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Help a Mom: Should 13-year-old have cell phone?

Posted January 31, 2012

I love running into Go Ask Mom readers when I'm out and about. The other week, I met a mom who was having a disagreement with her teen.

Her 13-year-old daughter desperately wants a cell phone and she's made the usual arguments: All her friends have one, it might come in useful in an emergency and ... did I mention already, all her friends have one. This mom isn't so sure her daughter is ready for the responsibility and was wondering how others have handled the same situation.

Can you help this mom? Please share in the comments box below. (If you don't see the comments box below, you'll need to log in or sign up for a WRAL account. You can do that by going to the top of the page and clicking on either "log in" or "register").

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  • kcastleberry Feb 3, 2012

    I forgot to mention that we don't have smartphones. We have regular cellphones with cameras, but no Data plan or any of that fancy stuff so all she can do on it is make calls and
    she isn't allowed to call just anyone either. We approved everyone that she talks to. Also, if someone calls her and she doesn't recognize the number she isn't allowed to answer. No exceptions! Basically, we used cell phones like old fashioned land line phones and that's it.

  • kcastleberry Feb 3, 2012

    Cont....All the teens I know (except for my daughter since she's not allowed) text so much that it has become an obsession. They are teens! They do not need constant contact with their friends every 10 seconds. Anyway, on our cell phone plan it only costs an extra $12 a month for her to have a phone. She doesn't abuse it because there are rules. If she breaks them she loses her phone. She loses it for other reasons as well, but she knows it's a privilege to have one and it's nice for me if I need to get her when she's at a friend's house or at youth group etc. I like knowing she can call me whenever she's away from me too and that she can call 911 if she needs to. It's also nice to have another phone that her Dad and I can use if our battery is getting low! LOL

  • kcastleberry Feb 3, 2012

    My daughter is 14 and has had one since her 11th birthday. Now, I know that sounds early, but we have our reasons. She's homeschooled so she's with me most of the time, but we did away with our land line phone and only have cell phones now. Teens talk on the phone...without a land line that meant that my phone was used when she talked to friends. She doesn't talk all that much, but cell phone batteries don't last all that long and I was tired of my phone battery staying low with sharing it.
    I don't believe in texting. Cellphone use is fine with me, but I am dead set against texting. That includes for adults. I just think it's rude. If you don't have time to talk to me live then send me an email. In fact, we have texting blocked on all of our phones. I think it is absolutely awful to see teens sitting at the dinner table or an event and won't put their phone down because they are texting. All the teens I know (except for my daughter since she's not allowed) text so much that it has beco

  • threedbyd Feb 1, 2012

    2. No texting while doing homework, eating dinner, having guests over, etc. 3. No phone after bedtime 4. Until last year, I insisted on knowing her password. She actually posts many pictures on instagram that are so creative. Kids that don't have cell phones are left out of invitations for activities, exchanges of homework assignments, and basic chit chat--needed for the release of stress that school provides. Hope this helps!

  • threedbyd Feb 1, 2012

    We all want our children to develop socially. Their main source of communication is through texting. My rules for my 14 year old who has had a phone for a few years are:
    1. Payment of $30 a month

  • dllynch Feb 1, 2012

    I wrote in earlier to say that my 11 (almost 12)year old had a cell phone. I really agree with many of the posts from others that are against it, and wanted to clarify my wanting my daughter to have one. Like another poster, she attends a magnet school in downtown Raleigh. Prior to this, I was absolutely opposed to anyone this age having a phone. I am not one to cave to the 'but mom every one has one' routine. I don't even have internet access on my phone, and am very much opposed to a 'tween' having it. I was uncomfy with her being so far away at school, on the bus so early, and not in the best of neighborhoods. The phone was really for my peace of mind. She has really proven herself with it. Other than leaving her dad a voicemail every morning from the school bus, she hardly ever even takes it out of her backpack. If that were not the case, she would not have it! I think so much of it depends on the maturity level of the child. Our next door neighbor, also in middle school

  • Been there once Feb 1, 2012

    My children are much older then 13 (try 30ish). When my son went to college I did worry about how he would get intouch with us in an emergency. A friend told me about 800 numbers. I purchased this number with a code for my number at home and work, my brothers number, my sister-in-law, and his girlfriend. (limited calls to g-friend). This worked while he was in college. He could call me from anywhere, even pay phones. Don't know if these are still available. Good luck. I was a MEAN MOTHER when I wouldn't sign for a beeper.

  • North Carolina Cutie Feb 1, 2012

    Killian I agree, Today when kids can get a job and pay the bill then yes. 13 is a little young you have to know the kids your child hang with what they do. The thing about the pictures is true. Start with the one from family dollar where you put minutes on it see how long they last that will let you know how big of bill you will have when you add her to yours. If this child is not mature, respondsible, do her chores, or respectful then NO!

  • Pseudonym Feb 1, 2012

    Cell phone, maybe, depending on schedule, maturity level, independence, etc.

    Smartphone with Internet access, 8MP camera, email, and data plan? Absolutely NOT!!!

  • Piety Feb 1, 2012

    You're the mom...No. Too many of these teens taking pics of their private parts and sending them off. Some how grown men are getting the text# and texting these teenage girls. How they get the text number hum...Who knows. It's the world we live in.