Why I’m Letting My 11-Year-Old Have A Cellphone And Social Media

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“We did a thing today, my husband and I.

We got our eleven-year-old a phone.

Our newly-minted middle schooler will have an Apple a day, and we’re not talking about the kind that keeps the doctor away.

But it is the kind that will keep my mama heart’s worrying at bay.

With her new device, I can track her location, AND she can contact me without the need for Wifi or a hotspot…which I see as a win.

Thinking back, I can’t remember how old I was when I got a phone.

And back in the day, as we all know, phones didn’t have nearly all the capabilities they do now.

And they flipped.

Kind of like what I did when I realized I, the spring chicken I am, had a child old enough to want and need a phone.

Still, if my recollection is correct, I do believe I was around the sixth grade age, same as her, and honestly, there really isn’t/wasn’t a way around not getting her a phone — or an iWatch or a Gizmo — and her dad and me still being able to readily be in contact with her or her with us if ever the need (and it is sure to) arises.

And arising it is.


With middle school carline being a mess and her being ‘a walker.’

With my talented pre-tween involved in sports and art-related afterschool activities.

With her making friends who all have phones and who use ’em to stay connected.

With Florida-weather nonsense and rainy day dismissal requiring us to change our pick-up plan on a dime.

We, simply put, need her to have a phone.

And believe you me, or don’t, but it’s a fact — there will hopefully not be social media on her phone.

No TikTok ’cause she ain’t a clock.

No IG, because this OG says NO.

No Facebook because I want her face in an actual book — a school book or a fiction book full of imagination-inciting substance.

No Snapchat, and if she chats too much with friends or after mommy and daddy-approved hours, I’ll snap, and she won’t have a phone.

But as of today, she does.

Because she’s responsible.

And I trust her.

And she’s earned it.

And maybe some eleven-year-olds aren’t ready for a phone.

But mine? She is.

And that’s all that matters.

She has friends that got one way before her.

And she has friends who will get one way after her.

But all that matters when you make decisions for your kid is that you trust in your gut you’re making the right one for yours, and you’re ready to adjust and pivot as they do.

Parenting is hard as heck, and that’s for damn sure. But don’t make it harder by concerning yourself with how other people are doing it.

We did a thing today, my husband and I.

And maybe you approve of it, or perhaps you don’t. But guess what? We don’t care.

We care about our kid.

And that’s why we did it.

And maybe you care about your kid, and it’s why you haven’t.

Good for us.

And good for you.

Because you and I are doing exactly what we should be; we’re each being the parent our gut is guiding us to be, and that’s precisely what our children need.”

black and white filtered gift bag with big check mark on it with
Courtesy of Nicole Merritt

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Nicole Merritt of Jthreenme. You can follow her on Facebook, her website, or podcast. Get her new book, Musings for Mom, here. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Nicole here:

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‘I send them to school with stains. We eat dinner in front of the TV. We make noise, a lot of it, and we like our pasta best slurped.’: Mom urges ‘dance to the beat of your own family’s drum’

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