Author Topic: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?  (Read 5895 times)

MayDay

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #50 on: March 16, 2019, 11:14:36 AM »
In 4th and 2nd grade our kids started riding bikes alone to school (no adults but a group of kids). It is over a mile but we didn't feel they needed phones.

Plenty of elementary kids have them- but usually not with phone service, it seems.

We do still have a landline at home. At ages 11 and 9 our kids are home alone sometimes.

I do think we will give our 11 year old one soon. We've already begun discussing with him that everything except actual phone calls, texting, and listening to music will be disabled at first,and privelegs will be added slowly. And it will be one of our old phones so that if it is lost, no harm.

This is partly driven by wanting him to be able to communicate with us, and growing Independence as he wanders further from home on his own.

IanVS

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #51 on: March 28, 2019, 04:58:01 PM »
Has anyone tried out Relay from Republic Wireless?  I really like the idea of my kids having a communication device when they're a bit older and spending time away from us, and I like that the relay doesn't have a screen so I don't need to worry about everything that has already been mentioned about kids and smartphones.  Seems cool, but haven't heard of many/any first-hand experiences.

FINate

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #52 on: March 28, 2019, 05:22:38 PM »
I like the Relay concept, great idea.

Cassie

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #53 on: March 29, 2019, 01:18:49 PM »
As a former social worker I would check out the laws for your state before leaving kids home alone. Some states donít have a law which is worse so if something bad happens they decide the kids wasnít mature enough to be left. You can find yourself in the clutches of CPS faster than you can blink a eye and once your kids are in foster care itís a nightmare to get them out.

business325

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #54 on: April 01, 2019, 01:36:25 AM »
My daughter is 6 and got an Iphone 6S, only parent's and grandparent's numbers but lots of games. However when she gets naughty we take it away for a week. Too early to have a phone but the mistake was done already...

ToTheMoon

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #55 on: April 03, 2019, 10:31:36 PM »
My daughter is 6 and got an Iphone 6S, only parent's and grandparent's numbers but lots of games. However when she gets naughty we take it away for a week. Too early to have a phone but the mistake was done already...

It might have been too early, but it is not too late to be the parent and take it away until you feel it is a more appropriate time for her to have one.

Why have you not done this if you now feel it was "too early?"

PDXTabs

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #56 on: April 11, 2019, 04:40:34 PM »
I say as soon as they are actually wondering around in public on their own. For me, that was pre-age 12. For my kids, that has not been the case. I got them phones early because I thought that they would put them to good use exploring the world and I was wrong. They used them to access social media and video games in an arguably unhealthy fashin and I would have honestly taken them away but their mom (who I no longer live with) would not hear of it.

UndergroundDaytimeDad

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #57 on: April 14, 2019, 01:48:23 PM »
I am surprised that my thoughts on this topic seem completely out of left field compared to what I have read on here so far.  My kids are still quite young, so this issue isn't staring me in the face yet, but for general guidance, I tend to look to myself and my own upbringing. 

Like a disproportionate number of FIRE(/d) people, I am/was, a software developer.  As a little kid I got a GameBoy, which I played with much enthusiasm and graduated to a SNES....PC games.... Eventually I decided to try and make websites about my favourite PC games, then people offered to pay me money to make websites for them when I was 11/12 (approx?).  Formal education, a larger portfolio under my belt, and I can command my price for web dev work or business facing software in general. 

This whole anecdote is to say that if parents try really hard to stifle any tech leanings their child might have as a default position because "technology is scary", then how do our kids end up following these paths that we walked?  I find it safe to avoid blanket media or study declarations of the sky falling to be bogus on their face.  Like anything in this life, the answer to the question is, "It depends!".  If you give your kid an iPad to play Bimmi Boo and they never put it down, refuse to do anything else, well then act accordingly.  But if they still like doing other things, while still having that technology leaning, I am not sure how keeping them from it purposefully isn't equivalent to holding them back.  If I was kept off the PC because my Game Boy playing was deemed to be setting my life on a course for failure, I wouldn't be able to see FIRE as anything but a pipe dream. 

FINate

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #58 on: April 14, 2019, 04:11:45 PM »
This thread is about cell phones not tech in general. Staring at a phone all day texting or on social media is not the same as being tech savvy. I see this all the time, kids who know everything about certain video games or media platforms, but are essentially tech illiterate.

So no, I don't think I'm hurting my kids' chances of a career in tech by limiting access to smartphones. If my kids want to build a webpage or program something, great! I would be thrilled to help and teach them how.

I did not have or use a personal computer until college, yet this was not an obstacle to earning a CS degree and having a very lucrative career in tech. IMO, the way smartphones are typically used is a waste of time...time better spent learning math and science.

One does not need to be scared of tech to know that the internet is the wild west and that kids don't, by default, have the maturity or knowledge to safely navigate such an environment.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2019, 10:29:47 AM by FINate »

PDXTabs

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #59 on: April 15, 2019, 10:12:51 AM »
@UndergroundDaytimeDad,

I'm in the same position as you. I learned to use DOS to play games and was active on the BBS scene when I was ~12 because I thought that it was awesome. I used to dial into the local library because if you knew what you were doing you could get to gopher! I started scrounging old hardware and building my own systems, I learned a ton. By the time I was 14 I was setting up my own routers and servers (OpenBSD, Linux, FreeBSD). By the time I was 16 I was paid QA at a local company. By the time I was 17 I was writing C code on a POSIX platform for money. By the time I was 24 I had by BS in CS. I turned it into a six figure career.

