Am I depriving my kid if I don't get him an iPhone?

Parents: you are not depriving your kid if you don't buy him an iPhone. Smartphones -- especially the latest, fanciest ones -- have become status symbols for kids and are the source of a lot of peer pressure. (Get tips on how to manage high-tech hand-me-downs.)

Be prepared for lots of impassioned speeches from your kid about why he needs an iPhone, but, if you don't want or can't afford to get one, know that plenty of kids don't have them and do just fine. He should have some exposure to digital tools and the chance to develop technology skills at home or at school, though.

One argument your kid may use is that he needs a specific iPhone app for homework. While it's true that some teachers ask kids to use certain programs -- for example, Khan Academy, they will typically make sure that the same features and functionality are available on the company's website (for example, KhanAcademy.org.).

But, if you decide that your teen is responsible enough to follow your cell phone rules and you want to go for it, here are three ways to establish some control over the situation:

Discuss appropriate smartphone use. Make sure you and your kids are on the same page about when and how the phone can be used. Make this a discussion, not a lecture, so teens feel their voices are heard.

Manage smartphone features. The power that smartphones provide may make you uncomfortable. Know that you can start with limits on access (to the Internet, for example) and expand as kids demonstrate responsibility.

Have your kids pay their way. Have them contribute to the cost of the iPhone or the data plan -- or both. They'll probably take better care of the phone if they understand the costs.

Does your kid have an iPhone?

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Comments

Adult written by lolakennet

At my 9 year old's school, all the kids have phones. I got her the iphone X for christmas this year, and even though some people think 9 is too young, or that the iphone X is too expensive for a child, I think she is mature enough. I monitor her phone closely, but I'm not that big on limiting screen time.
Teen, 16 years old written by Lolcats

I’m glad I don’t know your kid because I haven’t even met her and I already know she’s spoiled and entitled
Teen, 15 years old written by Greasybacon

It is definately not depriving your kid of anything. They are costly, addictive, and the causes of many pitfalls. Phones of course also can be used for good such as communication with parents and tracking. It is better to give a phone to a younger kid than an older kid. Keep that in mind
Teen, 13 years old written by Itsnottrue

Yes, yes it is. Most people at my school barely talk to me because they only talk over IPhone, and barely anyone is able to talk to me over summer or breaks. And no, a large majority of childrenhave I phones
Teen, 14 years old written by saanvikk

Well, yes, but you're only considering the whiny reasons given by 10 year old kids. But the real reason people even wanted phones in the first place was safety. It's not easy growing up in a dangerous place like India, where thousands of children are attacked, raped or murdered every day. And it's the same sort of statistics in other countries too. A flip phone isn't enough, because calling for help attracts attention, and it's much safer to text. That, along with all the other reasons in the comments below, is why kids need smartphones.
Teen, 15 years old written by javid

