I used to think that only kids who were driving needed cell phones, but if you think about it, it's the younger kids who sometimes have to call home for a ride, are out playing and forget about the time, get scared during sleepovers or camping trips, etc.. Now that things like the Firefly
are available, why not have that added "protection"?
Our 14-year-old nephew, who lives in the U.S., has had the latter for well over a year, and it's great. I can call him from Europe, although he can only make local calls, and we can send each other text messages. His older sister, brother, and step-father have also switched to Cricket to keep down costs.
I think it's all right to give younger children pre-paid phones, and have them pay for their calls/text messages out of their allowance. If they overdo it, they'll learn pretty fast to use the phones sparingly.