So, I was happy to buy tech for my kids. However, they haven't shown any interest in any sort of creation. They are however happy to consume content. In my experience, phones and tablets are really only for media consumption. If you hold out hope that one day they will create something, buy them a laptop (I did). So, my current plan is to keep my kids in mid-grade laptops (often cast off XPS13s that I have used for a few years). That way, they can create something if they really want to. But they don't. My 17 year old has a school provided chromebook for actual school work and uses her laptop to watch Netflix. My 14 year old has a laptop that he mostly uses to play games, but honestly sometimes he also reads interesting history or watches cool documentaries, which is cool - but not the same as learning to tinker or code.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2019, 10:16:00 AM by PDXTabs »

Tom Bri

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #60 on: April 15, 2019, 10:38:27 AM »
My kids got their phones when they graduated high school and went to college. 4 and 3 years ago. Prior to that if they needed to go out somewhere they packed my cheapo flip phone.

Hula Hoop

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #61 on: April 15, 2019, 11:00:19 AM »
PDXTabs - my daughters, particularly the older one who is 10 got really into building things with Scratch.  They made lots of Christmas cards and things like that.  Then I had a house guest who was talking about the Raspberry Pi and DD10 begged for one for her birthday.  TBH - we haven't really started exploring the Raspberry Pi as she's so busy with school right now but hopefully we can do a bit over Easter and the summer break.  We also got her a book called something like "python for kids" and she seems to be quite into it.  She likes the creative aspect of Scratch and Python and loves the fact that Python is a "real grown up computer language". 

So IMO it's a matter of giving the kids the tools to actually create things rather than just sitting zombie-like attached to their screens.  Neither of my kids has a cell phone yet (at 7 and 10) but DD10 is going to middle school next year so it's possible that we'll get her one.  Most likely, it will just be a flip phone so that she can call us if she has issues going to and coming home from school by herself.  But even if she has a flip phone, we want to make sure that she learns to be computer literate.  As others have pointed out, owning a smart phone or ipad is not the same as learning to code or learning how the things work.

« Last Edit: April 15, 2019, 11:04:10 AM by Hula Hoop »

PDXTabs

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #62 on: April 15, 2019, 11:50:05 AM »
PDXTabs - my daughters, particularly the older one who is 10 got really into building things with Scratch.  They made lots of Christmas cards and things like that.  Then I had a house guest who was talking about the Raspberry Pi and DD10 begged for one for her birthday.  TBH - we haven't really started exploring the Raspberry Pi as she's so busy with school right now but hopefully we can do a bit over Easter and the summer break.  We also got her a book called something like "python for kids" and she seems to be quite into it.  She likes the creative aspect of Scratch and Python and loves the fact that Python is a "real grown up computer language". 

That's awesome, I have a beaglebone, solder station, and a logic analyzer available if any of my kids ever get interested. But honestly, I think pure software is more fun because you don't have to mess with any hardware (but sometimes kids love hardware, because it's like magic). We have that Python book and it is very good, my oldest worked through some of it before deciding that it wasn't for her, which is fine.

MayDay

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #63 on: April 15, 2019, 04:52:28 PM »
Very soon after I first posted, my 11.5 year old now has a phone.

We are currently using Google family link. I can see where he is and lock down access. I don't like it though, because I can't come troll it by individual app. I can lock apps completely, and I can set a time limit for the phone (currently set to an hour a day). But I can't allow texting any time, even past the hour.   

Also, DS has already figured out he can use his Fitbit charge to test all night long 😬

So if anyone has other software recommendations that allow more tailored control, I am looking.

So far I'm happy with the decision. Texting with him is very helpful to me. He uses his hour for things like scratch and texting. No social media.

firescape

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #64 on: May 06, 2019, 08:10:06 PM »
What's interesting about this issue is the reasons parents have for getting their kids a cell phone in the first place. Most I've talked to say it's for 1 or 2 reasons. 1, for the safety of knowing they can communicate with their kids, know their whereabouts etc., and 2, their kid will fit in because most other parents have bought their kid a phone already.
Both strike me as completely irrational. Where we live, rural Michigan, is statistically one of the safest places to live (crime rate etc.) in the state,  it's also among the safest places to live in the country, and even (i would argue) on of the safest times and places to live in most of human history. I really don't buy the notion that a phone is going to make me less worried about my 10 year old's safety.
It also seems strange that many parents buy their kid a phone, often times against their better judgement, because most other parents have already done so. There is some weird echo chamber quality of most parents doing what most parents are doing, because they want to kid to fit in with other kids.
I know, I'm not saying all parents are like this. But I've known many that are.
Childhood is about living in a world of fascination, innocence and wonder. I'm for extending that period of time for my kids as long as I can. I don't see how a smart phone helps me with this.
Not too long ago I was out to dinner with my 3 kids, no devices, having a good time.
At the next table was another family with 3 kids that spent the entire time each staring into a device.  The parents were seated on the opposite side of the table and looked hopelessly bored. I noticed virtually no interaction among them the whole time.
I kept thinking, why go out to dinner like that, what's the point?

sjc0816

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #65 on: May 08, 2019, 07:13:38 AM »
My oldest got his first phone before 6th grade. My younger son is 9 and we just got him an iPhone (both iPhones were freebies).

