Think back to when you got your first phone as a kid. Or maybe I should say, your own landline. Finally getting that freedom of having your very own phone was such a magical moment growing up.

Of course, some of us might've never had that opportunity and were forced to wait until adulthood. Maybe we had a designated time we could call our friends. Or, perhaps we only used the phone when we needed to?

Whatever it was for you might no longer be the case today. Things certainly have changed with the evolution from landlines to cell phones. No longer were parents buying an extra line for the home where their kids had to be present to use. Now kids get their own phones to take with them wherever they go.

I still remember my first phone. It was an old rotary phone my parents no longer used. Being I was the oldest of my siblings, I was able to have priority over the line. Granted, it was also used as the dial-up line (who remembers that?), but it was still amazing to have a phone of my very own.

Close-up of antique telephone

As time went by, however, that line quickly turned into a shared number for the rest of my brothers and sister, but it honestly wasn't a big deal. This scenario seems highly unlikely nowadays.

Some of you I know can relate to this, while for others this might sound strange since they grew up in the era of cell phone dominance. Regardless, getting your own line was like another step toward freedom away from your parents.

With all of that said, are kids getting their first phones at a younger age now that cell phones are dominant? Again, I sound dated there, but it really wasn't all that long ago when cell phones took over as the primary form of communication from landlines (in the overall grand scheme of things, that is).

Ciaran Griffin, Getty Images
Ciaran Griffin, Getty Images

I bring this up because my son recently asked me if he could have a cell phone. Being he's still six years old, my automatic thought was no. Initially, I thought he wanted a phone for both himself and his twin brother so they could play around calling each other. But that wasn't what he said when I asked him why he wanted it.

He said it was so he could talk to his friend from school. A very reasonable request, actually. But that got me thinking even further about when the right time would be for my kids to get their first cell phones. And being New Jersey is so unique with its fast-paced lifestyle when compared to other states, should our kids have cell phones at a younger age?

For one, it is a lot safer in case of emergencies. Should something serious happen, they would have the ability to contact us right away if we weren't with them. It could be anything from being at school or at their friends' house.


Cell phones can also be tracked, which would give us as parents a little more peace of mind that they're safe and where they should be. Now full disclosure, I wouldn't want to track them as I do believe in letting them have their personal space from us (I mean, did you want your parents knowing everywhere you were at every given moment?). But if need be, it's good to know I could track where they are if I had to check in and they weren't responding.

Cell phones can also be set so their limited in what they could do. Content control to prevent them from browsing on sites they shouldn't be or setting it so they can only call or text certain numbers.

In terms of safety, it can help your kids find their way back home should they venture out exploring, say, in the woods. Now obviously, I'm talking about older kids in this scenario (maybe twelve or thirteen) but you get the idea.

Child on phone

And then there's the fact that we live in New Jersey, where we have so much more going on than many other states. So much so, that perhaps we'd feel safer knowing our children have a way to contact us should something go wrong.

This brings us to the question. According to you, when should our kids in New Jersey get their first phone? And thinking back, when did you get your first phone line?

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