As you start back to school this year, you may be wondering if it’s time for your child to have their own cell phone. Ultimately deciding whether your child should have a phone is a family decision, but if you are considering it, there are kid-friendly options available that may ease the stress of busy everyday activities.
Children are becoming more and more active with sports, after-school activities and other events, which are time consuming for both the parents and children. Many parents have found that giving their child a cell phone makes coordinating activities, events, pickups and drop-offs easier for everyone involved, with the added bonus that children and parents are always just a phone call away.
Another factor parents consider is safety for their child. If your child has a cell phone, they are always able to call for help or assistance from you or local authorities, if needed. Also, GPS-enabled phones allow parents to track their child’s movements and locations.
Below is a list of simple steps to follow, if you’re considering purchasing a cell phone for your child.
- Consider the pros and cons – Every family is different, so determine what works best for your family and situation.
- Discuss the possibility of getting a cell phone with your child – Make sure everyone is on the same page and has the same expectations, whether they’ll be getting a smartphone or limited-plan phone.
- Research phones and services available in your area. Many networks offer children protection plans, some at an additional cost, that limit in-coming or out-going calls and text messages, data usage and other services. Also, some networks offer limited-service phones like FireFly Phone and LG Migo.
- Make a decision that works for you, your child and your family. If you’ve decided to purchase a phone for your child, discuss it with them and establish ground rules for phone use.
- Stay alert, but be respectful. Monitor your child’s phone activities — texting, data usage, phone usage — for safety. Also, make sure your child understands the responsibilities, general and financial, of having a cell phone.
Remember when selecting phone plans that you can go with the traditional monthly plans through a network such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint, or you can choose to purchase a pay-as-you-go phone, which puts more limits on usage.
Allconnect is a free online resource to review and compare the costs and choices for essential home services, including mobile phone service, high speed Internet, phone, cable TV, satellite TV, and home security systems.