When is the right time to let your child have a mobile phone?

Isaac Phone

Technology has changed a lot in the last few years and when my eldest daughter first got a mobile phone, the worst she could do on it was play snake and run out of credit after spending hours on the phone to friends she had seen an hour earlier at school.

Then came the ability to take grainy photo’s which you wouldn’t share with your friends as sending a picture message would cost a fortune.

Fast forward to the present day and Smart Phones are like mini computers in your pocket. Not only can you keep in contact with your friends, but you can play games galore, take good quality pictures and keep up to date on social media.

Deciding when to let your child have their own mobile phone very much depends on the individual child and although we have always said we wait for them to go to secondary school, we have made the decision to let Isaac have one this year.

At 10, Isaac is becoming more independent and is starting to go out with his friends more. There have been a couple of occasions where he has not been where he said he would be, so having a phone with him gives me peace of mind.

As a family, we are all with O2 and they have just launched a new Family Plan, which not only includes discounts on each new connection added, but also gives you premium access to the Qustodio parental controls app, exclusive O2 Priority family offers and NSPCC trained Gurus for advice.

The Family Plan

Whether you want a new connection for yourself, or for one of the family, your loyalty can be rewarded with a Family Plan discount, saving you up to 40% on your airtime plan.

I was disappointed that I was unable to add my husband and Kian to the plan, as the discount is only available to new connections only, however they are both due to upgrade in the next few months, so will be able to add our phones to the plan then.

The more phones you add, the bigger the discount and you can add up to a staggering 20 connections.

About Qustodio

The real selling point of the O2 Family Plan is that you get free access to Qustodio Premium, the award-winning parental control app – a saving of £35.95. It lets you keep an eye on your child’s device from your own phone, and set rules with them for how to make the most of it.

Premium Features

    • Block Pornography Qustodio’s real-time internet filter blocks inappropriate content even in private browsing mode.
    • View Social Network Activity – Monitor time spent on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp and more.
    • Balance Screen Time – Easily set a time schedule or limits for how much internet time is allowed each day.
    • Control Games & Apps – Set time limits for games & apps or block apps you don’t want from running altogether.
    • Track Calls & SMS – See who your child calls or texts most, read text messages, and set a list of blocked contacts.
  • Location Tracking and Panic Button – Track your child’s location. In an emergency your child can use the Panic Button to call for help.


Parental Controls can be a nightmare to set up, but I found this really easy to do and the O2 Guru’s are there to help if you get stuck.

O2 Priority

We are huge fans of O2 Priority. It’s and exclusive benefit to O2 customers and brings you great offers from high street brands, tickets and experiences, as well as access to the best in entertainment.

Offers include:

    • Food and Drink
    • Shopping
    • Travel
    • Health & Beauty
    • Entertainment
  • Sport

You can also get Priority Tickets to thousands of gigs and events nationwide up to 48 hours before general sale. It is how we managed to secure tickets to go and see Ed Sheeran on his arena tour.

Ed Sheeran

Simply download the app, available on App Store and Google Play, for quick and easy access to priority. They also run some amazing competitions, although we have not managed to win one yet.

Isaac loves having his own mobile phone, but is yet to make a call using it – all he seems to do is take snapchat photo’s of himself with the funny filters and play the games on the app!


Disclaimer: I am working with Mumsnet and O2 to feature the new Family Plan Campaign. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

24 thoughts on “When is the right time to let your child have a mobile phone?

  1. bryanna skye says:

    I think all these extra parental setting features are so important now – kids are having phones younger and younger which gives peace of mind but it’s great to also know that the phone isn’t going to present any new dangers x

  2. Anosa says:

    I didn’t get a phone until I was 18 but that was more due to circumstances than anything else. And i agree it should be an individual based decision

  3. Crystal says:

    This is such a huge debate these days. We went with age 13.. but I know many children that got them much younger. I think you have to do what you feel is best.

  4. Jenni says:

    This is great, I think the track and panic button are so important

  5. We’ve not quite crossed that bridge just yet, but my folks are with O2 so will definitely look into this when I’m older – Sounds like a great plan!

  6. This is such an important question for us as we have two kids and they would soon be heading to middle school. Having the right plan for our kids is so important

  7. Mine are to young at the moment although they want one. My children would love the comptitions.

  8. We decided to let Roo have a phone at age 10, we were hoping to hang it out until high school but as we live on a quiet estate she was able to go to the park etc with friends and we wanted to be able to comtact her.

  9. This can really be a tough question. It all boils down to the parent’s decision. I think technology has made things easier for us but there are some disadvantages on the side too.

  10. Lianne says:

    My eldest got his phone at 10 years old when he started secondary school. I like the sound of the family Plan as I’m on O2 myself, something to look into!
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  11. All 3 children have tablets and I am considering getting Matt a mobile phone next year (my old one probably!) so that he can go out and be more independent. Then Anya will demand one too…

  12. I’m finding it difficult to stick to our “when you go to secondary school” rule. LP is 9 and is starting to go out with friends. He’s even asked about walking to school on his own. School is a little more than a mile away. We gave our eldest a phone when he was 11, the summer before starting Secondary School. It’s such a difficult decision but I do think it’s all about the child and what they’re doing. 🙂

  13. Kate says:

    It’s such a worry, when to give them a phone. But they do give a lot of peace of mind. Thanks for all this useful info!

  14. Tough question this, as they can help safety, but also open your child up to vulnerabilities. I think a phone needs to be basic, not with internet etc.

  15. Eva Katona says:

    This is luckily not in the next few years to come for us but it’s so good to be prepared. Great info.

  16. Rachel says:

    The family plan deal sounds really good. This is a topic I have heard lots of parents talk about having worked for CAMHS and in parenting services .I remember getting my phone when I went secondary school which seemed acceptable although there was nowhere near the risks there are now with chat sites and social media pressures – I just had snake to play and 5 free texts a day! Those were the days!

  17. I like the sound of this parental control app. I will be looking into this when the kids are a little older.

  18. I’m not sure what age my girls will get a phone, at the moment secondary school feels like the right age. But that could change x

  19. I see so many really young kids with phones and I can’t believe it sometimes. I do think when kids go off to secondary school that’s a good time to have a phone incase of emergencies x

  20. hannah says:

    I think when the kid is a teenager is a good age to start having a phone. I’d make sure it was pay as you go though

  21. Jenni says:

    We let Lucas have an iPad for half an hour but only on a children’s app. He has a phone which has no battery in it which he is quite happy to chat into haha

  22. Laura Dove says:

    I think it’s all down to the individual. Lewis had a phone at 6 as it was his only means of contacting me when he was at his dads after we divorced. He literally used it just for me to ring him on!

  23. I was 13 when I got a phone, but that was years ago! I think sooner can be ok as long as it is managed well

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