iPhones for elementary age kids?

Hi there. My 9yo daughter was diagnosed 2 months ago. We’re on the Libre and MDI with plans to go G6 and Omnipod in the new year. My question is about phones. Our 12 yo son doesn’t even have a phone yet and we aren’t super keen on kids having internet access in their pockets. Is this something we just need to get over for better T1D management? We’ve considered getting her a dumb phone for call & text but is her having an iPhone necessary for the G6 sharing we want to take advantage of? I’d love to hear what other parents are doing about the issue of giving iPhones to elementary age kids?


I got an iPhone when I was in 5th grade for the sole purpose of managing my blood sugar and contacting my mom about insulin doses. My parents, like you, were understandably hesitant to give an elementary-school student a cell phone, so they put “parental controls” and similar restrictions on the phone–no apps without parental approval, etc. The g6 does work with just a receiver, but then you can’t use the “sharing” feature–a tool which is, in my opinion, one of the best parts of the g6 system. Apple has a great deal of options for restrictions on the iPhone–you can turn off app downloads, monitor internet/call history, and even check “screen time” to see the total amount of phone usage in the past 24 hours. Obviously it’s a personal decision and I completely understand your hesitation; in my opinion, the benefits outweigh the risks, but I hope some other folks on here will weigh in because I know there are several viewpoints for this issue.


parent here, as well as T1D.

Been there with the whole “too young for a phone” argument. Twice.

As a parent, I would think T1D overrules any sort of logic. If it makes your life easier, or makes you daughters life easier, take advantage of the technology. We did the whole “parental control” thing and random phone checks from time to time. It was during one of these phone checks I discovered my son was having trouble with spelling.

“boobs” is not spelled B-U-B-E-S…


That’s hilarious! Apple saves the day!

The main difficulty I’m running into is that my T1D 9yo daughter will handle an iPhone well. She will mind the rules and use it how we intend for her to use it. She just isn’t driven by screens. But my 12yo non-T1D son is 100% not mature enough to own an iPhone–lots of dishonesty and self-control issues around screens and just can’t keep up with his belongings yet. However, it would be demoralizing to him if his little sister got this magic thing that he’s been begging for. I fear it will make him hate us and resent her and there’s already some of the typical anger & attention-seeking you’d expect around T1D and everything being about her right now.

Before dx 2 months ago the plan was to delay iPhones for as long as possible (14ish).
Now of course, T1D management trumps my technology rules but is there way to have my cake & eat it too?

Can I still utilize the G6 Share function if my husband and I have iPhones but my daughter does not? Can she just use the G6 Reader & Omnipod PDM and the adults use the iPhones? Or does she have to have an iPhone on her as a sort of…hub for the share function?

Currently she does. I have seen some articles about maybe Fitbit becoming compatible, or an Apple Watch without an intermediary phone, which would be my ideal, as the phone or receiver can’t be farther than 20 feet from her or it loses signal.
My preschooler has an old iPhone in her backpack that she doesn’t know about and her teacher has her receiver.
I completely get it regarding your son. I also have two teenage boys (who do have phones) and that age is so hard.
The sharing to your phones is worth it. If it was treated as another tool, without your daughter using it for games or personal use, would that take the sting away? It’s mom or dads second phone that travels to school during the week?
We actually found it convenient during the night as well. Our bedroom is downstairs and the kids’ up, and the receiver loses signal in our room. So keeping the old phone in hers at night allows it to stay connected to ours and be able to check her remotely.

1 Like

Ok, I think I get it. She could have just the receiver for monitoring BG but she needs iPhone with her to route info to other iphones via the cloud.

It sounds like I’ll have to bite the bullet in order to get all function I’m most excited about (sharing!) from the G6. I just hate taking on the added screen policing with my son. I already feel like I’ve got a new full-time job and a that I’m in an accelerated Master’s program with all this T1D stuff. I don’t feel capable to adding teen boy iPhone police to my list of new duties right now!

I like your thing of using an old iPhone (we have a 5 in the drawer) and considering it an at school T1D device only though. I wonder how long I could keep it a secret from him?!

You’ve got it.
And she doesn’t even need to ever touch it, or unlock it, just have it within 20 feet of her. It’s a tool for mom and dad.
What good is an iPhone if you can’t play Minecraft/ fortnite/ watch YouTube of other people playing anyway?
Best of luck to you!

1 Like

Abby, are you 16 or is it 61?
I’m really amazed by your mature thinking; you truly are a beautiful person.

Thanks for being who you are, yes, I see the kid in you too from time to time. You are an asset to this page.



My son was diagnosed late July at the age of ten. We got the G6 and an iPhone SE for him because of the share app. It’s a smaller phone and a bit more discreet and lighter than most phones. We locked down the internet and the camera so he can only use the phone and text messaging, but there’s still policing involved a bit. If it weren’t for diabetes he would have never gotten a phone this early. Also, he just started the OmniPod this morning.

