Kids and Phones

What’s the right age for a kid to get a phone?

It’s the question all parents these days must ask themselves.  Quite frankly, we want Smiles to get a phone.  There are times when we would like to get ahold of him- like the time I missed his bus getting home by 15 minutes and spent the entire time terrified I was going to bring up some deep rooted abandonment issues.  Many of his classmates have phones.  A phone would come with strict usage rules but it would be to our benefit for him to have one.

So we told him several months ago he could have one for his 9th birthday.

But as his 9th birthday approached it became more and more obvious he was not ready for a phone.  Smiles is a great kid.  He loves his friends and family, is quick with a joke, and has a generous soul.  But this kid is not responsible.  His clothes and toys have been rained on more times than I can count.  He ruined his watch the first week he got it by jumping into the pool with it.  He’s constantly losing things, doesn’t help out around the house, and is mean to his siblings. Probably pretty typical kid things, but we just didn’t feel like he was ready for a phone until he could show some basic responsibility.

After we broke the news and dried the tears that came when he realized he wouldn’t be getting a phone, we told him he could have one when he was at least 9 AND responsible.  But responsibility is a hard thing to explain to a kid with his background.  After harping on this for a couple weeks we came up with a new system- responsibility points.

Every time he is responsible, he gets a point.  Every time he is unresponsible, he gets a point taken away.  When he has 300 points he can get a phone.  We’re about 3 weeks in and he has 20 points.  So maybe he’ll get a phone by the time he’s 10?IMG_5281

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