of our kids would get cell phones until they turn 13(ish) years old. We chose 13 years because we feel like this is an age where they will (hopefully) be mature enough to not only understand our rules about cell phone usage, but also respect the rules. I won’t lie – this also gave us time to mentally prepare for this phase of our lives. 😛
I absolutely love this article about a mother who wrote an iPhone contract to her 13 year old son.
I won’t go into all of our house rules for cell phones. But, I will tell you that our kids are told from day 1 that when it comes to their cell phones, there is no such thing as privacy from us (the parents). They understand that we reserve the right to check their phones at any time. This includes photos, text messages, social media accounts, etc.
My oldest, Sicily, has had a cell phone for about 1.5 years now. This has been great because it has given us a chance to learn from her. What to do and what not to do with the next kid, how the rules are working out, etc.
For me, one of the most important parts of this whole situation has been teaching my kids that having a cell phone is a privilege and not a necessity. I’m not saying that this is an easy lesson. They are teenagers, after all!
Did I mention that my kids also don’t get social media accounts until they turn 13? Most social media sites require users to be age 13 and older. We have not allowed our kids to sign up for Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (or anything else that requires you to be 13 or older) until they reach the appropriate age. This has been a great way to teach our kids how to abide by terms and conditions. And a great lesson in patience! (Ha!)
Have a fantastic day!