I live in San Francisco, a city so enamored of technology that people cross busy, four-lane thoroughfares with their noses buried in a smartphone. So you\u2019d think that our digerati would be the first to equip their kids with the latest smartphones. But maybe not.\n\n\nI conducted an informal poll of local friends on Facebook and found that most of the parents among them had little interest in listening to the pleas of their technology-enthused children \u2013 at least until middle school.\n\n\nTroy Wolverton, a columnist for the Mercury News and as tech savvy a guy as you\u2019ll come across, wouldn\u2019t even give his precocious young son a smartphone when he entered middle school. \u201cThe risks are almost too numerous to list, but they include everything from cyberbullying to sleep deprivation to texting while driving to addiction,\u201d he wrote in a column last year that he sent in answer to my query.\n\n\n[ Related: Smartphones, tablets might not be bad for kids after all ]\n\n\nLarry Aragon, a financial journalist, says he didn\u2019t get his son a mobile phone until 6th or 7th grade. And even then, it could only call four numbers: his mom, his dad, his grandmother and 911. \u201cHe absolutely hated it. But I wouldn't do anything differently,\u201d Aragon says.\n\n\nMy children are long since grown, but what brought this issue to mind was a press release Sprint pitched my way the other day. The number 4 wireless provider was announcing a website calls kidsfirstphone aimed at giving parents advice on kids and cell phones.\n\nDon't sprint to get kids smartphones\n\nSprint, of course, hopes that first phone will be a Sprint phone, but the site does provide some actual food for thought and counsels parents whose kids aren\u2019t always honest with them, or who lose and break things, to \u201cconsider waiting a bit.\u201d The site quotes a study by Influence Central (a market research consultancy) which found that the average age kids obtain a mobile phone is a bit more than 10 years old.\n\n\nPeople whose children walk or take public transit to school make the case that the phone can be an important safety tool. Jacqueline Cutler, a San Francisco journalist now living in New Jersey, bought her daughter a cell phone for that reason when she entered middle school. \u201cI wanted to know if she were staying after school, or coming home or needed a pick up (the most common),\u201d she says.\n\n\n[ Related: 8 free tools that teach kids how to code ]\n\n\nPhone are expensive, of course, and kids are prone to lose and break things. (OK, some adults are too, but we\u2019re talking about kids here.) So Karen Zuercher, a San Francisco editor and parent, told me about a way her friends have confronted that issue: \u201cUse this flip phone (they tell their kids) for one year and don't lose it and you get a smartphone.\u2019 If they lose it, they pay for a replacement and the year restarts.\u201d\n\nIt's scary out there\n\nTiffany Garvey, a call center manager in Las Vegas, lets her 2-and\u2013a-half-year-old daughter play baby games on an old phone and is already thinking about how she\u2019ll handle smartphones and the internet in the future. She\u2019ll probably get her daughter a basic feature phone when she\u2019s quite a bit older. But a smartphone? Not likely. \u201cThe phone calls and text aren't the issue for me. It is the access to the web that is scary,\u201d she said.\n\n\nAre my friends overly cautious? I don\u2019t think so. Smartphones are great tools \u2013 for adults.