Cell phones already common for young kids - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Cell phones already common for young kids

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Recently Sprint unveiled a new cell phone marketed for kids ages 5 to 12 called the WeGo.

It's more evidence that as cell phones become more and more common in daily life, they end up in smaller and smaller hands.

The WeGo limits the amount of people kids can call and text and gives parents total control of the phone as well as its GPS. It may actually be a bit of a step down for a lot of kids in the age range they're marketing. That's because we're used to seeing cell phones in the hands of high schoolers.

"Thirteen and up, everyone has a phone," said Ewell Bryant, the Boys and Girls Club Unit Director in Rochester.

In fact, back in 2011, Byron High School even started to allow them in the classroom in some instances.

When it comes to kids in that 5 to 12 age range, we may be used to seeing them learn with iPads and computers, but a personal cell phone is new territory.

"I think a lot of time parents now worry about safety with their kids," Bryant said. "'My kid needs to have a cell phone in case an emergency happens.'"

But often, cell phones in small hands are for more than emergencies. While some kids have simple flip phones, over at Boys and Girls Club in Rochester, they say they see smartphones instead of Gameboys.

"I think that varies too, but we tend to see a lot of high end phones," Bryant said. "I mean a lot of it is used for gaming now, so it's got that double piece to it."

Even though they say cell phones are common with their younger kids, Boys and Girls Club employees say you won't see kids playing with them at the Place.

"With the bullying that happens now days, pictures being posted to certain web sites and things like that, we try to stay away from that," Bryant said.

We also talked to some parents, teachers and kids. Some kids say they got their first cell phone as young as seven or as old as 14.

Elementary school teachers say they don't see kindergartners with cell phones, but by fifth grade, the devices are incredibly common.

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