Do your kids have a cell phone? Last year, our older kids started a new charter school that was 30 minutes away from the house. Having 2 younger kids at home and commuting back and forth to pick them up, as well as coordinating after school activities – I wanted to be able to get a hold of them if I ever needed to. So, we trotted on down to the store and picked them up cell phones. We originally set them up on Virgin Wireless, because hello $35 a month.
Over the school year, we learned several things about giving our kids cell phones. If you are contemplating this – I thought I’d share a few things we learned.
1. Expensive Cell Phones Should Not Be Given To Young Children
So, the first phone we bought for our kids – my son still has and my daughter lost her phone in the first month. We didn’t pay much for the phones, so I wasn’t too worried about my daughter’s going missing – but still was unfortunate. Think twice before buying you child an expensive phone!
2. Cell Phone Contracts Work
We instituted a cell phone contract with our kids and it worked well. They were still young enough to see the phone as a privilege and didn’t feel the need to rebel.
3. Cell Phone Rules of Etiquette
Teach your kids when to text and when not to text. Explain appropriate and inappropriate photos. Educate your kids on why it’s not okay to record conversations with the audio recorder. Believe me, these are things you will want to teach your kids when they have a cell phone.
4. Kids Just Want to Text
So my kids just want to text and honestly, texting was the best way to get ahold of them. In the car pool line, it was easier to send a text saying “Still in line.” Every time I called my son, he put someone else on the phone or would sit there quiet or would ask about a snack. He’s a kid – texting worked great. Don’t worry too much about minutes – just get a phone they can text with.
5. Don’t Sign a Long Term Cell Contract
I am so glad we didn’t sign a contract. We ended up home schooling the last part of the school year and canceling phone service. We didn’t have a need for it, since we could use my daughter’s phone on Scratch Wireless anytime we needed to (no monthly fees!). While yes, it may just be $10 to add on another line – there are other charges you need to be on the look out for. If your kid has a smart phone, typically there’s a fee for that. Then there are taxes and misc. fees – and then of course there is the commitment. Know before you sign!
I know cell phones are more readily available for kids. They are extremely useful for instances where I want to know where my kid is, or need to be in contact with them where they are out and about with family or friends. Just make sure you establish rules, understand that they are just kids and make the best choice for your family when it comes to your kids and cell phones.
Continuing our 31 days of Kids and Technology – here’s a little insight we learned from giving our kids cell phones.