I realize that is young...but without a landline, and my kids being home alone quite a bit (younger son alone a lot without older son).....not to mention, when my kids are out and about with friends, it is VERY convenient to be able to call them rather than search the neighborhood....so we decided it was time.

Like most things, it was easier to pull the trigger for my younger son after a few years of managing it with my older son. I was VERY concerned about it with older son, but it hasn't been a huge deal. We have all of the parental controls on them (we've eased up on them after a couple years of older son proving responsibility)....no social media for younger son. You can set time limits and manage them pretty easily. YES, they are a distraction and YES, they can be abused and get kids into trouble...but they are a part of life and learning to manage technology is something we have to teach our kids anyway.

I respect all decisions regarding this....I think a lot of it depends on the kids themselves, lifestyles, parenting styles, etc. No right answer here.

DadJokes

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #66 on: May 08, 2019, 07:26:00 AM »
An iPhone is fancy for a child, even an old one. If I can find one of those giant brick cell phones, I would totally want to give that to my son, mostly because of how funny it would be. Realistically, I'll probably get a basic flip phone or some other non-smart phone.

sjc0816

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #67 on: May 08, 2019, 08:41:46 AM »
An iPhone is fancy for a child, even an old one. If I can find one of those giant brick cell phones, I would totally want to give that to my son, mostly because of how funny it would be. Realistically, I'll probably get a basic flip phone or some other non-smart phone.

We could not find cheap flip phones. It made more sense financially to give old (FREE) used iPhones rather than pay for flip phones. Crazy.

DadJokes

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #68 on: May 08, 2019, 09:10:32 AM »
An iPhone is fancy for a child, even an old one. If I can find one of those giant brick cell phones, I would totally want to give that to my son, mostly because of how funny it would be. Realistically, I'll probably get a basic flip phone or some other non-smart phone.

We could not find cheap flip phones. It made more sense financially to give old (FREE) used iPhones rather than pay for flip phones. Crazy.

It's not about the financial aspect. I wouldn't want my child to have access to all of the apps that smart phones get. Maybe you can disable that feature. I don't know.

nereo

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #69 on: May 08, 2019, 09:20:12 AM »
An iPhone is fancy for a child, even an old one. If I can find one of those giant brick cell phones, I would totally want to give that to my son, mostly because of how funny it would be. Realistically, I'll probably get a basic flip phone or some other non-smart phone.

We could not find cheap flip phones. It made more sense financially to give old (FREE) used iPhones rather than pay for flip phones. Crazy.

It's not about the financial aspect. I wouldn't want my child to have access to all of the apps that smart phones get. Maybe you can disable that feature. I don't know.
You can disable, delete and prevent installation of apps, as well as turn off, screen or block internet capabilities very easily.  It's also much easier to locate a smartphone via software (and obstensibly the location of the kid holding it), and know where the phone has been.  Neither is foolproof, but both are now fairly robust.
Whether that's useful to you as a parent is deeply personal.   As I said upthread we have no plans on giving our kid a phone until the teenage years, smartphone or flip-phone or whatever they'll have in several years when she gets to that point.

sjc0816

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #70 on: May 08, 2019, 01:16:13 PM »
An iPhone is fancy for a child, even an old one. If I can find one of those giant brick cell phones, I would totally want to give that to my son, mostly because of how funny it would be. Realistically, I'll probably get a basic flip phone or some other non-smart phone.

We could not find cheap flip phones. It made more sense financially to give old (FREE) used iPhones rather than pay for flip phones. Crazy.

It's not about the financial aspect. I wouldn't want my child to have access to all of the apps that smart phones get. Maybe you can disable that feature. I don't know.


My kids cannot put any app on their phones without my permission. Itís locked down. If they try to get an app, it sends me a notification. I approve it or not. You can also disable all safari browsing.

RFAAOATB

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #71 on: May 08, 2019, 09:06:02 PM »
What's interesting about this issue is the reasons parents have for getting their kids a cell phone in the first place. Most I've talked to say it's for 1 or 2 reasons. 1, for the safety of knowing they can communicate with their kids, know their whereabouts etc., and 2, their kid will fit in because most other parents have bought their kid a phone already.
Both strike me as completely irrational. Where we live, rural Michigan, is statistically one of the safest places to live (crime rate etc.) in the state,  it's also among the safest places to live in the country, and even (i would argue) on of the safest times and places to live in most of human history. I really don't buy the notion that a phone is going to make me less worried about my 10 year old's safety.
It also seems strange that many parents buy their kid a phone, often times against their better judgement, because most other parents have already done so. There is some weird echo chamber quality of most parents doing what most parents are doing, because they want to kid to fit in with other kids.
I know, I'm not saying all parents are like this. But I've known many that are.
Childhood is about living in a world of fascination, innocence and wonder. I'm for extending that period of time for my kids as long as I can. I don't see how a smart phone helps me with this.
Not too long ago I was out to dinner with my 3 kids, no devices, having a good time.
At the next table was another family with 3 kids that spent the entire time each staring into a device.  The parents were seated on the opposite side of the table and looked hopelessly bored. I noticed virtually no interaction among them the whole time.
I kept thinking, why go out to dinner like that, what's the point?

