MSE Poll: At what age should kids be given their own mobile?

in Money Saving Polls
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MSE_PetarMSE_Petar MSE Staff
160 Posts
Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Name Dropper
MSE Staff
Poll started 27 July 2021

Are smartphones a tool that allows kids more freedom or just another digital distraction? This week, we want to know what age you think it's generally acceptable for a child to have their first mobile phone.

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Replies

  • GroomGroom Forumite
    3 Posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    11 seems the ideal age, when they change from Primary to Secondary school. Most children then have to travel by public transport then, so need a way to contact parents if there is a problem. 
  • OctaviaPOctaviaP Forumite
    16 Posts
    Fifth Anniversary 10 Posts Name Dropper
    The question isn't great because it doesn't differentiate between smartphones and old-style phones. We've just allowed our 12 yo to have a texts-and-calls only phone, but won't be getting a smartphone for several years.
  • OwlishAgainOwlishAgain Forumite
    9 Posts
    First Post
    OctaviaP said:
    The question isn't great because it doesn't differentiate between smartphones and old-style phones. We've just allowed our 12 yo to have a texts-and-calls only phone, but won't be getting a smartphone for several years.
    Ditto! I answered 16 on the poll, but will get our son a simple brick either when he starts walking to school alone in Y6 or perhaps when he goes to secondary school. 
  • jbrassyjbrassy Forumite
    286 Posts
    100 Posts Third Anniversary Name Dropper
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    I went to primary school in the 90s and started secondary school in the year 2000. Therefore I was probably among the first generation for which phones became affordable enough for parents to buy them for their children.

    I didn't get my first phone until I was 13/14, but back then the only thing you could do was text, call, and play Snake (Nokia was king). I think my peers only really started getting phones when they were in secondary school and I think it was extremely rare for anyone in primary school to have a phone. 

    I can understand why a child of secondary school age might need a phone, but when I hear of primary school children being given phones, I find it pretty shocking. Why does someone who is 8/9 years old need a phone? 

    Also, when I was at school phones were banned because they are distracting. I was quite surprised recently to hear that a lot of schools now allow phones. I don't see why kids need to take phones to school when teachers can surely get hold of parents pretty easily. 
  • MalMonroeMalMonroe Forumite
    2.8K Posts
    Seventh Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
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    My daughter's now grown but I would have given her a basic one at age 11. Texting and calling only though because smart phones have access to the internet and I'd have wanted to monitor that usage. Not because I didn't trust her but because smart phones are just too smart. A few months ago TikTok allowed a film of someone committing suicide on their app and it wasn't removed for some time. Things like that concern me. There seems to be no regulation of some sites and apps and I'd not want any child to see such a thing on their phone. 
    My opinions are strictly my own. The forum advises everyone to double-check all information given by any forumite to ensure accuracy. Once commented, I rarely return to a thread, as per this "the moving finger writes and, having writ, moves on" (origin Omar Khayyam). I aspire to the (corny but true) saying - in a world where you can be anything, please be kind.
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