Parents struggle with when to get their child a cell phone

Jul 30, 2012 14:03:18Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

Parents struggle with when to get their child a cell phone

The new school year is approaching rapidly, and with another academic year coming up, some parents may be wondering if this is the time to get their child a cell phone.

According to ChicagoNow, there are a number of things to consider before opting for that new cell phone plan. First of all, a parent should think about why the child needs a phone. Many parents want to be able to contact their teen or pre-teen at anytime and vice versa. Others can take advantage of the GPS software that comes with many mobile devices.

Parents may also want to sign a "contract" with their child. Not only does this clearly state when and where the child can use their mobile device, but it starts the conversation of safe practices while using the phone. This includes not answering the device if it is an unknown number and other cell phone safety tips, the media outlet reports.

Mobile privacy is one of the main reasons parents are concerned with buying their child a cell phone. If a parent does decide to get the cell phone, they should install the appropriate safety features, reports. For instance, if a child is younger than 10, he or she most likely does not need access to the internet or video messaging. A basic phone to notify parents where the child is may be the most appropriate. Parents can also limit usage by designating times, such as during school hours, when cell phones are not allowed, the media outlet reports.

Many parents want to prevent their children from becoming victims to cyberbullying, which is any form of harassment or bullying through technology, as this is becoming an increasingly common issue for kids. According to, cyberbullying can be extremely damaging to a teen or pre-teen, and it has been known to lead to depression, anxiety and in some cases, suicide.

More than half of teens have reported being bullied online, and approximately the same amount of adolescents admit they have engaged in cyberbullying, the iSAFE foundation reports. In addition, more than half of the victims did not tell their parents. As a result, some parents may want to take some extra time deciding if their child needs a cell phone or if they can wait another year.