Both of those reasons are rational to me.  Yes the odds of something bad happening are low, but the convenience factor is there.  It's just the way things are done.

Buying a phone so your kid can fit in is a very rational decision.  Are you really going to get your kids a flip phone in five years when everyone else has their parent's old iPhone?  When I was a kid I was a little bit late getting a Nintendo and one of the first to get a Super Nintendo.  Who here was stuck with Atari when everyone else had Nintendo?  As a kid were you closer to the first in line or last in line for getting the latest cool toys?  Are you living in an area where these purchases are in line with the peer group or is everyone on subsidized phone programs?

Considering many of you are buying a house smaller than you can afford, I'm willing to bet you're able to afford keeping your kid in line with their peer group.  Even if it doesn't align with your values I would recommend being open to softening up in this regard.  Saying no to your kid in the name of frugality is less noble than saying no to yourself.

The only harsh rule I might enforce is cracked screens are grounds for forfeiting your phone until you can afford the repair fee.  I'll buy the nice toys but you have to take care of them.

nereo

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #72 on: May 09, 2019, 04:50:29 AM »

Buying a phone so your kid can fit in is a very rational decision.  Are you really going to get your kids a flip phone in five years when everyone else has their parent's old iPhone?  When I was a kid I was a little bit late getting a Nintendo and one of the first to get a Super Nintendo.  Who here was stuck with Atari when everyone else had Nintendo?  As a kid were you closer to the first in line or last in line for getting the latest cool toys?  Are you living in an area where these purchases are in line with the peer group or is everyone on subsidized phone programs?

Considering many of you are buying a house smaller than you can afford, I'm willing to bet you're able to afford keeping your kid in line with their peer group.  Even if it doesn't align with your values I would recommend being open to softening up in this regard.  Saying no to your kid in the name of frugality is less noble than saying no to yourself.

The only harsh rule I might enforce is cracked screens are grounds for forfeiting your phone until you can afford the repair fee.  I'll buy the nice toys but you have to take care of them.


Hula Hoop

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #73 on: May 09, 2019, 07:00:00 AM »
I'm assuming sarcasm?  We need emoticons here so we can ascertain tone in these kinds of posts.

I'm planning to get my kid a flip phone next year when she's 11 and starts going to middle school.  She might go have lunch on her own with friends after school and things like that so it would be good to have a way to keep in contact.  No way am I getting her a smart phone until much later (probably when high school starts at 13-14) for about a billion reasons.

DadJokes

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #74 on: May 09, 2019, 07:12:20 AM »
I don't think it's sarcasm.

I fully understand wanting your kid to fit in a little bit. Kids are vicious - they're like baby rattlesnakes that haven't learned to control their venom yet. I certainly hope to instill enough self-confidence in my child that he doesn't care what others think, but I also wouldn't want my child to go through some of the same things I saw others who were a little different go through.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2019, 08:43:38 AM by DadJokes »

Hula Hoop

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #75 on: May 09, 2019, 08:41:36 AM »
Unfortunately, my daughter is already quite different.  She has a foreign mother (me), eats weird food as a result and has weird habits like going to bed at a reasonable hour.  Even worse, she's about a foot taller than anyone else in her class and painfully shy.  I hope I'm not condemning her to a life of pain in middle school.  But I know other kids who don't have smart phones at 11 who are perfectly fine.

gatortator

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #76 on: May 09, 2019, 11:27:49 AM »
Has any else signed the https://www.waituntil8th.org/ pledge to delay getting your child a smartphone until they are in 8th grade?

Ch@d

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #77 on: May 12, 2019, 06:11:37 AM »
My daughter is about to get her first phone for her 13th birthday. Pretty sure she's the last one in her class. 😁. I'll admit that it will be handy for after school activities.  It will also have tracking security software

CrustyBadger

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #78 on: May 12, 2019, 06:45:15 AM »
This is what I have noticed in my daughter's middle school peer group (suburban DC area, Grades 6-8 so ages 12-14)

- The kids **all** have cell phones.  Some 6th graders might not but they almost all do by 7th grade.  They are smart phones, not flip phones.

- The kids do not use landlines. I don't know if they don't have a landline phone or just don't use it.  But if a child doesn't have her own cell phone number, she is effectively unreachable.  (That's the kids' words, not mine (I drive a lot of carpool).   So-and-so can't work on the group project because she doesn't have a phone... we can't reach her!) . If I push them, they will realize that there are other ways to make sure she can get information about where and when to meet -- like calling her parents! -- but that is definitely not their first or second or third thought.

- Kids call each other to work on homework, arrange weekend hangout plans and get togethers, or just chat about whatever.  This all happens on their phones or  group texts.  Kids with a flip phone or no phone are simply not a part of this. 

- They game online together and talk a lot that way, too.   My daughter uses her desktop but I think most kids game on a laptop.

- Even the teachers seem to expect that kids will have a smart phone for use looking up things in class.

It is definitely socially ostracizing in 2019, in this area where we live, for kids not to have a smart phone.  It is not just a matter of kids wanting to play games on their phones or listen to music.  If everyone else is communicating via smartphone, it is very hard to be on the outside of this. 

For this reason, the movement in schools for all parents to get together and change the social norm (No phone till 8th grade) is the most useful way to proceed, IMO, if parents want their kids to delay use of a smartphone until at least 8th grade.

