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Is there an appropriate age for kids to get their first cell phone?

Is there an appropriate age for kids to get their first cell phone? (ABC7)

“If I let them be on these devices all the time, they would be,” said Diana Smith, Principal at the Washington Latin Public Charter School, of when students can use their cell phones during the school day.

Smith says now, most of the fifth graders, the youngest grade offered in the charter school, have cell phones.

“I’ve got a lot of ten-year-olds wandering around this building with $250 phones,” she said.

Hyattsville resident and father of four, Marcus Xavier, says it isn’t about a number.

“I believe kids should get a cell phone whenever you feel they are responsible enough,” Xavier said.

Frehiwot Seyoum, from Silver Spring, agreed. “It doesn’t matter which age they are going to have the phone, as long as they are responsible enough and wise enough,” she said.

Some say elementary age seems too early for a smart phone or device.

“I think that’s pretty early for kids to have a phone at that age,” said Rockville resident, Kasi Evans.

“I think we’re handing young people a device that, in some ways, I’ve been told this analogy is bizarre, but in some ways is as dangerous as a car,” Smith said, of smart phones.

The topic, in part, drove Smith to kick off a “no tech” challenge over the summer. Offering $100 out of her own pocket to some students who could go tech free on Tuesdays during the summer. Smith says out of the 180 students invited to participate in the challenge, 38 succeeded.

“They are remarkable and wonderful,” Smith said, “but they have to realize there are places for it and places not for it.”

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