When Is the Right Time to Get Your Child a Phone?

Deciding when the time is right for your child to have a cell phone can be a difficult decision for parents. There are many mobile plans that make it easy and affordable for everyone in a family to have a device.

According to some studies, most children want a cell phone by the age of 12 – which doesn’t seem unreasonable, especially when most four-year-olds can operate a smart tablet better than an adult. However, parents may want to consider a few important points before deciding to add their children to their mobile plan.


As your child gets older and becomes more independent, there is an appeal to having the ability to be in constant communication with them at all times. If you decide to add a phone to your mobile plan to give to your child, there are certain parental controls, usually via an app, that you can implement.

With one or a combination of some of the ten best phone monitoring apps, you can keep track of which websites your child visits, as well as social media. You even have the ability to block pages and set screen time limits. Essentially, if set up properly, any phone you add to your mobile plan can just be something used in emergency situations or to check in with you when they are out. There are even phones that only have the capability for GPS monitoring and making/receiving texts and phone calls – meaning no internet or network access.

If you do decide to add a phone to your mobile plan for your child, it may be a comfort to know there are safe options to choose from.


Experts will tell you that there is no magic age when a child is ready to be added to a mobile plan and have their own phone. As a parent, it’s important for you to assess your child’s maturity level, as well as the logistical need for them to have a device of their own.

You definitely want to consider your child’s emotional age. For example, a 15-year-old may act out on social media, whereas a 12-year-old might handle it better as they haven’t yet entered the teen-aged phase and may have less pressure put upon them.

boy in blue tank top holding black iphone 5

There certainly is a lot to consider. Think about how your child acts around other items they own that may be more expensive. Do they show responsibility? How will they treat a phone that could cost you up to $200? More importantly, gauge your child’s ability to read social cues in order to determine if they will be ready to handle the added pressures of constant contact with friends and schoolmates. Not to mention they themselves act responsibly and respectfully on social media and the internet.

Mobile Plan

Once you have determined if your child is emotionally mature enough for a cell phone of their own, and educated yourself on the safety options available, you will want to look at adding your child’s phone to your mobile plan. However, since all plans are not created equal, you will want to consider all the options that will work for your family’s needs.

Depending on the situation with your current contract, it may make more sense to shop around for a family-friendly plan that allows you to add a child’s line for less cost and more flexibility – not to mention saving yourself a few bucks on your own service!

A good family mobile plan will allow data sharing in order to maximize usability and keep your child from going over data allowances, which can be costly. A great mobile plan will give you unlimited text, talk, and data as well. You can also have all family lines running on the 5G network for no additional fee.

Better yet, choose a mobile plan that caters to each individual family line by allowing you to choose a different network for each of your lines (if you so desire). Monitoring each line and usage is easy, too, just set up an account online.

Also, with a good family mobile plan, each additional line after the main is always less expensive, so the more you add the more you save! You could even arrange for your children to pay for their own lines and help them learn a sense of responsibility for money management.

Final Thoughts

Deciding when to give your child their own personal cell phone and add them to your family mobile plan is a very difficult decision. Only you will know when your child (and you) are ready for that next step. Fortunately for the parents, if you take the proper safety precautions and know your kid, adding them to the family mobile plan could not be easier.