Cell Phone Wars {Surviving 13}

Kids these days seem to be getting cell phones at a younger and younger age. My husband and I always agreed that thirteen seemed a fair age for our kids to get cell phones. We aren’t anti-technology and they both have had iPods for years. The iPods can do almost everything that a phone can do, except send texts (when not on WiFi) and make phone calls.

My daughter turned thirteen a month ago and she still does not have a cell phone. She assumed and told us that she is getting an iPhone 8. My husband and I recently upgraded to 8s because he didn’t even own an iPhone. When he went to purchase his there was a B1G1F deal. We debated saving the 8 for our daughter, as I was perfectly happy with my 6s. However, my husband told me that I should have the 8 and I didn’t really want a 13 year old having a better phone than me. We told her that she could get a cell phone at 13, but never told her it would be a new phone.

We’ve heard countless stories from my our daughter about how many of her friends have broken their phone screens or even lost their cell phones. Since when did it become the norm to allow children to carry around these, several hundred dollar pieces of technology, that are basically mini-computers?!!

Some parents I’ve talked to have gotten phones for their kids because both parents work late and it’s easier to keep up-to-date with their kids whereabouts and activities. Others have children who, if they had had a cell phone, could have avoided an anxiety-filled experience.

I see a cell phone as just another distraction. And if I’m going to give my daughter a phone, there are going to be rules set in place. The first stipulation we put in place months before she turned 13 was that she wasn’t being handed a phone at 13. She would have to show that she is responsible as well. Responsible being – she doesn’t need to be asked to do things ten times before they get done, that she doesn’t hold the family up because she’s late, that she gets her homework completed and gets to bed on time…..nothing life shattering. And guess what, months later, she still has not shown us this responsibility. So, she still doesn’t have a phone.

I also admit we were a bit lax with her iPod use. We’ve been a bit stricter now with her electronic time, but once a cell phone is involved, we have a phone contract that will be in place. Again, if she really wants the phone, she’ll sign the contract and follow our rules.

I know that she’s the only one in her friends group, and possibly even the whole grade, who doesn’t have a cell phone. In the rare times that she has needed to contact us, she borrows a friend’s phone or use the school phone. Somehow, millions of kids, including myself, were able to survive growing up without a cell phone.

So, we will continue to have to withstand the fights and the tears until she shows us that she is responsible enough to handle another piece of technology. I hope as an adult she can look back and be thankful that we didn’t just give her what she wanted and made her show she could be responsible. But for now, we will have to withstand the sometimes daily arguments. #Surviving13



  1. Last year, we changed our technology rules so that they have to keep their devices downstairs and out of their bedrooms. This has really made a difference for our family. We have a “conveyor belt” of phones…when I get a new phone about every 3 years, my old phone goes to my daughter and her phone goes to my son. It’s worked well so far. We also had them on a talk/text plan in junior high. Technology can be a great thing, but it can also be a constant battle for their attention!

    • Technology is definitely a double-edged sword. It’s hard because growing up, I didn’t have all this technology so navigating this is all new to me! I don’t plan on upgrading my phone anytime soon, but I think a 6s is a decent first phone!

  2. Bravo for you not giving in to the “norm” nowadays. It would be difficult because everyone else is doing it. I think its great overall as a family!

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