Ok here’s my point of view – don’t give you kids a cell phone at all until they turn 18!
I’ll let that be digested for a while; which kid actually needs a cell phone? I never needed it, most of my friends didn’t need one and none of you readers who are my age or older needed one. Or had one! And most people around the age of 26 & above probably didn’t get a cell phone until they hit their 20s. And we didn’t really need them but hey it would have been great to chat up your girlfriend at that age right?
I see parents giving their kids an iphone or a smartphone these days and think that it’s not needed. I know it’s convenient for you to contact your kid and in some cases to keep a track of the boy/girl but that’s the only good thing that I can think off. And if you do, why give them a cool, classy phone with all the things that can keep them distracted for hours? Give them a small uncool phone that will allow incoming & outgoing calls and send SMSes. That’s it, that’s all a kid needs to do at that age and that’s all you should give them. Unless you do have a really smart & mature kid who will not misuse his/her phone. There’s way too much trouble they can get into with the phone rather than without.
If your kid is away from you most of the time, like they stay in a hostel and you stay in another city, state or country then I guess the cell phone is required but once again limit the kid’s usage on it to Texting & calling. Keep it to the bare minimum until they grow old. I was shocked at what school kids with camera phones & internet connections can do and are doing in many places. It’s good that some schools are restricting the usage in classes and that’s a wise decision. Once they hit 18 it’s all over anyways so no problem there.