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Your Kid Doesn’t Need a Cell Phone Yet… Or Does He? – #ATTMobileSafety

“If you’ve never been hated by your child, you’ve never been a parent.” – Bette Davis... If you’ve been reading here for awhile, then you know about my slightly odd living situation – {Why bloggers have messy homes, and other thoughts on housekeeping…} Which means – my younger brother and my nephews have lived with me for the past couple of years – in addition to me, my Mister, my little girl, AND my mom. I’ve loved it, but it’s also brought challenges that I didn’t expect. Like – not to age myself, but um, the first tech I ever had was when my friends had pagers. In high school. In 1996. Yikes – I’m not good at math, but I’m almost sure that makes me old….

So, as my nephews {who are 6 and a way-too-grown-up 9 years old} start to talk about cell phones, it totally weirds me out. Ok, one – when I was there age, we had JUST gotten video games for the first time – Atari. {Did I just make myself even older??? Shoot… If so, I don’t care. Remember how rad River Raid was back then?} I never had to think about tech, and my parents never needed to worry about what I was up to in my room late at night. You know?

But these days are incredibly different. I knew this, since the boys talk about their friends with cell phones, they talk to kids {at least I hope that they’re kids!} on XBox live, and they’ve been asking to get phones too. Yikes. To me, at first – it seemed really silly to let kids so young have a phone. BUT – then I was lucky enough to attend an AT&T Mobile Safety School, and learned some things that completely and totally changed my thinking –

Teens and cell phonesThere are a lot of things here that seriously surprised me – at all of the age ranges. It’s amazing that the kids who were surveyed were actually ready to accept more restrictions from their parents then the parents even were comfortable giving. {That means you’re not a total jerk yet to your kids, probably :)}  – and I was surprised at how different their worries and actions were….

Here’s what we worry about as moms:

  • 89% are worried about texting and driving
  • 67% are concerned about bullying text messages
  • 69% are concerned about sexually suggestive messages
  • 77% are worried about their kids receiving calls from unknown numbers

What’s really going on out there:

  • 46% of kids ages 8-17 have a friend who has received a message or picture that their parents would not have liked because it was too sexual.
  • Over 1 in 5 children ages 8-17 have received a mean or bullying text message from another kid on their mobile phone.
  • 2 out of 5 kids with a mobile phone say their parents have not talked to them about staying safe and secure when using the mobile phone
  • 53% of kids have been in a motor vehicle with someone who was texting and driving

Are you surprised at some of the big differences too? The craziest one to me is that TWO out of five kids haven’t had a parent talk to them about safety issues on their phones. Wow.
AT&T Mobile Safety logo

During the AT&T Mobile Safety School a couple of weeks ago, I learned so much. Things that those statistics – no matter how helpful – can’t tell you. Things like questions from real moms, answers to the types of questions we really have, and more. Here are of my favorite points:

  • Kids don’t need a phone, right? A few reasons that other moms brought up, that I wouldn’t have thought of – what if your kiddo stays at a friends house, and they don’t have a house phone? If your kiddo had a cell, you could reach them when you need to. Or if there’s an emergency – theirs, or yours – while they’re out with friends, you can get in touch asap.
  • They can’t do anything that bad if I don’t let them have internet: You do realize that almost every phone you purchase these days has the ability to take and send pictures? There’s still a danger. Whether it’s sending sexual pics, using it to bully or make fun of others, or even to cheat on a test – phones can be dangerous even without the ‘net.
  • Keep phones in your room: One mom mentioned how she makes her teens charge phones in her room at night. This ensures that during the most “vulnerable” time of day, when kids are more likely to be doing things on that phone that you didn’t think of, that those phones are in your room.

The wireless safety website has a ton of information available to anyone who needs some tips to keep kids safe on cells. And if you’d like to learn more important and super helpful info – join me at the AT&T Mobile Safety Twitter party on November 9 at 2p ET! The hashtag is #ATTMobileSafety.

{Disclaimer: I received a free AT&T Mobile Safety course admission, to learn some tips to share with you. Photo credit: One – Two:  derek olson. I only share the raddest stuff I come across – so you know this is good. Join me at the event for sure!}



  1. eek, it scares me that elementary school kids have cell phones! Our plan is to wait until they are in high school. It just feels like the right age for us, right now. Though in 9 years I may have different thoughts. Society changes so much and so fast these days!

  2. Wow! I was on a field trip last year where a Kindergartener lost his cell phone. Thanks for sharing this valuable information as my almost 9 year old asked me for a phone. We have so much to think about as parents nowadays.

  3. Wow – when I had a phone in high school it was still just catching on. It is a bit crazy how young kids get them but I still think the benefits can outweigh the risks. Mostly I like the idea that if my child needed to reach me they would have a way…we’re still years away from her being able to use one but I love all the info you provided. It’s so interesting what the psychological need for a phone is based on age!

  4. Great post! Michael will be getting a phone a lot earlier than what most might think is appropriate. I am going to look into those kiddie phones that can call and receive calls from certain numbers. It just makes me feel better with all of the creeps out there.

  5. I have a feeling that my daughter will have a cell phone sooner than I ever did. They are just getting so affordable now. But yes, safety is key! Thanks for this post. I appreciate it.

  6. Our kids are definitely growing up in a scary time. Technology has created a whole side of what we have to deal with as parents that our parents never did. At least mine. lol Meagan, talk about dating oneself I had one of the first cell phones … the big clunky flip phone and I had already graduated college! eeeeek

    I am trying to hold off on the cell phone for as long as possible. I don’t see her getting one before junior high, and I’m even hoping I can push it off even longer!

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