Louis CK on not giving cell phones for his children

My children are now adults and live on their own and own smart phones. But we did not buy them cell phones when they were in high school. Why? For no deep reason other than a general family philosophy of not buying stuff unless you really have a need for it.

So both daughters did not get cell phones until they went off to college, and then we bought them the cheapest ones with the cheapest plans and they got smart phones for themselves only later when they needed it for work or graduate school. I myself got my first cell phone just a few years ago as one of their hand-me-downs when they graduated to smart phones, and got a smart phone just last year, again as a hand-me-down when one of my daughters upgraded.

But comedian Louis CK seems to have put a lot of thought into why he doesn’t want to give his own children cell phones.

(Via mistermix.)


  1. brucegee1962 says

    We gave the cheap cell phones to our kids at around 13 for safety reasons and so we could stay in touch with them, but no smart phones. For that matter, we don’t have smart phones either. I’m already having to use my willpower to keep from getting my time sucked up by the internet, so paying extra to have more distractions seems like a very bad idea.

  2. Mano Singham says

    I actually don’t use the smart part of my smart phone for pretty much the same reasons you give. I don’t use it to surf the internet or to read email. I don’t have a data plan so need to be near free wi-fi to connect to the internet. I rarely even make phone calls. What I use it for is as an emergency contact device, as well as a PDA where I keep all my phone numbers and addresses, and for the calendar feature. So the smart phone stays in my pocket most of the time.

  3. lochaber says

    I was pretty early on the android smartphone bit (despite being an apple fanboy in the 90s-00s, I pretty much despise that corporation now…), but at the time used it mostly for email, sometimes google maps, and on occasion the rare web search.

    I hardly ever use the data plan anymore (although, I find the googlemaps public transit bit rather useful, so I’m loathe to give it up), and am considering switching down into just a voice/text plan.

    I sometimes use my phone to take notes or pictures or something, but that’s something even the most basic cell phone can do, so not much of an issue for me.

    plus, I hate this recent trend of the phones getting bigger and bigger, and eliminating qwerty inputs – I’m a bit clumsy, with fat fingers (that are frequently calloused and scratched/scraped up), so touch screens don’t work very well for me. I alternately miss both my old Google G1 phone and Motorola RAZR… 🙁

  4. Anniemouse says

    We waited until the son got a driver’s license three years ago to get him a cellphone. It’s an older, cheap phone that texts and makes calls. I’ve got a flip phone that I got at the same time. It makes calls. I don’t need a smartphone; I have a computer both at work and at home. When I need to wait around at the doctor’s office, I bring a paperback book. The book doesn’t become obsolete every six months, it’s not a target for thieves on the bus, and even if it did get lost or stolen, I’m only out $7 and it doesn’t have my personal and banking information in it.

  5. says

    I also gave my kids the our older phones that way they could use them in case of emergencies which has worked really well for us. We tell them not too use their phones at school during class hours and so far it has worked great so far and they have not gotten into trouble


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