My kids are coming back from their summer visitation with their biological mother in Florida in a few days. I know a big topic of discussion when they get home will be my son's phone. You see, my son is now 12. My daughter is 10. He has had the same flip phone (the kind you can't access the internet on and the kind you have to annoyingly press the same button several times to form certain letters when texting) since he was 8. Even 8 years old was, I thought, too young to have a phone. But I got it for him because of some contact issues we had while he was away on visitations.

This phone is still what he uses, and in the past year his now 10 year old sister borrows it as well. Phone plans, and phones themselves, are expensive. But I started noticing all his friends not only have phones but have smartphones. Last year at his birthday outing I noticed some of the kids had newer phones than I had. Hmmm. So today, knowing the conversation would be coming up about his "crappy" phone, I did a quick google search for average age kids are getting smartphones. I found this New York Times story from last summer.

Wow. In 2012 the average age was 12. But as of last year it had dropped to 10.

This is just an average, so obviously this means a lot of parents of second graders feel fine about handing a smartphone to a 7 year old. I'm kind of blown away right now. Is this just an epidemic of spoiling kids? Or am I being too frugal and too conscious of what a 10 year old can run into on the internet?

So I'd like to get other opinions on this. Forget what the experts say or what the average is. An average age doesn't necessarily make it appropriate any more than kids being allowed by many parents to drink at home when underage makes that appropriate. Let me know what you think the right age is for a kid to be given a smartphone in our poll below.

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