1 Like

Teen boy iPhone police. LOL…

That was a full time job from about 13 to 15. My wife and I had a deal. I did the monitoring and she happily pretended her little man, her precious little first born, wasn’t learning how to spell words correctly at breakneck speed.

1 Like

I got my daughter a cell phone in 5th grade so she could call me if there was a problem or she didn’t feel well. I also had to come from work and give her shots if the nurse was at another school.

1 Like

Wow, this comment made my day. Thank you so much. :slight_smile: I’m lucky to be a part of such an amazing community with amazing people like you–your expertise is invaluable.

1 Like

My son was diagnosed in September and we are getting ready to have a trial with the dexcom. I actually bought him an iPod. It doesn’t have a phone feature but it does have the option to download the app. Of course we have the parental controls and we monitor all activity. Maybe an iPod could be an option. Also the FaceTime option works on WiFi so if he ever needs help while I’m at work we could easily use that. Good luck.

1 Like

An iPhone is necessary for dexacom g6 sensor. For the sensor is needed to be paired with iphone…then he may invite you and husband to follow his glucose on your phone… medically necessary… …it makes living with diabetes easier and eliminates 6 to 8 glucose meter checks. it will come with a receiver device too…so he may use the receiver to view glucose …the phone must be in his pocket or within 20 feet of him for receiver to work. If he’s at a friends house it was great being able to call or text son that glucose was high and low to be sure he’s aware or so he may call u. You could decide when phone is used for social media…hope this helps

1 Like

What is the range on the G6 transmitter? If it is 20 feet, any receiver (phone, etc) will be useless as a monitor (or sharing device) when further away from the transmitter.
I am not sure, but believe that the communications with the transmitter is 1 way only, and if so, any number of receivers could be used as monitors (as long as they are within range).

1 Like

My T1D 5 year old has his “Monitor” in his backpack all day long. It’s actually a Pixel (droids works with apps too) in a durable case, using Google’s Project Fi (multiple carriers and wifi). I get data at work and across the house all day… unless he is too far away from the phone but G6 will store and send me about 2.5 hours of data when he gets back within Bluetooth range (15-20ft for about 5+ minutes). Teachers and school nurse pay attention to location of backpack and are the only ones who know phone password. My son and his 9yr old brother do not know the password. All none essential apps, including games, have been removed which prolongs battery life to two full days. Opening screen displays parents’ cell numbers and identifies device as “Diabetic Monitor” for 5yr old. We are on G6 and start Omnipod this Jan… wish us luck. :grin:

1 Like

Yes, Good luck! Thanks for all the info & ideas.

Hi. My 11 year old sold was diagnosed 1 year ago. He is using dexcom G6 and Omnipod. He does have an iphone and takes it to school in his backpack. He never takes it out it just allows me to get his numbers by bluetooth. I dont really see any other way. He is older but I strongly believe if this is the only way to keep an eye on him then it is a must. I have a hard time not knowing his numbers when he is away at school. I do understand your position and it is so hard to deal with the worrying on a daily and nightly basis but having the phone at school helps so much.

1 Like

Hi Gemstone. My T1D daughter is now 11. We’ve been on the Dex and Omnipod for almost exactly a year now. We were also part of the no cell phones for kids team, but we quickly changed our ming when we realized that it was truly for is in this case. We also have an older, less mature daughter as well that didn’t have a phone yet, but we made the decision to give her one as well. We did a lot of monitoring her phone at first, and I will say the Apple updates to Parental Controls with Screen Time has been a big help. I can shut down anything I want remotely, and I can give her limited time on any apps I want. I suspect that playing Fortnite is not your biggest concern, so know that you can shut down text messages, shut down Safari and require your approval before adding or deleting an apps. I’m not sure an iPhone 5 supports IOS 12, which is what you need for Screen Time, but I know a 6 does. Once you have numbers every 5 minutes, you will quickly wonder how you ever lived without it. Just today, my daughter was in PE. Start of class she was at 280, before class was over she was 105 double down (falling 15 points or more every 5 minutes). So, I was able to ping her phone and get a snack in her pretty quickly. We still got down to 59, but by then she was in the nurses office to be on the safe side and had already had a 2nd snack. In my opinion your T1D needs the phone and needs to be able to use it based on her age. I have her phone and messages set to always allow in Screen Time so I can always be in touch. My 15 years olds still have restrictions on those. Hope that helps a little with the thought process. I completely understand the struggle. God Bless.

1 Like

My son was diagnosed a year ago and as a five year old I was hesitant to getting him an iPhone as well. We compromised and got him an iPod touch. Even though I don’t like the idea of cell phones for an elementary student, I’m already thinking about how a phone would better serve him and us. We’ve been having issues with the school WiFi and so my husband and I can no longer get follow notifications and it makes it very difficult. Or when we go to places like Billy Beez I have mini panic attacks when I can’t find him and don’t know his BG because there’s no WiFi. I say yes to a phone as someone who was very hesitant myself.