I stumbled upon this post when scouring the internet about whether I should purchase a new phone or not? (more on that later) Anyways, I must first apologize to the parents viewing or that have viewed this comment section with the amount of comments I have seen that refer to a smartphone, especially an iPhone, as a necessity. Hate to tell it to you kids in this generation, but having a phone is a privilege and if you're under 18 you are under your parents jurisdiction and they, not you call the shots, on whether to get you a phone or not. However, I must say this is the 21st century and although I don't believe that parents should buy their kids an iPhone at such a young age especially grade school, I do believe a phone in general would help tweens/teens communicate with their parents in a much easier manner. Rather than, for example, after a sports practice, a parent is late to pick their child up and they are the last person at the park , so they try to find a phone to use to call their parents from a random stranger, that could possibly kidnap the child, if the child had a phone, it would be easy to contact their parents to let them know that maybe practice ended early or some situation like that. In either case, I believe that not only should responsibility and maturity (something that this thread is lacking) be taken into account when buying a teen /tween a phone, but also hard work. I believe if the child really wants a phone, let them have it, but don't buy it for them, let them buy it and pay for the extremities that come with it, such as paying for a cell phone plan. Now, I know this might not be feasible since a child cannot pay bills since they are under 18 years old, but there are many prepaid options that allow the child to purchase a prepaid card to refill their minutes and data. As a tech enthusiast, when I was little, I always wanted a phone, especially after the debut of the original iPhone in 2007. I ended up buying my first phone in 3rd grade after recycling a little bit of money to purchase a Nokia and a T-Mobile Pre-Paid Card. I continued paying for my plan by recycling and asking for people's old phones (as my upgrade). So, it is possible for a child to pay for their own phone and if they are responsible and preservering then they will undoubtedly want to keep up the hard work to have the privilege of owning a phone. I ended up getting an iPhone 4 in 6th grade by saving up all my birthday money and once again recycling to pay $450 for the phone. As a compromise, my dad paid for the data plan as he saw that I was responsible enough to have and own a phone. To this day, (now a sophomore in high school) I have bought all my phones at full price with my money or have been matched some money after saving up most of the money in order to buy a new phone. Not only does this teach me responsibility, but it also teaches me about managing money because currently I have the iPhone 6s and as a tech enthusiast I want to purchase a new iPhone 8 Plus, but I can't justify spending $800 when my phone works mostly fine. Now, regarding fitting in to the cool crowd. If that's what your worried about then you should be spending your own money and buying your own phone, because it isn't cool for your parents to "baby" you correct? Moreover, regarding that not having a smartphone causes bullying. I can say for certain that after being distracted with social media and my smartphone in general, I used a flip phone for a month non stop and yes people made comments and made jokes about it. However, I made it clear to them what the benefits of having it were and how my life was better without a smartphone and was very assertive about my opinion on my phone. After having an educated discussion, like so, my friends understood and didn't say anything about it. I'm now back to my smartphone of course, but I would totally use the flip phone again. Now parents, I plead with you to let your child have a phone, but don't buy it for them.
Adult written by Daniel K

I would not recommend an Android over an iPhone. Android has too many loopholes to parent control and monitoring. Safemode bypasses any apps parents installed. The phone can be factory reset too easily. There is a workaround to anything you monitor it with. The iPhone is pretty bullet proof with its "activation lock" feature. If your child tries to factory reset the phone to bypass filters, they'll hit a brick wall.
Kid, 12 years old

I'd recommend buying your kid an LG phone instead. They are less expensive and really nice
Teen, 13 years old written by goaliepowers

Guys, I am 13 years old. I am a mature kid. I don't need to feel accepted or be part of the "cool group" to be happy. KIDS DO NOT NEED PHONES unless they must have them to contact you. Whenever I need to contact them, I ask an adult that is there to use they're phone. Seriously, kids want phones so they can post stuff on Snapchat and Instagram so they can be part of "the group". Kids are addicted to their phones these days. Every time they have some free time they get on their phone so they can check if someone liked their selfie or play some stupid pointless game that gets you nowhere in life. Smartphones can also cause eye problems. Kids are getting eye problems that usually only old people get because of blue light from devices. People need to learn how to enjoy simple pleasures like talking with friends, playing board games, and reading a book. I have a good friend group and feel satisfied with my life even though I don't have a phone.
Teen, 14 years old written by n8cwhite

I'm not sure about you, but I am feeling left out. I'm not invited to anything because I can't be contacted easily. I can't be notified of plan changes. Because of that, I could look towards games. I don't have a PC, therefore we're talking mobile games. Let me go download one real quick-- oh. I don't have something that can actually download mobile games. That's not an option. Odd. Now I can't really do anything now, can I? Whoops!
Teen, 13 years old written by BookLover497

No, no, no, no, no! You are not in any way depriving your kid if you don't buy him an iPhone. Why? 1. iPhones are expensive and a kid may lose/break it. 2. Too much time spent on electronic devices can harm you, especially younger people. 3. There are obviously loads of kids, teens, and adults who don't have an iPhone or even a phone. You may think that he is ready for an iPhone, in which case, that's great! But you also might not. I personally do not believe that you should go straight in with an iPhone, though. Depending on the age of your kid you could buy him a cheaper phone, if he is older and needs a phone. If he is younger then you could tell him the reasons you don't want him to have a phone. Through either of these ways he will most likely rebel and present you with a long list of reasons that he should have an iPhone. Just tell him why not. I would recommend to get your child a phone with internet access by the beginning of secondary school, because that is usually when it is needed for school.
Teen, 14 years old written by ed21