I think there's also been a semi-generational shift in attitudes towards smartphones for kids due to lower cost.   My older child is 17 and when he was in middle school, fewer kids had smartphones.  I think just in the past 5-8 years, the cost of a smart phone (especially refurbished ones) has come down enough so they have become affordable as a big Christmas or birthday present.

ilsy

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #79 on: May 12, 2019, 07:34:21 AM »
My daughter got a cell phone on her 10th birthday. The kids started to walk home from school and there was one incident when they couldn't open the door. They had an ipad with them, so they called me. I had to leave work and open the door for them. Since then, I changed the locks and DD got a cell phone for her BD. Just in case they have to call when they are on the way and don't have Internet to call from an ipad. DD is very social,  likes to go to her friends in the neighborhood and then they all walk to the nearby shopping plaza. Before she got her phone she was calling from her friends's phones or iwatches (still have no idea how it works). Her brother is now 10, but he won't be getting a phone for a while. No need for now, they usually are together and he isn't as social, so he doesn't have many friends to meet with. He is getting a desk-top, he needs it more than a cell phone.
So, for me it was a no brainer, my daughter's lifestyle kind of dictated when she got her cell phone.

Hula Hoop

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #80 on: May 12, 2019, 07:52:16 AM »
For those of you with middle schoolers with smart phones, what kind of software do you have on there to stop them looking at inappropriate sites, posting inappropriate stuff online etc?

ilsy

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #81 on: May 12, 2019, 05:57:31 PM »
Thanks @UndergroundDaytimeDad, I feel so much better about my parenting style.
I didn't think twice about buying a smart phone for my DD, it was cheaper on my plan to get another smart phone. Plus, the technology thing, why would I keep my kids behind on technology. Seems silly to me.
 
For those of you with middle schoolers with smart phones, what kind of software do you have on there to stop them looking at inappropriate sites, posting inappropriate stuff online etc?

First, define inappropriate. Second, there is no way I or any app is savvy enough to stop kids these days from searching, reading, watching something "inappropriate" (whatever that means). The only difference between the parents who really go strictly by the "inappropriate" book and me, is that I know from my daughter first hand that she read something that isn't "appropriate" for her age (according to other parents), and other parents live in a delusion that their kids would never... Those kids just hide the books and movies from their parents and my daughter gets them from the other kids and reads openly at home. She tells me what the "inappropriate" part is about and I wonder why is it considered "inappropriate."

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #82 on: May 12, 2019, 06:57:21 PM »
For those of you with middle schoolers with smart phones, what kind of software do you have on there to stop them looking at inappropriate sites, posting inappropriate stuff online etc?
[/quote


We're going to try out Mobicip to see how it works

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #83 on: May 12, 2019, 07:09:49 PM »
I loved to get the cell phone question. I just laughed uproariously and said oh ____ NO! The kids donít even ask anymore, Iím sad to say.

We talk about it every now and then these days in the context of phones being a financial drain and bad for their minds.

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #84 on: May 13, 2019, 05:49:43 AM »
I loved to get the cell phone question. I just laughed uproariously and said oh ____ NO! The kids donít even ask anymore, Iím sad to say.

We talk about it every now and then these days in the context of phones being a financial drain and bad for their minds.

How old are your kids?

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #85 on: May 13, 2019, 09:10:11 AM »
Ah, another reason for getting a smart phone, my DD (like me and my mom) is directionally challenged. She got lost a few times in our neighborhood when she was delivering invitations to her friends. She called me and I found her, I had explained to her how to use Google maps and I think we are good now.

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #86 on: May 13, 2019, 11:49:44 AM »


First, define inappropriate. Second, there is no way I or any app is savvy enough to stop kids these days from searching, reading, watching something "inappropriate" (whatever that means). The only difference between the parents who really go strictly by the "inappropriate" book and me, is that I know from my daughter first hand that she read something that isn't "appropriate" for her age (according to other parents), and other parents live in a delusion that their kids would never... Those kids just hide the books and movies from their parents and my daughter gets them from the other kids and reads openly at home. She tells me what the "inappropriate" part is about and I wonder why is it considered "inappropriate."


Specifically, porn.  There is already a 7 year old boy in another class at my kids' school who describes the porn he watches on his older brother's phone (older brother is around 11) to the other kids in his class.  Luckily, my daughter is in a different class from this kid.


Another thing which concerns me is that apparently in middle school boys start asking girls to send them nude photos.  A 12 year old girl at the middle school attached to my kids' elementary school sent a nude photo to a boy in her class and he (of course!) sent it to all his friends who them send it to basically the whole school.  This poor girl was absolutely mortified.  Obviously, an app probably wouldn't stop this but I'd like to hear other parents' advice on monitoring their kids' phones at this age and having conversations about appropriate internet usage.

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #87 on: May 13, 2019, 11:58:47 AM »


First, define inappropriate. Second, there is no way I or any app is savvy enough to stop kids these days from searching, reading, watching something "inappropriate" (whatever that means). The only difference between the parents who really go strictly by the "inappropriate" book and me, is that I know from my daughter first hand that she read something that isn't "appropriate" for her age (according to other parents), and other parents live in a delusion that their kids would never... Those kids just hide the books and movies from their parents and my daughter gets them from the other kids and reads openly at home. She tells me what the "inappropriate" part is about and I wonder why is it considered "inappropriate."


