The Pros and Cons of Giving a Mobile Phone to a Teenager



Most teenagers own a mobile phone. Some are able to buy their own phone from the money they earn as a result of working part-time, but the more likely scenario is that you, their parent, ends up buying them one. You may be perfectly happy to do this, but often the arrangement ends up an unhappy one for many reasons.

So what are the pros and cons of buying a teenager a mobile phone and should you even bother?

Do Teenagers Really Need a Mobile Phone?
It’s debatable whether a teenager actually needs a mobile phone, but if you asked them, they would undoubtedly say a phone was essential to their happiness and social standing. Without a mobile phone, the average teenager is unable to function–they can’t talk to their friends and life just isn’t worth living. But before you give in and rush off to buy your petulant teenager a brand new iPhone, read the following list.

The Pros of Letting a Teenager have a Mobile Phone

.   It’s a bargaining tool. One way of making a teenager do exactly what you want them to do is to use a combination of bribery and blackmail. If they need some persuading to help you do a few chores around the house, you can offer to put more data on their mobile phone. Or if they’re being a pain, you can threaten to confiscate their phone until they behave.

.   Keeping track of teens. Mobile phones are an excellent way of staying in touch with a teenager when they are away from home. If your teen has gone to a party or a festival and you want to stay in contact,you can directly call or text them. Or, if you want to keep track of them surreptitiously, install a tracking app on their phone.

.   Emergencies. If a teenager has a mobile phone on their person, they can use it to call for help if they find themselves in a sticky situation for some reason. In potentially dangerous circumstances, such as being stranded somewhere, having a cell phone handy could be a lifesaver.

Related: Tips for Managing Your Child’s Social Networking Activities

The Cons of Giving a Mobile Phone to a Teenager

.   Huge bills. The main reason why parents balk at handing over a mobile phone to a teenager is that they fear being the unhappy recipient of a huge monthly bill. Having a good phone plan will help, but your teenager can still go over their monthly data, minute, and texting limits, which will cost you.

.   Cost of replacement. A lot of teenagers are irresponsible. Perhaps your teenager loses things left and right, and an expensive mobile phone will be no exception. So do you really want to fork out for a new iPhone and discover that your little darling has lost it?

.   Upgrades. Most teenagers are always on the lookout for the newest and coolest phone and phone accessories. This means that although they might be delighted with the new mobile phone you buy them for Christmas, two months later it’s now ‘old’ and ‘so not cool’. Unfortunately, you will then need to invest in a newer phone and accessories or face a campaign of sulking for months.

.   Limited Attention Span. Conversation around the dinner table tends to be rather limited when a teenager is in possession of a mobile phone. Instead of intelligent answers to questions, all you are likely to get are a few grunts and the sight of a face peering intently at a small screen. That and lots of buzzing sounds indicating incoming text messages and Facebook alerts.

Finding the Right Mobile Phone for a Teenager

You could just chance it and choose the first phone you see, or you could play it safe and ask your teenager what phone they actually want. The latter approach is probably best, as you don’t want to pay good money for a new mobile phone only for your gift to be treated with absolute contempt.

Here are some good prepaid phones if you don’t want to purchase a contractual phone plan for your teenager.

5 Responses to The Pros and Cons of Giving a Mobile Phone to a Teenager

  1. nobby September 23, 2015 at 6:33 am #

    ukip suppotrer

  2. nobby September 23, 2015 at 6:34 am #

    good arguement

  3. Husnain July 4, 2016 at 3:15 am #

    Fcuk the the no side west side

  4. Andy Ruan April 21, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

    All of the cons can be resolved with good parenting, in 2017 friends = instagram facebook whatsapp etc, even if ur mad at “society being ruined by this, it is the way things are and dont force your anger on your kids

    bills; find a good plan that even if they go over just cuts their usage or something.
    replacement; if they break it they don’t get another one.
    upgrades; yo, this is ur phone for 2 years i dont car if the new iphone 8 has wireless ccharging dank points, u have the iphone 7 for 2 years now go away
    attention span: mute when at table etc

    btw i am 13 myself i just find it so annoying how many people are puting their anger of sociaty beoming more digital of their kids.

  5. Skye January 6, 2018 at 1:38 pm #

    I find that some of these arguments are entirely arbitrary. My family has a rule where our phones (my parent’s smart phones, and my flip phone) are not allowed at the table during dinner. I rarely ever use my flip-phone, let alone am “addicted” to it.

    I realize that some children my age tend to be quite irresponsible. However, it upsets me at how poorly my generation is portrayed in the media! My parents are old-souls, and believe that technology is taking over the modern world. They didn’t even get smartphones until two years ago, and before that, they didn’t even have texting on THEIR flip-phones (which are what became my current phone, and my back-up). This causes major issues for me. I have earned enough money from babysitting my younger sister, and doing her laundry, that I am now able to afford my own smartphone, entirely on my own, as well as pay for half of the cost of my phone line each month ($10).

    And yet, they believe that I, a straight-A student and a National Junior Honors Society member, am not responsible enough to own a smartphone. I believe that simply by being able to pay, in full, for my own smartphone, shows dedication, maturity, and perseverance. In this day and age, many Americans own smartphones, and they are a large part of daily life for many. And as Andy Ruan said, many of these cons can be solved with good parenting. So, essentially, what I’m trying to say is, your children do not need a smartphone, but if they have earned it, then do not be a stick-in-the-mud by keeping their desire out of reach. I can assure you that if you keep the thing that they have the most passion for, away from them, then you should prepare for hell-fire as soon as they turn eighteen.

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