Yes you are I have an Iphone 5 and never take it out around school because i'm embarrassed of it. 98% of the kids in my year have a better phone than me and my friend recently got an iPhone x she had an iPhone 5 before. My parents don't seem to see the problem of my phone. It glitches all the time i have several problems and i don't know what to do. Ive considered buying a new one but it is way to expensive. My parents can afford a better phone but don't care that i have a shi**y one. I really want a new phone everyone has an Iphone 8 or 7 i'm stuck with an iPhone 5. My birthday is months away and Im not even sure they will give me a new phone. Can someone give me advice?
Kid, 12 years old

It doesn't matter what your friends have if I compared myself to my friends I would be poor. Be thankful for what you have try looking up videos or saving money up for a new phone if it's that important to you.
Kid, 10 years old

Yes, You are depriving your kid if you don’t buy them an iPhone. I know adults won’t listen to me because I’m a kid, but just because I’m a kid does not mean I’m stupid. I can watch the Netflix show stranger things and not get to scared, and I enjoy watching Youtubers like Joey Graceffa. Yes, I do have a YouTube account. Please, Please, DO NOT TORTURE YOUR KIDS. I DO NOT KNOW WHO WROTE THIS ARTICLE, BUT THEY HAVE NO EMPATHY FOR KIDS WITH NO CELL PHONES! Tweens/Tweens can be mean!! I know, Parents like to pretend they know what its like. BUT PARENTS DO NOT KNOW WHAT ITS LIKE! I do have a iPhone, but a few of my best friends don’t have phones, and its really hard for them if their iPad runs out of battery, and they can’t text. I am in a big chat group with all the kids in my class who have Phones/iPads, plus one person who is no longer in my class, and kids might miss out if they don’t have a phone. I have a phone for safety reasons and one time my mom had to go get her car and I didn’t come and my Phone made me feel so better because I could call her on my phone while she was finding her car. I mean, I guess android is okay, I guess, Someone in my class used to have samsung and then they got a iPhone 8 Plus for christmas. Nobody in my class has a flip phone though, but some kids have iPods. Someone in my class used to have an iPod then got iPhone 7 for christmas. Please, Please, get your kid a phone, It will make everything easier for everyone. I know some adults don’t think you should, but they are selfish and they don’t wanna spend money. I know that adults think I’m stupid but I’m not, I’m mature enough and I now have an iPhone 8 Plus, so please get your kid a phone.
Kid, 12 years old

Kids Don't need iPhones I have a Moro e4 and I love it. If you are 10 or younger you're lucky to have any technology besides a TV. I got my first phone last year and it was a flip phone. I got an iPhone 5 and then we switched to sprint and I got a moto e4. If you have any phone higher than an iPhone 5 you are very fortunate and should be thankful. It isn't just about maturity it's about if you need it. Phones aren't for games they are for calling and messaging your parents. I prefer slider and flip phones. So don't complain about not having the newest iPhone because there are less fortunate people than you.
Kid, 11 years old

Exactly! Parents didn't have this stuff when they were our age! They don't understand!!!
Teen, 13 years old written by BookLover497

They should consider themselves lucky that they even have an iPad. Aged 10! I have never had an iPad but to be honest, I don't want one. I am young too, and I get the feeling of wanting the latest technology, but some kids are simply not mature enough. I would definitely recommend to get your kid a phone when you feel (s)he needs one- for safety reasons, school etc- but does it really need to be an iPhone? No. Of course not!
Teen, 13 years old written by Speckledhyena

If they're responsible enough for an iPhone (or other phone), then they can have one. Before I got my phone, I had to be trusted with my first personal device, an iPod Nano. After a while I was trusted enough to get a flip-phone, and later a smartphone and tablet. I now have a Chromebook Laptop as well.
Parent written by Robyn F.

