Dating cell phones

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So do 69% of 11-14 year olds and 31% of kids aged 8-10, according to a 2010 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

For your teen, having a phone offers the same kind of security it does for you. Teens also may see having a phone as part of fitting in with their friends.

She says, "We want our kids to be independent, to be able to walk home from school and play at the playground without us. "Kids in carpools may not need phones, but kids traveling on a subway or walking to school may.

We want them to have that old-fashioned, fun experience of being on their own, and cell phones can help with that. It's about who they are as individuals, what's going on in their lives, and how much they can handle, not a certain age or grade." Should you check who your child is calling and what she's tweeting? "I know that kids consider mobile devices to be personal property," she says.

Think beyond your child's age before making the cell phone decision. The rate at which kids mature varies -- it will even be different among siblings." And think long and hard about whether your child actually needs rather than wants that phone.

Caroline Knorr, parenting editor with the nonprofit group Common Sense Media, says, "Maturity and the ability to be responsible are more important than a child's numerical age. "Children really only need phones if they're traveling alone from place to place," Evans says.

But there is also the potential for "cyber bullying," which is social harassment via text, instant messaging, or other social media.

If your child has a cell phone, you can call or text him to find out where he is and what he's doing and inform him of your own plans.

It can make you feel safer just knowing where your kids are.

And 28% of all traffic accidents are caused by drivers using a phone to text or call, according to the National Safety Council.

Don't assume your teen won't use a phone while driving.

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