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Text Me! At What Age Should Kids Be Allowed To Have Cell Phones?

Local moms discuss a new topic each week.

Recently our Moms Council has discussed topics like the role of religion within the family, , and .

This week our moms talked about at what age should kids get a cell phone.

  • Abby Rowe: Abby is married and has a two-year-old daughter, Adelaide, and just welcome her newest addition, Evelyn, on May 4! Abby is the owner of Stroller Strides of Newport, a fitness program that moms can do with their babies. She is also currently serving as President of the Newport/Middletown MOMS Club.
  • Naomi Neville: Naomi is married and has two girls, one who attends Underwood School and one who is in preschool. She is a member of the Newport City Council and also a registered architect in Rhode Island, running a local practice on Thames Street. Naomi has also served as Chair of Newport's Planning Board and was on the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission. She has a bachelor's from Yale University and a master's in Architecture from Columbia University.
  • Lynn Ceglie: Lynne is married and has two children at Rogers High School, a daughter who is a junior and a son who is a sophomore. Lynn works for East Bay Community Action Program as a child outreach screener at Sullivan School. She is also a board member and secretary of the Newport Public Education Foundation.
  • Nikki Vazquez: is married and has two children. She has been involved in a number of local initiatives, including serving as co-founder of the Newport Community Garden and chairperson for Newport in Bloom. She is also the owner of Ladies Who Lunch, a full service personal chef and events management company. Her son attends St. Michael's Country Day School.

This week's question: 

How old should kids be before they get a cell phone? Is  it a privilege or a necessity?

Abby: I do think we will end up getting both girls cell phones when they are around 12 or so.  I remember when I was growing up friends of mine got their own lines (gosh, what kid today would have any idea what that means!). I think of cell phones for Tweens as the next generation of this concept.  I know I will want to get in touch with the girls easily as they start to have more and more activities that take them away from home.  And while the technology may change, teenage girls are always going to want to talk, and talk, and talk with their friends.  Giving the girls their own phones seems like it will be the most convenient option for the whole family.  By restricting monthly minutes we might be able to keep the gabbing (and cost!) in check.  And perhaps we might even teach them a lesson about budgeting in the process!

Naomi: I'm not sure of the age but I think there will be a time when the girls start to lead independent schedules. For the purposes of coordination, knowing where everyone is, who needs a ride and just the ability to check in, a cell phone would be useful.  But we would be fairly ruthless about not using it in school, or for any length of time. I don't know how we will achieve these limitations but that would be our goal. 

Nikki: I haven't really given cell phones much thought, but by the time Waylon is old enough, I am sure there will be a new way of communicating with some new gadget.  At this point, I see it more as a privilege and certainly not a distraction that Waylon needs in grade school....and that is a funny thought...I too, remember when friends got their own phone line at the house and I was like, wow, are they so lucky!  Now, hardly anyone has a land line!

Lynn: We bought cellphones for the kids when they entered middle school.  The phones have never been thought of as a privilege, but instead, a necessity in these busy times.  I don't know what we would do without them!  We call, we text, you name it.  We are constantly in contact with each other.  My kids check up on me several times a day...

Have a question you want our moms to answer? Email it to cara.kenefick@patch.com. Check back next Wednesday for another edition of Moms Talk!

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