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“A” is for Advice – Cell Phone Dilemma

Advice Cell Phone
My 9-year-old daughter is begging for a cell phone because all her friends have them. I don’t want her to feel left out...

Advice Cell Phone

Q:My 9-year-old daughter is begging for a cell phone because all her friends have them. I don’t want her to feel left out, but I honestly don’t know what she would do with a cell phone. Help!


Sometimes being a parent means that you have to be the parent. Do you have everything else your friends have? Do you take all the same vacations your friends take? Do you drive the same car your friends drive? Probably not.

A cell phone is more than just a fancy little gadget in your daughter’s pocket. It’s a responsibility that comes with monthly charges and, realistically speaking, a new sense of secrecy associated with texting. But beyond that, you’ve pretty much answered your own questions. If you don’t know why your daughter needs a cell phone, chances are she probably doesn’t.

That’s not to say that no child should ever have a cell phone. Some parents want their child to have a phone because there’s no landline in the home and the child spends time alone during the day. Other parents want their child to carry a phone because he or she takes public transportation without adult supervision. Sometimes noncustodial parents want their child to have a cell phone to use for contact between parent and child. Those are all valid reasons for a child having a cell phone. But giving her a cell phone just because her friends all have them? Not so much.

About the author

Crystal Plante

Crystal Plante

Crystal is a teacher, reading specialist, freelance writer, author, and married mother of four. In her spare time—or whatever spare time a mother of four has—she enjoys reading, cooking, watching television, and volunteering in her community. Crystal is an unabashed chocoholic and a long-suffering (but recently redeemed) fan of the Kansas City Chiefs. You can visit her website at

  • melisa

    What a dilemma, you are facing some tough choices. My kids are older now, but if they were dealing with the same situation at the same age as yours are with the cell phone, honestly, I don’t have any idea what I’d do!

  • Jess Natalie Orcutt

    I think this is great advice. If a kid doesn’t need a cell phone, sometimes getting one can just cause more problems. My daughter got one at nine years old, but she had recently been diagnosed as Type I diabetic, and we wanted her to have a way to get a hold of us at any time. If she hadn’t been diagnosed, I think we would have waited a few years to get her a phone.

  • Sandra Beeman

    I think that once the excitement of owning a cell phone at nine-years old wore off this investment would be worthless. I know a child whom at 10 received a cell. It got lost, broken and unused for the most part. Maybe something more appropriate could replace a cell phone to early for children- perhaps a Kindle would be good.

  • Shannon

    This was a great pro/con article. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jana | Merlot Mommy

    Great information here. Personally, my 9yo will not have a phone, but the pro reasons are interesting.

  • Katie

    We are a very tech heavy family and our 7 year old has a cell phone. He also has multiple older siblings who don’t live in our state that he chats with regularly. He calls his grandparents that are out of state as well as his Aunt who is out of state. We use apps to control who he is able to call and/or receive calls and texts from. He can only use with permission and has only limited games on it that meet our approval, but it has been a true godsend for us and we are glad he has it. He is however, a very responsible kid who isn’t addicted to video games or tv either.

  • Jen St Germain Leeman

    I couldn’t agree more. My nine year old does have a cell phone, which she is allowed to use on occasion. Her use is limited and monitored and she never brings the phone out of the home unless she’s sleeping over somewhere. She uses it mostly to play Minecraft and communicate with one friend who goes to a different school.

  • 9 years old? Uhh NO!

  • Ummm, for me, not at 9 years old. That is just a little young for me. But, I am a little old school LOL

  • Diane Nassy

    My 9 year old nephew has a cell phone because he is basically a latch key kid, but my son won’t be getting a cell phone until he’s way older than 9 because he really has no need for it.

  • Sadie

    I think it’s a good idea for kids to have cell phones, but not at 9 years old unless they’re home alone.

  • Tatanisha Worthey

    We had this issue with my now 9 year old. He does have his own phone as well as the twins- who are 11. With this day- technology is everything. If the child can show they are responsible then I think they can have one. Especially if they are walking home from school, being home alone, going to someone else’s house, etc.

  • Carrie

    My niece has been trying to get her parents to get her a cell phone for a while now and she’s only 8. She’s not very responsible with the things she does have, is never left home alone, and is having problems in school and with her behavior. What it boils down to is her friends at school have phones, so she has to have one too. I think most children that age just aren’t responsible enough to have one. I knew a woman who was epileptic, so I understand why her 7 year old had one for emergencies. Other people have made valid points as well in favor of young children having cell phones, but for the majority of children, I think it’s kind of ridiculous to even entertain the idea.

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