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When should kids be allowed to have a phone?

MINNEAPOLS – If you have a child between 6 and 12, there’s a good chance they’ve asked you for a cellphone.   

The average age for a first one in the United States is about 10 years old. So, when should kids get a phone? 

The surveys vary slightly, so let’s go with common sense media. Fifty-three percent of kids have a cellphone by 11. Of 8-year-olds, it’s 20 percent. 

WCCO spoke with Dr. Nusheen Ameenuddin of the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, who also chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Media and Communication.

“I try to avoid recommending one specific age,” Ameenuddin said. “Instead we’ve recommended that parents who know their children best and who know their children’s level of responsibility and maturity look at why the child needs a cellphone.”



There are lots of questionnaires on this topic, even one from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which asks who’s asking for the phone: parent or child? Is it needed for safety?

“Some parents may need to be able to reach their child in an emergency,” Ameenuddin said.

Can your child keep track of their stuff? Do they follow rules on other media? 

“You can have a conversation with your child, set some ground rules and be able to encourage both healthy screen-time use as well as being good digital citizens,” Ameenuddin said. 

Dr. Ameenuddin suggests implementing screen-free times or places in your house. She also said you might want to start with a flip phone for younger kids.

“The less cool the better,” she said.

Source: CBS Minnesota

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