I have a 12 year old son who is asking for a smart phone. What is the good age to buy kids a smart phone?

I'm a firm believer that kids don't NEED phones at all.

But I also understand that for safety reasons, many parents want their kids to have one. (Though I do believe the "safety" reason is highly overblown, but that's another post.)

Our philosophy with our kids (now 21 and 16) was that they could have a smart phone if they bought them. So they both saved money to pay for their own phones. And when they broke or lost them, they earned money, and saved it, to buy the next one.

If I could go back in time, I would do it differently now.

Here's why.

Unless you want your kid to become a 24/7 thumb-tapping, snap-chatting machine, you are going to have to set usage rules. And they are HARD to inforce. Having lived through this once already, I would restrict phones to calling/texting "stupid" phones only, as long as I possibly could.

If you ARE going to allow your kids to have smart phones, here are some of the rules we had:

1. No phones during meals. Period.
2. No phone usage in the car unless you ask permission (this works for us because we aim to engage the kids on drives. It's some of our best conversation time.)
3. Don't use your phone while people are talking to you--not even between sentences.
4. No phone usage when we have guests over.
5. Phones spent the night charging in the kitchen (not in their bedrooms)

Yes, my kids hated these rules. And hated losing their phones when the rules were broken.

But interestingly, as they've grown, they actually hate it when their friends use their phones incessantly. They've learned the value of exercising restraint and showing good phone etiquette.

I would say that first understand his needs. If the needs are justified and make sense to you, then buy him a smartphone.

Keep in mind.

1. Why he wants it?

2. What are the things he's going to do on the smartphone?

3. Is he also demanding for a data pack?

4. He want's a specific brand or model?

By these questions, you can easily justify that he deserves a smartphone or not?

And also don't rush into buying a new smartphone you can also get him an old or refurbished smartphone that would be pocket-friendly for you. If later on, you decide to take the phone back from him.

Here are some of the websites you can have a look at.

1. Amazon: Unlocked Cell Phones / Cell Phones: Cell Phones & Accessories

2. Wallmart: https://www.walmart.com/c/kp/ref...

3. Overstock: Top Cyber Monday 2016 Deals on Cell Phones Extended

4. Smartfonestore: http://smartfonestore.com/

5. Gazelle: Buy Used iPhones, Cell Phones and iPads from Gazelle

6. PhoneSwap: PhoneSwap

What is the good age to buy kids a smart phone?

Don't , at all.

Instead let him wonder how it works
Let him do all the work necessary to purchase his own.

But if you want to buy him a portable computer sure go ahead and do it.

Just don't come to us asking,

"How can I get my 12 year old son to act his normal age?"

A 12yo needs a phone to phone or text home.   That's all.   They don't need a smart phone.

They might _want_ one, and this can be a good introduction about how to get what you want in the world.
I think your kid is ready for a smartphone when they demonstrate that they're responsible enough to have one.

I landed myself a sweet Motorola Startac when I was 14, and that was in 1998. It didn't turn me into a monster, but I did feel and act more mature as a result of my parents taking a leap of faith in my responsibility.

That was before it was a tool that could change the way they learn.
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