Grandma Gives 6-Year-Old A Phone Without Parent Permission Because Her Mom 'Doesn't Answer Hers'

Her dad says that she is way too young for a smartphone.

Last updated on Feb 02, 2024

grandma gives phone to little girl without parent permission Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

Anyone with an overbearing mother-in-law is aware that they can often overstep boundaries when it comes to their grandchildren. 

One father shared his experience with his mother-in-law who gifed his 6-year-old daughter with an inappropriate present for someone her age. Now he's is seeking advice from other parents, asking if he is overreacting to the situation. 

His mother-in-law gave his daughter a smartphone without his or his wife’s permission. 

The dad shared his story on the subreddit, r/Parenting, an online forum where parents can record their experiences and ask for the advice of other parents. 


He revealed that his mother-in-law gave his 6-year-old daughter a smartphone with a SIM card and Internet access as a Christmas gift. He and his wife were not aware of his mother-in-law’s plans. 

“She did not discuss this with anyone and gave it to her when we weren’t around on Christmas Day,” he wrote. “Our daughter already has an iPad of her own to play Roblox/Minecraft and to watch cartoons on Netflix.” The man and his wife monitor their daughter’s activities on her devices through an app card. 

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She claimed that she bought her granddaughter a smartphone since the man's wife “doesn’t answer hers.” 

The man is especially concerned about his daughter’s access to the Internet at such a young age. "I am angry ... there are so many dangers on the Internet associated with smartphone use, not to mention the effect on brain development,” he wrote. 

The man asked other parents if he was wrong for feeling the way he did. 

Other parents validated his reasons for feeling upset with his mother-in-law. 

“Nope, you're not wrong. Just explain to your child, when MIL [mother-in-law] is not present, why it is not okay for her to have a phone and that this decision is up to the parents and not up to grandma,” one person commented. 

She crossed a boundary. I would give the phone back to her. You and your partner (assuming she feels the same) should talk to your MIL and tell her that she needs to discuss this with you guys beforehand,” explained another commenter. 


“You don't have to justify your boundaries but you can elaborate on why it's important to you.” 

Others suggested removing the SIM card so that the man’s daughter could not access the Internet or taking away the phone entirely. “Lock it down as best as you can right now (ensure any GPS tracking options are OFF),” one user suggested. “Take out the SIM card and power off the phone. Put both away somewhere. She may have given it but you decide what’s done with it.” 

Other parents believed that the man should “let nature take its course” and let his daughter misplace it, proving that she is too young to have a phone in the first place. 

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Establishing boundaries with grandparents, or any family members, is crucial. 

When it comes to family, especially dealing with grandparents who may be a bit too involved, it's crucial to set and stick to clear boundaries. In this situation, rules were broken and the gifted smartphone was not okay.

As parents, it's totally fine and necessary to control what technology your child has access to. Talking to your child about family rules and explaining why certain choices are made helps them understand and follow the rules. Talking to the grandparent about the situation is a key step in keeping family relationships healthy.

The community had some practical suggestions, like taking out the SIM card or putting the phone away for a while. The main advice is clear: stick to your boundaries and make decisions about your child's technology together as parents.


If parents address concerns calmly and early on, it not only keeps kids safe but also builds better relationships with grandparents. Setting boundaries isn't about saying no all the time but making choices that match what's best for the family and the child. Having clear and kind conversations in tricky situations can help everyone understand and work together.

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.