When Should Kids Get Cell Phones?

            <img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-2451" title="cellphone" src="http://www.prisonbreakfreak.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/cellphone.jpg" alt="" width="392" height="154" />Every parent of a young child today knows the dilemma:  When is your child old enough for a cell phone? A computer? A TV in  their room?

Good questions, and while the scientific and psychological consensus tends to skew toward encouraging later adoption of gadgetry (12 years old is a common figure for My First Cell Phone), parents are decidedly mixed.

To wit, Retrevo just released new research on this topic based on a survey of 1,000 people (which seems to include both parents and the childless). Their results are interesting (and I am posting the results verbatim below):

A Child’s First Cell Phone
– 5% of people think kids under 9 should have their own cell phones
– 28% of people think kids should have their own cell phone between the ages of 9 & 12
– 61% of people think kids should be between age 13 & 18 for a phone
– 6% of people thing kids should wait until they’re 18 to get a cell phone

A Child’s First Computer
– 31% of people think that kids should have their first computer by the age of 9
– 35% of people think that kids should have their first computer between the ages of 9 & 12
– 30% of people think that kids should have their first computer between the ages of 13 & 18
– 4% of people think parents should wait until the kids are over 18

A Child’s First TV
– 27% of people think kids should have their own TV by the age of 9
– 20% of people think kids should have their own TV between the ages of 9 & 12
– 30% of people think kids should have their own TV between the ages of 13 & 18
– 23% of people think kids should be over 18 before having their own TV

Pretty strong consensus that around 13 is a good starting point for the phone discussion, while TVs and computers find extremely mixed results. I’m still looking for the answers myself. My seven-year-old daughter already has a computer (with heavy lockdown on what it can do), but she’s years away from getting a cell phone. A TV in her room? Unlikely, but she can watch videos on her laptop in a pinch. It’s actually never come up in discussion.

What do you think?

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