My answer to this question would be yes, you are depriving your child if you don't get them a Iphone, as innovation and technology in the world is growing fast and as people, of the next generation, our children need to learn how to use technology from a early age. I also feel that if you are ready to give your child a phone, you might as well get the newest or best model you can afford, so this way, they can use it for a longer period of time without it getting too 'uncool' or outdated. I am currently planning to get my twelve-year-old daughter her third phone, and we are finding it extremely hard to choose between the Iphone 8 and 10.
Kid, 12 years old

DON'T GET HER A GREAT PHONE. IF SHE BREAKS OT THATS MONEY DOWN THR DRAIN. GET HER A IPHONE 6s OR IPHONE 7 OR A IPHONE 5
Kid, 10 years old

Hi Robyn, I have iPhone 8 Plus and I know someone who has iPhone X. The iPhone 8 is pretty cool, but some people think its more like the iPhone 7s, so you could just get a 7, only difference is wireless charging and maybe some more differences. iPhone X is $999, has no home button, has notch which is sometimes annoying, has Face ID (Bassically password with your face, iPhone 8 has Touch ID, iPhone 8 Touch ID is really good, works fast, no effort required.) I was at first on the fence about if I should get iPhone 8 or iPhone X. I chose iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone 8 comes in Silver, space gray, and gold. The iPhone X comes in Silver and space gray, all the colors look pretty good but space gray might get Smugy with fingerprints. I used to have iPhone 5, before I had my iPhone 8 Plus, and my 5 was getting old and it was time for me to get a new phone, still, I didn’t really get bullied, though I got upset because I really wanted a new phone. The iPhone X battery lasts longer then the iPhone 8 battery, iPhone 8 battery lasts about same as the 7. I totally agree that you might as well get the newest or best model you can afford and that you are, in fact, depriving your kid if you don’t buy them an iPhone.
Teen, 14 years old written by PruLyn

I got my first phone when I was 14 at Christmas. Before, it did make me feel somewhat excluded when everyone could just call and text whenever they pleased. It got more frustrating when we went on class trips and I had to practically puppy-follow a friend (given all my friends had phones) to make sure I didn't get "lost" because I didn't have any way of contacting anyone. A certain trip lasted a full week away from home, and I progressively got more annoyed with having little independence unlike my other classmates. In reality, I did "survive" not having a phone, but it became more problematic when I got older and I had more freedoms and responsibilities. I had always had to lean on other people to make my own calls (pickup times, questions, conflicts, directions), but it has made me feel better that I can contact my own parents without begging for someone else's phone. When it comes to what kind of phone, it is completely up to you. Most teenagers (myself included), like using phones for more than texts and calls, such as the camera, games, and social media. But, if it conflicts with your budget or your not ready to give them access to that, it's ok. They don't need cutting-edge technology the first time around.
Teen, 15 years old written by Common sense LST

No. You can just give your kid a regular old flip phone that can call and just text. They don’t need an IPhone. Flip phones work just as well.
Teen, 13 years old written by Hayley Starr

NO. Please, no one do this to your child, they WILL get laughed at/bullied. I've seen kids get laughed at for just not having iphones, and i go to a decent school. Let alone a flip phone. I honestly, truly, am sorry for your child. Please, educate yourself. Its not 1990 anymore. Not having a smart phone made me feel very left out, uncool, and disconnected from my peers. I've been there. (Also there is way more to a phone than calling and texting.) As for androids, those are ok i guess. Maybe you'll get the occasional snicker, and they definitely won't be very cool, but theyll survive. Having a flip phone can be brutal. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but teenagers are MEAN. And materialistic, and judgemental. In conclusion, flip phones are TERRIBLE, non-iphones/androids are okay, and iPhones are amazing. (This sounds really mean... But... Parents like you are the part of the reason kids get bullied. I dont know you personally, but judging by this post, I feel bad for your kid)
Adult written by Lance_Taco

No. Your kids don't need phones in grade school. Middle school makes more sense as they'll likely be away for longer periods of time and it will make it easier to coordinate with your children in situations where they need to use public transport.
Kid, 11 years old

You will make your kid sad. I am in middle school. I just got a phone. All the kids in my grade had a I phone by grade 5! I was sad and I still don't have a iPhone. I cry every day about.
Teen, 13 years old written by Reader Girl

You are in no way depriving your kid if you don’t get them a phone, but keep in mind that phones can have serious benefits. There have been 2 or three occasions where my parents and I got separated on accident and a phone saved me.
Teen, 13 years old written by Molly W.

