Children grow up around everything from iPads to phones in today's world. As access to technology increases, parents are faced with an important question: when should kids get a cellphone?

Valerie Kirk, Licensed Mental Health Counselor with Canyon Lakes Counseling, says there is no right or wrong answer. It depends on the child and parent preference.

Kirk has seen youth getting phones as young as age five, but says it is more common for them to be around age 12-13. While there is no ideal age or age-range to get a cellphone, she says there are some signs that may indicate whether or not kids are ready.

Signs children may be ready for a cellphone:

  • Child is responsible, takes care of personal belongings
  • Respects parents' rules for technology (i.e. video games, computers, TV)
  • Parents monitor and/or limit content control
  • Child shows good judgment in social and personal situations
  • Child is able to stay focused in the presence of distractions

Kirk says there are alternatives for kids who are not yet ready to get their own phone. She shared some resources for parents:

  • Verizon's GizmoWatch 2 - stores 10 numbers to call or text, no internet
  • Talk and text only phone plan (i.e. Tello)
  • Apps like "Bark" - monitor child's phone use, social media, YouTube, email, etc.