At What Age do Kids get Phones Around the East Valley? We Polled Local Moms


Every year we host a big reader survey to collect a pulse check from local moms surrounding lots of parenting topics that are helpful to see what works inside other local families. 

In parenthood, it’s so helpful to hear from other families on how moms navigate things like the going rate of the tooth fairy, how old kids were when they first stayed home alone, and other fun questions that sometimes you just want to see if “everybody else” really is doing something like your tween/teen assure you they are. 

First up: cell phone ages and restrictions/limits.

We aren’t here to tell anybody what they should do, we’re just sharing what’s working for other families in our community, because sometimes it’s nice to have a gut check.


East Valley Moms 

In our most recent survey, we asked: how old were your kids when they got a phone?

  • 26% of local families say they gave their kids 5 and under some sort of GPS watch/cell phone (many also shared at this age group it was for split custody situations, etc.)
  • 30% of local families gave their children cell phones between ages 5-10 years old 
  • 31% of East Valley respondents said they waited until their kids were between 11-13 years old to give them their first cell phone 
  • 13% of parents waited until their kids were between 13-16 to give them their own phone 

A few resources, if you’re currently making smartphone decisions for your kids:

Wait Until 8th

The Wait Until 8th pledge empowers parents to rally together to delay giving children a smartphone until at least 8th grade. By banding together, their hope is this will decrease the pressure felt by kids and parents alike over the kids having a smartphone. (Note: this organization isn’t talking about generic two way calling capability phones, strictly smartphones.)

Why we find this organization helpful: You can sign up to get notifications from other local families who are also taking the pledge, in case your tween is telling you there’s no other family who’s making their kids wait.

Local carriers 

Every major carrier makes a basic phone that just calls and texts without a data plan, but they aren’t advertised. If you’re torn between wanting to be able to communicate with your child for safety/logistics but are aiming to delay smartphone usage, ask your carrier for their base phone plan options.

How local families set limits on smart phones

Here’s a few tips from our contributors who have tweens/teens on what works for them:

“While I’m driving my 14-year-old son to school, extracirriculiars, etc., I have a no phones rule in the car. I specifically use this one-on-one time to listen and ask a few questions, and validate his feelings. They need a safe zone to vent about life, and car rides are a great time for these.” —Katie Darby, mom of four teens and 20 somethings 

We have one cell phone for our 12 and 10 year old boys to share. They are limited to using the phone on the way to school, coming home from school (they walk), and sports/church. The phone is strictly used to communicate with us. — Amanda Backus, mom of four 

When my kids get one it’ll be out in kitchen nightly, no leaving in their room and I’ll monitor apps too. We have one that we keep at home right now, but it’s not “theirs.” It’s our version of a home phone — Jessica Loken, mom of twins age 9


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