I wouldn't call it depriving, but it's a good idea to get your kid a phone when they're around 13. In my classes, they are using more and more programs that require devices. For example, my school plays a game called Kahoot that requires everybody to have a device such as a phone or a tablet, and sometimes kids who don't have phones are left out because they can't play or have to partner with somebody. Like the official answer mentions, my math class used to use Khan Academy for assignments, and it's easier to use on a phone. In addition, cell phones are a really good way to keep track of your kid. When they're at school, they can reach you- or vice Versa -without them having to go through the hassle of calling home. If you're stressed about exposing them to the worse sides of the internet, don't worry- there are ways to 'check up on them.' Plus, most teens know that they aren't supposed to be doing something and will normally back down. In conclusion, it's a great idea to get your kid a phone- you'll be benefiting them and yourself.
Teen, 13 years old written by evrska9

I got a flip phone when I turned 12. Usually, the best age for kids get their first phone is in their middle school years or, if applicable, they start to get small jobs, like babysitting. My parents said as long as I kept a B average or higher, I could get a smartphone when I turn 16. I have a tablet also but mainly for taking pictures and checking my email. Make sure your child understands how much one costs and whether they have to work for it or not. My parents made it clear I had to keep my grades up and that babysitting my younger siblings would pay for the bill. An iPhone is a privilege, not a right.
Teen, 15 years old written by nog642

Depends what age. By the time they are around 13, if they do not have some sort of smartphone (not necessarily an iPhone), it's a bit of a disadvantage.
Teen, 13 years old written by SGHaggarty

Nobody NEEDS an iPhone. Talk to your kid about why you don't think they should have an iPhone. (I don't have a phone and I understand and agree with why.) I'm getting a phone when I turn 14 because I have shown the responsibility and usually at that age kids are more independent (not necessarily with an adult at all times) and will need contact.
Kid, 10 years old

NOT TRUE!! I NEED AN iPHONE BECAUSE I NEED TO CONTACT MY PARENTS!! STOP BRAGGING THAT “you show responsibly” CAUSE GUESST WHAT? I DO TOO!!
Teen, 14 years old written by landone

This is complicated, for multiple reasons. firstly, it depends on the child's age. if they're under 13, they don't necessarily need an iphone. however, teens and children can be picked on if they don't have one, especially in middle and high school. it almost serves as a status. Once your child is in high school, consider getting them one for sure.
Teen, 15 years old written by brooke.marus

I have seen bullying and harassment of kids without iPhones firsthand. I am in high school and I can say that kids without iPhones were bullied in my middle school and in my high school currently. Without iPhones kids do not have access to apps like snapchat and Instagram (very important social apps for teens) they are alienated out of their friend groups who do use snapchat and Instagram and are less social and more left out than those with iPhones. It is unfair, but boys and girls alike take joy in shaming those without the latest technology. It is best to buy them one to spare them from a lonesome childhood.
Kid, 10 years old

I agree. I have iPhone 8 Plus, my last phone was iPhone 5, I hated my 5 and wanted a new phone sooooo bad.
Teen, 13 years old written by qwertymcqwerts

