SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Parents, listen to this: some 75% of 12 to 17-year-olds now own cell phones, up from 45% in 2004.
According to Pew Research Center , one in three teens sends more than 100 text messages a day, or 3000 texts a month.
Your kid maybe one of them, and they're likely on it all the time as most teens these days can't seem to live without them.
"I could but it'd be very hard," smiled 15-year-old Haley Baumgartner.
Her 15-year-old classmate, Antonio Harris, agrees.
"No, not at all," Harris giggled.
Harris got his first cell phone at age 9 and rarely puts it down. "Hours at a time," he explained.
"I know my own kids used to text under the table," said Child Psychologist Dr. Christina Lebovitz of Scottsdale. She encouraged parents to take control and set guidelines.
"Usually turning the phone off during homework time," Dr. Lebovitz advised. "Turning the phone into their parents at night."
Parents, you should also monitor your child's phone to know who's calling.
"Drives my mom crazy," laughed Baumgartner, "because she said I'm on it all the time."
"There do have to be those times when there's no cell phone," encouraged Dr. Lebovitz.
So when's the right age to get a cell phone for your child?
Dr. Lebovitz suggested start off on a trial basis. Once your child shows he's able to keep track of her possessions and can tell you how they're going to use the phone during the day then you can increase her cell phone use.
15-year-old Brandon Willis of Chandler got one in the 4th grade. "It communicates with people and for safety reasons," Willis said.
Dr. Lebovitz claims cell phones can be a great safety tool, especially if your child gets picked up from school and you're running late and need to send her a text message.
If your child forgets his packback at school everyday, however, you might not want to add another burden of keeping up with a cell phone.
"I have a lot of families who start asking about it between the age of 10 and 12," Dr. Lebovitz pointed out. "So you have to look at each individual child and look at their capabilities."
But Dr. Gayle Eversole, a long time natural health advocate and educator, warns it's recommend a cell phone not be given to any child under age 16 because the skull is not fully developed and there are health risks.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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