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The Results: When Is It OK for Kids to…? Back-to-School Edition

The Today Show

Did you see us on the TODAY Show this morning? Our editorial director, Rachel Fishman Feddersen, was on to talk about our survey with TODAY Moms on which asked parents for their take on the right age for kids to pick out their own clothes, do homework without parental supervision, talk on the phone at night to friends, walk to school by themselves, and more. Thanks to the more than 1,500 parents who weighed in! 

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Among the highlights:

  • Tired of hovering with homework help? When it comes to getting homework done independently, 44 percent of parents said they’d trust a 13-year-old to do it, while 32 percent said age 11, and 21 percent thought a 9-year-old could be trusted.
  • Is your kid already clamoring for a cell phone? Just one in 10 parents said their 9-year-old would be ready to bring one to school, while twice that many thought that 11 years of age was old enough to bring a phone to school. But the overwhelming majority of parents (59 percent) said kids should wait until they were 13 to bring a phone to school.
  • Is your family fighting over access to a shared family computer? While plenty of kids need access to a computer for schoolwork, 59 percent of parents thought kids should have to wait until age 16 to have a computer in their room. Sixteen percent said age 12 was OK, and 19 percent thought age 14 was old enough.
  • And finally, what got parents the most riled-up was our question about walking home from school alone. Sixty-one percent chose the oldest age from the options available: 12—and many wrote in to say that their real answer was Never!

Plus: Talking to Your Kids About Stranger Danger

Of course, kids, like adults, are individuals, and what one child is ready for at age 12, another might not be ready for until age 16… or 24.

What do you think of the results of the survey? Do you think kids today are more mature than when you were growing up?