More than half of tweens have cell phones

More than half of tweens have cell phones
This is the first in a week-long series on tween cell phone usage.

My tween wants her own cell phone, but does not yet have one.  She has told me that she's in the minority and that most of peers have their own phones, but I wasn't so sure she was correct on that fact.  Turns out, she was right.

In a survey by the National Consumers League (NCL) released last week, 56 percent of parents have purchased cell phones for their tweens. 

Most tween received their cell phones at age 10 or 11. The study said the top reasons cited by parents for getting a phone were:

  • safety (84 percent);
  • tracking child's after-school activities (73 percent);
  • and because the child asked for one (16 percent.)

Nearly a quarter of households surveyed reported that they pay more for their tween's cell phone than they had anticipated. (It is worth noting that NCL acknowledges underwriting from TracFone Wireless, Inc., whose grant funded the survey.)

I appreciated what NCL said in its press release on their tween cell phone survey of over 800 families:

Figuring out how to manage a child’s use of one of these high-tech gadgets can often require the skills of a seasoned diplomat, the steely nerve of a tightrope walker, and the tech savvy of a Silicon Valley computer geek.

Before I get my tween a phone, I clearly need to develop at last a few of these skills.

What about you?  At what age would you or did you buy your kid a cell phone?

Tomorrow: Questions to ask before deciding to buy a cell phone
Wednesday: Prepaid cell phone options for tweens
Thursday: Dangers of a tween having a cell phone
Friday: Does having a cell phone keep your tween safer?

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