We recently had this debate in my house. Our oldest was turning 11 and my wife wanted to get her a phone. I didn't think it was really needed just yet but ultimately gave in to what my wife wanted to do. We did make a compromise, however. We didn't invest in a hugely expensive plan for her. She has a prepaid plan that costs $100 a year that gives her enough minutes to last her. If she runs out, she has to pay from her money to increase it. We also tacked on a $10 plan that gives unlimited texting and very limited data. If she goes over, she must pay to increase it although we do pay the $10 each month. Not a bad compromise and I admit it is nice knowing she has a phone for emergencies.