Specifically, porn.  There is already a 7 year old boy in another class at my kids' school who describes the porn he watches on his older brother's phone (older brother is around 11) to the other kids in his class.  Luckily, my daughter is in a different class from this kid.


Another thing which concerns me is that apparently in middle school boys start asking girls to send them nude photos.  A 12 year old girl at the middle school attached to my kids' elementary school sent a nude photo to a boy in her class and he (of course!) sent it to all his friends who them send it to basically the whole school.  This poor girl was absolutely mortified.  Obviously, an app probably wouldn't stop this but I'd like to hear other parents' advice on monitoring their kids' phones at this age and having conversations about appropriate internet usage.

Courts have found that spreading nude pictures of classmates is distribution of child pornography in some states. The cases generally aren't treated as seriously as if an adult had spread the pictures, but I certainly hope more came of that than just a slap on the wrist and an email to parents.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2019, 12:20:16 PM by DadJokes »

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #88 on: May 13, 2019, 12:05:01 PM »


First, define inappropriate. Second, there is no way I or any app is savvy enough to stop kids these days from searching, reading, watching something "inappropriate" (whatever that means). The only difference between the parents who really go strictly by the "inappropriate" book and me, is that I know from my daughter first hand that she read something that isn't "appropriate" for her age (according to other parents), and other parents live in a delusion that their kids would never... Those kids just hide the books and movies from their parents and my daughter gets them from the other kids and reads openly at home. She tells me what the "inappropriate" part is about and I wonder why is it considered "inappropriate."


Specifically, porn.  There is already a 7 year old boy in another class at my kids' school who describes the porn he watches on his older brother's phone (older brother is around 11) to the other kids in his class.  Luckily, my daughter is in a different class from this kid.


Another thing which concerns me is that apparently in middle school boys start asking girls to send them nude photos.  A 12 year old girl at the middle school attached to my kids' elementary school sent a nude photo to a boy in her class and he (of course!) sent it to all his friends who them send it to basically the whole school.  This poor girl was absolutely mortified.  Obviously, an app probably wouldn't stop this but I'd like to hear other parents' advice on monitoring their kids' phones at this age and having conversations about appropriate internet usage.

'Sexting' is a big issue amongst even the older elementary school kids in our district (ages 10-12), and a perennial issue at school board meetings.  It's also illegal in our county between minors.
Unfettered communication with anyone else on the planet can be another issue, as it attracts predators and skilled manipulators.
And of course pornography - even though there's a lively debate about what threshold must be met for something to be pornographic and whether all depictions of sexual activity should be verboten.  I'm going to go out here on a limb and suggest that most parents would object to their pre-teens watching videos of hardcore group sex, though some might not want that kind of censorship.

Then there's the issue of data-collection and monetizing on minors.  Everywhere you go and everything you send or receive can be recorded and analyzed by marketers. Some will shrug at that as an inevitability of modern life, while others (myself included) are deeply concerned how such data collection could be used year down the road. Currently the US has very little in the way of privacy protections, even for minors.

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #89 on: May 13, 2019, 12:39:35 PM »
Call me naÔve, but all of this is exactly why I want to wait to give my daughter access to a smart phone. 

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #90 on: May 13, 2019, 12:46:03 PM »


First, define inappropriate. Second, there is no way I or any app is savvy enough to stop kids these days from searching, reading, watching something "inappropriate" (whatever that means). The only difference between the parents who really go strictly by the "inappropriate" book and me, is that I know from my daughter first hand that she read something that isn't "appropriate" for her age (according to other parents), and other parents live in a delusion that their kids would never... Those kids just hide the books and movies from their parents and my daughter gets them from the other kids and reads openly at home. She tells me what the "inappropriate" part is about and I wonder why is it considered "inappropriate."


Specifically, porn.  There is already a 7 year old boy in another class at my kids' school who describes the porn he watches on his older brother's phone (older brother is around 11) to the other kids in his class.  Luckily, my daughter is in a different class from this kid.


Another thing which concerns me is that apparently in middle school boys start asking girls to send them nude photos.  A 12 year old girl at the middle school attached to my kids' elementary school sent a nude photo to a boy in her class and he (of course!) sent it to all his friends who them send it to basically the whole school.  This poor girl was absolutely mortified.  Obviously, an app probably wouldn't stop this but I'd like to hear other parents' advice on monitoring their kids' phones at this age and having conversations about appropriate internet usage.

My advice is just to talk and explain that sexting is illegal and stuff like that. Bottom line, talking goes long ways and doesn't destroy trust. The "inappropriate" activity my DD and her classmates were doing was reading and watching "Love Simon," which is PG13, and they are still 12.

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #91 on: May 13, 2019, 01:29:19 PM »


First, define inappropriate. Second, there is no way I or any app is savvy enough to stop kids these days from searching, reading, watching something "inappropriate" (whatever that means). The only difference between the parents who really go strictly by the "inappropriate" book and me, is that I know from my daughter first hand that she read something that isn't "appropriate" for her age (according to other parents), and other parents live in a delusion that their kids would never... Those kids just hide the books and movies from their parents and my daughter gets them from the other kids and reads openly at home. She tells me what the "inappropriate" part is about and I wonder why is it considered "inappropriate."


Specifically, porn.  There is already a 7 year old boy in another class at my kids' school who describes the porn he watches on his older brother's phone (older brother is around 11) to the other kids in his class.  Luckily, my daughter is in a different class from this kid.