A Handy Little Pros and Cons List, As Written by a Thirteen-Year-Old With An Old iPod: PROS: - You can track their location (or at least their phone's location, which they will likely take with them wherever they go) - Parental Controls - If they are babysitting younger siblings/doing chores/any other household job, then they might as well get paid in the form of a shiny new iPhone - Great way to keep in touch with friends - You can get fun games, buy movies and songs, and read (age-appropriate) articles (you can set up a shared iTunes account so that you will see what they purchase and set up some rules) - You can find educational/apps such as Khan Academy, Google Docs, and Edmodo which are a huge plus (and if your kid has a busy extracurricular schedule then they can do homework wherever– huge plus!) - Built-in alarm clock, heath monitoring app, reminders, etc. CONS: - Internet trouble (parent controls and a shared iTunes account can help prevent this) - They could get distracted (I'd suggest taking it away until they've done their homework) - $$$ (again, if they help a lot around the house then this is a great form of payment, as iPhones start at $16.63/month) I can't really think of anything else besides those, although I'm sure that I missed some. Overall, it depends on so many factors that a random teenager can't make a choice for you.
Teen, 13 years old written by Sweet kid

this sucks all of you out there who cant get a stupid phone at 13 or older get a job when your 14 and just pay the bill. parents nowadays seem to have lost sight of a kids perspective. TRUST ME when you want to meet with some friends or even a gf and u dont have a phone life is bad
Teen, 13 years old written by qwertymcqwerts

Phones don't define life; I don't have an iPhone (just an old iPod) and I get around just fine. Are there times when I sit at the computer and ogle all the fancy, new iPhones? Yes, but it's important to remember that having an iPhone is a privilege and anyone might not have an iPhone for whatever reason, whether they can't afford it, the child isn't demonstrating responsibility, or anything else. Your parents roof, your parents rules.
Kid, 10 years old

Fun fact: New phones are not “Fancy” in fact, companies are trying to make phones more simply, which for your info, is the opposite of Fancy, your just jealous because you don’t have an iPhone. By the way, I bet you don’t get around just fine, but you wish you did. And what the heck is “ogle” is that you trying to spell google? Tip: try to learn to spell before you comment on stuff.
Teen, 13 years old written by Ndel1201

This article is horrible. I'm 13 and I still can't get a phone. My parents say, ask a friend or teacher, I say I'm not always around them, they said ask the principal. There making excuses to not buy me a phone. Please help and give tips on how I can get a phone. They said I had to get STRAIT A's for THREE YEARS and play a sport for three years then they would buy me one.
Kid, 12 years old

First ask them to list legitimate reasons why you cannot. Make a list of reasons why it is helpful, like communication and being social. Most kids who are thirteen don't really communicate with you if you don't have a device. You are behind and in school most teachers assume you have a phone at that age.
Teen, 13 years old written by JeffJr

I, as a teen, know that without an iPhone, you can be treated badly at school. Lots of kids are always silly and jump to conclusions saying things like you are poor, and along those lines... Also, there are certain apps that are or aren't on androids that can affect social things like WhatsApp, snapchat... Kids find new tricks and that on an iPhone which they share with each other which makes them more popular and have more friends. My final reason is that everybody has an iPhone. It says differently in the facts at the top of the page, but the thing is, it's wrong. In conclusion to my facts, I think, in the long run, you are depriving him if you don't get an iPhone.
Teen, 13 years old written by Snow9012

The problem with smartphone is that your child will join the group, be officially part of the digital age. If your child is the only one without one it might be best to get him something, though that does not mean you have to get him this amazing iphone six that only seven other kids in the class have. Not having a phone is not the end of the world. The only problem is that other kids might pressure the kid about it or even make fun of him for not having one.
Teen, 15 years old written by Katie14633

I wanted a smart phone for a long time, almost every one in my class had one. It was kind of embarrassing for me because I had one of those older phones, where you have to press the number multiple times to type one letter. I begged my mom for a smartphone, and I finally got one for my birthday. You're kid does want a smartphone and he will keep asking for one. I don't really see the problem with getting him one, unless you can't afford it. A pro is that he will carry his phone with him everywhere, so he is safer. His phone will also ALWAYS be charged, trust me. A con is that he will be on his phone all the time and it can be distracting from homework, but as long as he has his priorities straight, it won't be a problem. It really is up to you, but I do advise you to get him one