What Age Should a Child Get a Cell Phone?

Getting ready to introduce your child to their first cell phone is stressful. With so many things to consider, including the risks of tech addiction and social media, it can be overwhelming to know how to answer the question, “What age should a child get a cell phone?”

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to pin down a precise age at which kids react best to cell phone ownership. While over 50% of 11-year-old children have a smartphone, that doesn’t necessarily mean that 11 is the best age to get your child a phone. . Kids mature and grow at different rates—while one child might be ready for the responsibility of a phone at 11, another might not be ready until they’re 14. 

It All Comes Down To Maturity

When it comes to giving your child a phone, James P. Steyer, the director of Common Sense Media, says, “. . .No two kids are the same. There is no magic number. A kid’s age is not as important as his or her own responsibility or maturity level.”

Knowing when to give your child a phone is more a question of maturity and individual circumstance than age. You know your child better than anyone—are they ready to handle a phone?

The Child Mind Institute encourages parents to consider these five issues before handing their child a phone:

  • How often does your child lose things?
  • How well does your child handle money?
  • Does your child pick up on social cues?
  • How tech-savvy is your child?
  • How do they do with existing screen time limits?

If you can answer these questions confidently, it might be time to take that next step and give your child their first phone. If you think your child still has some growing to do, don’t rush into anything! A smartphone is a big responsibility, and many kids need time to grow into it.

Everyone’s Circumstance Is Different

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of being able to wait for their kids to reach the right level of maturity. A lot of parents rely on smartphones to remain in contact with their kids, and this requires giving their children a phone at a much younger age. 

Giving a kid a phone when they’re young might be nerve-racking, but there are some benefits:

  • You can teach good tech habits early! One of the hardest parts of giving your child a phone is instilling good habits in them. However, by giving your child a phone at an early age, you can model good behaviors for them that will stick in their brain as they mature.
  • Kids learn how to use tech at a young age. In our modern world, knowing your way around technology is a necessity. By giving your kid a phone, they’ll be able to familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of all sorts of devices. Next time Grandma needs help sending an email, she’ll know just who to call.
  • They’re just a phone call away. Adults are busy, and a lot of parents rely on child care to help with the kids. It can be hard spending time away from your kids, but if they have a smartphone, it’s easy to stay in contact with them—and vise-versa! If your kid gets homesick, they’ll be comforted to know that you’re only one phone call away.

Make Your Child’s First Phone A Troomi Phone!

If you’re stressed about giving your child their first phone, solace can be found in one word: Troomi.

Troomi is the phone that grows with your child. It’s pretty simple: younger kids’ phones have limited capability—just talk and text (and zero spam calls to boot!). As they get older and are ready for a higher level of responsibility, we give you the power to decide just how much functionality your child’s phone has. 

As you introduce new features (such as apps and the Internet) to your child’s phone, Troomi will  help your kids manage the responsibility of phone ownership at their own personal pace. 

With Troomi, you don’t need to worry about giving your younger kids a phone. While other kid-friendly phones eliminate the need for responsibility by completely removing specific features, Troomi’s malleable parental controls provide guardrails that encourage personal discovery and growth. 
Click here to learn a little bit more about Troomi, and don’t forget to keep an eye on our blog for more answers to these hard-hitting questions in the future.