Another thing which concerns me is that apparently in middle school boys start asking girls to send them nude photos.  A 12 year old girl at the middle school attached to my kids' elementary school sent a nude photo to a boy in her class and he (of course!) sent it to all his friends who them send it to basically the whole school.  This poor girl was absolutely mortified.  Obviously, an app probably wouldn't stop this but I'd like to hear other parents' advice on monitoring their kids' phones at this age and having conversations about appropriate internet usage.

My advice is just to talk and explain that sexting is illegal and stuff like that. Bottom line, talking goes long ways and doesn't destroy trust. The "inappropriate" activity my DD and her classmates were doing was reading and watching "Love Simon," which is PG13, and they are still 12.


Smartphones aren't just uni-directional though.  It's not just what they intentionally view and send, but what gets sent to them (with and without their consent).

Anyone can send a pre-teen genital picts if their phone is unlocked, and apps masquerading as fun, free 'games' can track their locations, activate their camera or microphone (often without their knowledge) and record what they do.

Studies (and legal precedent) routinely show how pre-teens and young teenagers routinely misjudge how dangerous an action may be, particularly in the digital space.

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #92 on: May 14, 2019, 08:03:41 AM »
My oldest is 13 and he would love a smart phone but we aren't planning to get him one any time soon.  He will certainly have a phone when he starts driving.  Until then, we are not in a huge rush.  Even if there are practices or events where he needs to communicate with us, he will be with friends and coaches that have phones. 

When he does get a phone, we will definitely limit what is available on it.  Top concern would be pornography followed by games that are not healthy to play for excessive amounts of time. 

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #93 on: May 14, 2019, 09:23:41 AM »


First, define inappropriate. Second, there is no way I or any app is savvy enough to stop kids these days from searching, reading, watching something "inappropriate" (whatever that means). The only difference between the parents who really go strictly by the "inappropriate" book and me, is that I know from my daughter first hand that she read something that isn't "appropriate" for her age (according to other parents), and other parents live in a delusion that their kids would never... Those kids just hide the books and movies from their parents and my daughter gets them from the other kids and reads openly at home. She tells me what the "inappropriate" part is about and I wonder why is it considered "inappropriate."


Specifically, porn.  There is already a 7 year old boy in another class at my kids' school who describes the porn he watches on his older brother's phone (older brother is around 11) to the other kids in his class.  Luckily, my daughter is in a different class from this kid.


Another thing which concerns me is that apparently in middle school boys start asking girls to send them nude photos.  A 12 year old girl at the middle school attached to my kids' elementary school sent a nude photo to a boy in her class and he (of course!) sent it to all his friends who them send it to basically the whole school.  This poor girl was absolutely mortified.  Obviously, an app probably wouldn't stop this but I'd like to hear other parents' advice on monitoring their kids' phones at this age and having conversations about appropriate internet usage.

My advice is just to talk and explain that sexting is illegal and stuff like that. Bottom line, talking goes long ways and doesn't destroy trust. The "inappropriate" activity my DD and her classmates were doing was reading and watching "Love Simon," which is PG13, and they are still 12.


Smartphones aren't just uni-directional though.  It's not just what they intentionally view and send, but what gets sent to them (with and without their consent).

Anyone can send a pre-teen genital picts if their phone is unlocked, and apps masquerading as fun, free 'games' can track their locations, activate their camera or microphone (often without their knowledge) and record what they do.

Studies (and legal precedent) routinely show how pre-teens and young teenagers routinely misjudge how dangerous an action may be, particularly in the digital space.
Anyone can send me genital pics, I wonder why I don't get them. What stops them? I thought smart phones routinely send a request to confirm if I allow my camera or microphone or location to be turned on. If that's possible to do without me knowing, then someone is recording me as I type this. And that is the exact reason why I would definitely upgrade my kids to the newest smart phones, where all those loop holes are figured out.

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #94 on: May 14, 2019, 09:47:36 AM »

Anyone can send me genital pics, I wonder why I don't get them. What stops them? I thought smart phones routinely send a request to confirm if I allow my camera or microphone or location to be turned on. If that's possible to do without me knowing, then someone is recording me as I type this. And that is the exact reason why I would definitely upgrade my kids to the newest smart phones, where all those loop holes are figured out.

You probably don't get them because your circle of aquintences have matured beyond that stage, and because you aren't on tinder.  I was recently chaperoning a group of middle-schoolers and when someone asked who had received nude or semi-nude photos from someone with a smartphone said yes.

Yes, most OS on smart phones will ask you to confirm when an app is accessing your location or your camera - but there are two problems with that.  First, a number of apps have been found to circumvent this precaution and second, you are relying on the end-used (in this case a child) to make this decision.

For the former there's a long line of widespread privacy violations, including recently the Facebook App accessing both the camera and the microphone without the user's knowledge or permission. Your cell phone carrier always tracks your location (it has to - otherwise you wouldn't have reliable cell service), and it's only recently become public knowledge that they have been monetizing your movement patterns. 

For the latter the in-app requests are typically worded to evoke a 'yes', like "MMM-app would like to access your core settings in order to provide you with seamless gameplay and bonus levels!  Click yes."  Often apps 'require' such permissions to have full functionality.  It's not surprising that even adults often click 'yes' without fully realizing what they are agreeing to - convenience wins out over security.

