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Cell phones, even the most basic ones these days, are like little wireless computers, so you never know what your kids are going to come across as soon as they begin riding the digital wave. It’s bad enough that they hog your cell but now they’re begging for one of their own!

In our quest to be perfect parents — or at least really, really good ones — we turned to Common Sense Media for an expert’s opinion on how young is too young for a cell phone. Here’s what the pros say:

Age Is Just a Number
There’s no right or wrong age to give a kid a phone if parents believe their kids are mature enough to handle the responsibility of owning one. If the kids have dropped yours a million times this year, you might want to wait or get a really good warranty!

Kids Do Not NEED Cell Phones
Despite what your kids say, they won’t actually die from being the only child at school without a cell. The decision really has to come from the parents, so if you don’t think your kid is ready, no means no.

Make Your Own Rules
The key to keeping kids—and their privacy—safe is to lay down some house rules. For instance, make your kids ask first before taking pictures with their cell’s camera and insist that they only answer calls from known numbers.

Have Control Over Purchases
A credit card bill for hundreds of dollars worth of apps or songs is a lesson you don’t want to learn the hard way.

Check In
Parents should know what kids are doing on their cells, however there is some middle ground between approving each text and not wanting to invade kids’ privacy at all. Try spot-checking your kids’ phones, so you know what’s up, online and off.

(Source: Common Sense Media)

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