Yes, I’m one of those parents. My 5-year old has a phone.
It’s not fancy. It’s one of those phones that cost a couple hundred dollars back before smart phones. In fact, I had one very similar and I thought it was basically the coolest thing ever. It’s a flip phone with all sorts of different ringtones. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. And to my 5-year old, it’s basically the coolest thing ever. Lucky for me, she’s very obedient and quiet right now so I’m quite positive that none of her friends or teammates ever know she has it with her but I know I can’t count on that forever. One day I’ll be that parent that all the moms complain about because their daughter or son is now asking for a phone because they know my daughter has one. Before we get to that point, parents, let me just apologize. I promise I’m not trying to ruin your lives.
My 5-year old gets to take the phone with her only for certain circumstances. If we’re at home, it’s checked in to a certain location and it must remain there the entire time she is home. She gets to take it with her when she goes to friends’ homes, dance, gymnastics, and any other time she’s away from home without her dad or I. It’s really just a safety feature for us. We’ve heard the stories about what can happen, we’ve had some happen to us, and not that this will stop them from happening to our daughter but at least if they do, or if she just no longer wants to be in a situation, she knows that she can call us and we will come pick her up.
Reasons why my 5-year old has a phone
1. Oftentimes I leave my daughter at her practices because as much as I enjoy sitting through 3 hours of gymnastics and dance each week, watching her do the same things over and over again, my son can’t stand it some days and would rather be shopping at the local grocery store or shopping at the local hardware store or just shopping for anything instead of sitting on those benches again. Unfortunately her practices aren’t near many things so we have to travel and in those times we get stuck in traffic, I can call her or she can call when it’s over and I can talk to her until we’re there to pick her up or at least let her know where we are. She can also use it during those practices if she ends up getting hurt or sick and I can immediately come get her instead of her having to wait until practice is finished.
2. She gets to take it to play dates. Although no one may harm her, if they do and she can get to her phone, she can call me. She knows that even if I don’t pick up in time, I’ll be rushing to go pick her up. If she can call me twice (assuming I don’t pick up), I know for sure it’s an emergency.
Emergencies aside, there’s also just times when I’m late or she and a friend are done playing earlier than the time we agreed on and in that case, she can call me. Usually the parents can do that too, but at least she knows that she can call and I’ll be there.
3. Not usually, but on rare occasion she’ll be invited to a friend’s home that I don’t know at all. Most recently she was invited to a classmate’s birthday party who recently moved into the city next to ours and I had never met them. I felt more comfortable that my daughter was going with a friend I know well but I still didn’t like the idea of her going to a place I’d never been before. She took the phone with her which really calmed me down about the whole idea. When the friend’s mom who was supposed to be picking them up didn’t pick them up on time, as my daughter wasn’t home when I thought she should be, it was nice to be able to call my daughter to see if she was picked up or to see where she was.
While she’s only 5-years old and really doesn’t need a phone, let’s face it, the phone is really for me. I know I can’t stop every bad thing from happening to her but I know that at least there’s a good chance we’ll be able to communicate if needed. Now I just need to teach her to improve her spelling so that she can send texts to me that actually make sense.
A little about the phone
This phone, like I mentioned, is a flip phone. It cost us $20 which is great because when she loses it or drops it and it breaks (one of them will definitely happen, I’m just not sure which one will come first), it’s easily replaceable.
The phone is on a monthly plan with minutes. As we have phones that she can use to call her friends (our phones), she doesn’t need to ever call anyone but mom and dad with this phone. Besides, she’s 5. Who will she be calling that has their own phone? Probably not many.
This monthly plan has rollover minutes and each text counts as one minute which is perfect for us. Usually each month we use about 10-20 minutes total.
There is also no contract with this phone so if we find a better plan somewhere, we’ll be able to make the switch easily.
When we were looking for plans and companies, the most important thing to us was lowest price for everything. We lucked out and found a very simple plan starting at $5.00 per month. Funny though, when we went to purchase the plan, it was hard to find. Luckily we found it though and we’re really enjoying our $20 “investment” and only paying $5/month.