Another thought - the hardware matters far less than the software for privacy, and while newer OS tends to be more secure, each iteration also opens up more vulnerabilities.  It's basically a cat-and-mouse game. 

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #95 on: May 14, 2019, 09:55:29 AM »
Anyone can send me genital pics, I wonder why I don't get them. What stops them? I thought smart phones routinely send a request to confirm if I allow my camera or microphone or location to be turned on. If that's possible to do without me knowing, then someone is recording me as I type this. And that is the exact reason why I would definitely upgrade my kids to the newest smart phones, where all those loop holes are figured out.

Probably because you don't install the many garbage "free" apps that kids do...because their friends do, and it's cool and whatever. These apps aren't free and are paid for first and foremost by mining and selling personal data, and second by showing ads. It's shocking how much data these companies are able to collect. They know way more about you than you realize, like very personal stuff: Age, location, commute, where you shop and hang out, interests, and on and on. As they gather more data the build a more complete profile of who you are, even how much you likely make. You may think you're somewhat anonymous/unknown sitting behind a veneer of privacy, and that's exactly what they want you to think.

So they know you are old, relatively speaking. Nefarious entities that would do something like sending genital pics don't want to waste their time with you - you are not the target audience. They target gullible kids, preteens, and teens.

If you read nothing else, please read this: https://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/fs/2017/272010.htm

Lots of other scams out there as well:
https://www.1stunitedcu.org/blog/20180615/social-media-scams-targeting-east-bay-youth
https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/local/5-on-your-side/clever-scams-target-kids-online/209920475
https://www.brookings.edu/research/sextortion-cybersecurity-teenagers-and-remote-sexual-assault/

This is not the age of TV and radio where everyone gets the same view of the world. Smart devices are...smart...and the view presented to the end user is a product of who they are and how they use their device. Don't assume your kid's experience online is the same as your own.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2019, 09:59:27 AM by FINate »

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #96 on: May 14, 2019, 11:11:03 AM »
Even if there are practices or events where he needs to communicate with us, he will be with friends and coaches that have phones.

Thatís just what I had to put a stop to. My daughter has a phone and I trust her with it, but I didnít want her handing her phone over to a classmate. The other tweens parents didnít think he was mature enough to use one, so I didnít want him to have access via her phone.

They would have a situation at school where kids expected they were staying till 5 pm for an after school class b but it turned out that the club was canceled and they needed to be picked up at 3:30. Kids with cell phones could could text their parents and let them know the need for alternate arrangements. Kids without cell phones would borrow their friendsí phones to call or text their parents.

I didnít want some kid texting some random parent on my daughteís phone. The kids without phones need to get a pass from the teacher and walk downstairs to the front office and use the front office phone. If parents donít think Is there a child can be trusted with their own cell phone, they certainly shouldnít be trusted with my daughterís!

As a teacher, thereís no way Iíd hand my cell phone over to a student to make a call. If practice is cancelled due to thunderstorms, kids have to call from the school office or wait for parents to hear the weather report.

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #97 on: May 14, 2019, 01:00:05 PM »
Even if there are practices or events where he needs to communicate with us, he will be with friends and coaches that have phones.

Thatís just what I had to put a stop to. My daughter has a phone and I trust her with it, but I didnít want her handing her phone over to a classmate. The other tweens parents didnít think he was mature enough to use one, so I didnít want him to have access via her phone.

They would have a situation at school where kids expected they were staying till 5 pm for an after school class b but it turned out that the club was canceled and they needed to be picked up at 3:30. Kids with cell phones could could text their parents and let them know the need for alternate arrangements. Kids without cell phones would borrow their friendsí phones to call or text their parents.

I didnít want some kid texting some random parent on my daughteís phone. The kids without phones need to get a pass from the teacher and walk downstairs to the front office and use the front office phone. If parents donít think Is there a child can be trusted with their own cell phone, they certainly shouldnít be trusted with my daughterís!

As a teacher, thereís no way Iíd hand my cell phone over to a student to make a call. If practice is cancelled due to thunderstorms, kids have to call from the school office or wait for parents to hear the weather report.

If/when we get to this point our plan is to get a bare-bones burner phone for voice and text, preferably w/o camera. No internet, no apps. Not only is this less expensive, but also no worries about screen time (games, social media) or wandering into the dark corners of the interwebs.

ilsy

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #98 on: May 17, 2019, 11:51:37 PM »
So they know you are old, relatively speaking. Nefarious entities that would do something like sending genital pics don't want to waste their time with you - you are not the target audience. They target gullible kids, preteens, and teens.

This is not the age of TV and radio where everyone gets the same view of the world. Smart devices are...smart...and the view presented to the end user is a product of who they are and how they use their device. Don't assume your kid's experience online is the same as your own.
I should be their target audience because I am not underage, have money and can pay for things. If their target audience is below the legal age they risk getting in jail even before they reach a real child's phone (just an FYI).

BTW, my kids ask permission to install new apps.

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Re: When did/will your kids get their first cell phone?
« Reply #99 on: May 21, 2019, 09:26:12 AM »
One of the main problems is the peer pressure among kids. Most adults give their kids phones way too early so you're pressured to give your own kid one for fear they feel like an outcast among their friends.

It's hard to convince them repeatedly that having a phone isn't important because it's like you're telling them that have common interests with your friends isn't important.