What's the right age to give your child a cell phone? [telecom]

By Kim Ancin

If your child doesn't yet have a cell phone, it's probably high on his gift list. No doubt he's been pleading for one and telling you that everyone has one. Plus, there are advantages for parents, like being able to reach him when he's not home. But many parents have concerns as well. Here's some expert advice on knowing the right time to give your kid a cell phone.

"It's extraordinary how much younger kids are now getting smartphones," says Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute. "It was once typical for kids to get phones in high school or sometimes later. Today, 95% of all teens have access to a cell phone, according to the Pew Research Center. In high-tech families the average age kids get cell phones is 7-and-a-half," Balkam says.

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