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Parents Talk: When Do You Give Children Cell Phones?

Patch Parents Council takes on another hot topic.

This week the Patch Parents Council talks about cell phones.

When is an appropriate age to give your child a cell phone? Do you do so for safety reasons or to have a line on your kids at all times? Is it a matter of teaching them responsibility? Or do you have other reasons?

What about iPhones, iPads and other smart technology? Many babies and young children have turned to playing with their parents' smart phones instead of toys. Have you experienced this? What are your thoughts on getting children to use smart technology?

Patch's feature, "Parents Talk," is meant to help build a community of support for families in Fairfield County through active discussion of important issues. Each week, we'll introduce a new topic and hope you'll participate in the conversation, which will be moderated and furthered by select parent council representatives in your town. Comment threads will close after the weekend.

Please use the comment box below for questions, or to share your experiences and the lessons you have learned. Please also submit questions or topics for future discussions to Associate Regional Editor Liz Mitchell at liz@patch.com and Regional Editor Michael Dinan at michaeld@patch.com.

And if you'd like to join our parent council, let us know.

Erin E. Harrison April 22, 2011 at 05:57 PM
My almost 5-year-old just recently discovered 'apps' on my Droid and I have to admit, the kids' games on my phone come in handy sometimes when we are waiting in a restaurant or doctor's office. As for giving your kids a smart phone or other smart device, I think it depends on the child. High-school aged kids need rules and restrictions with their phones as they do with anything else.
parental_unit April 22, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Never. Cell phones potentially cause cancer, especially in developing brains. Why test out the hypothesis on your own child? And cell phones cause driving accidents. This is not in dispute. Why knowingly put your teenage child in harm's way. Oh, for the convenience. Oh. Mankind survived just fine for the last million years without cell phones. Now we have incorrectly concluded we can't live without them. Give your children cell phones if you don't like them.
Libby Jones April 22, 2011 at 07:27 PM
Technology should be used as a tool to improve our lives and that of our children. Technology can become just another distraction or time-waster. The last thing America needs as it become more and more obsese is another gadget that makes our children sedentary.
Four Jacks April 22, 2011 at 08:58 PM
How about giving them your attention or crayons and paper when you have wait-time? Games on droids are like putting your kid in front of the TV! How about hang-man, word-search puzzles, tic-tac-toe, and numerous other games that a parent can play with their child. Oh so easy to just give them an electronic device to turn their brains to mush!
Saul Green April 23, 2011 at 02:28 PM
So Max... .. are you a good mother by example? Maybe you should get some crayons.
JMac April 23, 2011 at 03:55 PM
As if anyone would be caught dead in a Jag.
jill meyers, lcsw April 28, 2011 at 03:19 PM
I am pleased to see the wariness of local parents. I am a local teen psychotherapist and most of the teens I see are "fully loaded" by sixth grade with a MacBook, Ipad or itouch, cell phone or iphone and several social media accounts. Some tell me they think they may have late onset ADD because they have trouble concentrating on homework. I tell them to unplug first, for at lease an hour, and then see how they feel.
Longtime Westporter April 29, 2011 at 03:07 AM
This is a good question and I look forward to the answers. But it dismays me that already writers are making nasty comments about other writers. How about keeping the discussion on the topic and just sharing "I messages"? :-) I do play Hangman and Tic-Tac-Toe with my grandkids on the Droid, and I could just pull out paper instead. But then I'd have to think up some clever words.

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