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Are there age guidelines for allowing my child to own a cell phone?

Cell phones have become a status symbol, and even young children are clamoring for them. The decision to give a child a cell phone should depend not only on need, but also on whether or not s/he can be responsible for taking care of it.

Parents give their children cell phones as a safety measure as soon as they start to participate in activities on their own, usually around middle school. Explain that the cell phone is for safety, not long calls with their friends.

Source: "Teach Your Child Cell Phone Etiquette"; NYU Child Study Center "Kids and Cell Phones: Staying Connected"