Cell phone for pre-teen? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-15-2015, 09:05 AM   #1
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Cell phone for pre-teen?

The Sit Rep is this: Divorced parents (myself and the ex) are considering a cell phone for a soon to be 12 year old girl. This summer, for the first time, our daugther may be "home alone" at the ex's place some mornings and my ex has no home phone. So, in order for our daugther to have communication capability she will need a cell phone. This also corresponds with a job change for me that will provide a company phone I can use for personal use also so I have a phone/number we can move to the kid. Of course she is not going to want Daddy's dirty old flip phone and I don't blame her (although I am pretty dadgum cheap). Anyway, I am looking for general discussion on the topic from some who have tread this path before.
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Old 01-15-2015, 09:17 AM   #2
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Depending on our cell service provider, (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc,) you may be able to just add an additional line for about $10/mo. or thereabouts. You can even keep your own original phone/number as well. Worth checking out anyway. Probably cheaper in the long run than those "pay-as-you-go" plans, since you already have a carrier.
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Old 01-15-2015, 10:44 AM   #3
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What ever you get make sure it has full insurance on it as it will get broken, lost , stolen and flooded. Not necessarily in that order but its going to happen and maybe several times during your 2 year plan. I hate cell phones all the kids do with them is text about life instead of living it. They all seem to end up night owls waiting for the cell to ring with sleeping issues. If you can control access to the phone when they go to bed it would be a wise move. Especially as they get older. My 16 year old granddaughter has full blown sleep issues partly caused by the lack of control with her cell phone. She can't function without it. Worse than being on drugs. Stepdaughter has little to no personal one to one people to people skills and lives her life through the damn thing. Its just awful the path taken with cell service leading the way. I wish you all the luck in the world.
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:03 AM   #4
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Tim, I volunteer in Alpine racing and as a result I often spend a lot of time around under 14 children who travel a lot to races on week-ends without parents so the parents feel the children should have a phone so they can talk to them. As a result I get to hear some pretty interesting stores regarding that age group and their first cellphone experiences.

As Greg suggested most carries have shared plans - i.e. if you don't use up all the data or voice time on your own phone plan the child once they use up theirs (and my sources say they will! ) they will use up your unused minutes and data time. Down side to that is they may actually us it all and one day you go to use your phone and you are out of luck as the carrier has shut you down or they will send you a message telling you that your over your limit and thus paying more per minute due to the child having used up all your minutes or text limit.

It seems that with the first cellphone there is often a real big learning curve for most of the kids even though they have all had THE TALK prior about usage and bills etc.

Most parents I know would say get a plan that has UNLIMITED texting! Kids like to text they don't like to talk. I have heard some pretty staggering numbers in regards to how many texts a child has sent out in a month.

Most would also suggest getting phones with limited data plans that shut the childs web surfing & Facebook time right off once they go over it but still permit them to text or call etc.

Talk time doesnt seem to be an issue that comes up to often due to the children preferring to text and the only people who want to actually talk not text are usually their parents! :-) As a parent you are aware of what their plan has in regards to talk time so the length of the chat is usually in your control ;-)

The other big issue is loss or breakage of the phone.... oh they will indeed lose one or two or three or..... It has been suggested by more than one parent that the loss or breaking of a phone often corresponds with the release of the latest and greatest new phone that all their friends just happen to have gotten recently!
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Old 01-15-2015, 11:51 AM   #5
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There is some good information regarding this topic that also includes information about parental controls offered by the various carriers at this site:
The Best Cell Phone Plan for Your Child - Techlicious
Good luck. It is a tough decision.
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Old 01-15-2015, 01:24 PM   #6
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Straight Talk Check either online or at Walmart.
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Old 01-15-2015, 01:24 PM   #7
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I would point out that if you purchase unlimited texting, you are essentially giving her permission to wind up with addiction issues similar to Steve's granddaughter.

My question is, what do you see as acceptable use of the phone? Will it have allowable "toy" usage, or is it ONLY to contact you or the police? The second question is, is she a compliant child? There are phones that can be locked down with parental controls, and there are phones that only have 4 speed-dial buttons, with no dialpad. But, I would far rather be in a position to trust my child to use the phone as directed. You know your daughter.

I, personally, would expect my child to take care of the phone, and not lose it. You could give her the option - pay to replace a lost/broken phone (not a defective phone) on her own, or pay for insurance and deductible on her own. I would suggest that if she is not mature enough to handle those terms, she is not mature enough to be by herself, and you need to formulate a different plan.

You can also get a prepaid phone pretty cheaply, and if she accidentally burns through her minutes during the learning curve, the phone will still be able to call 9-1-1, whether or not it has any minutes left. If she burns through the minutes a second time, either she or one of her parents aren't following the terms of usage for her phone.

I have no doubt that there are plenty of folks that will disagree with me on these things, but that is our privilege in this country. Carry on.
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Old 01-15-2015, 01:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Paul E Henning View Post
I have no doubt that there are plenty of folks that will disagree with me on these things, but that is our privilege in this country. Carry on.
And many many other countries.
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Old 01-15-2015, 01:55 PM   #9
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And many many other countries.
No doubt!
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:41 PM   #10
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In the initial topic starter, it sounded like the cell phone was more of a safety issue-child alone at times. With most carriers, you can get a line restricted-she can call only specific numbers(like 911 and the parents). You can also get a GPS app that tells you where her phone is at all times(when you look).

I worked at both a high school and middle school and see both the value and the problems with kids having phones. I think phone use should be restricted at least at first. My thoughts.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:48 PM   #11
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Sit her down and tell her your expectations regarding her usage and behavior with the phone. Tell her what the consequences will be if she violates those expectations. Then stick to it, even when it's difficult.
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:56 PM   #12
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If you prefer to talk to your children rather than text be sure they understand that.

I have friends whose children have "put their foot down" and let their parents know that they don't talk -- they text -- and if mom and dad want to communicate they will text. The kids enforce this policy by refusing to answer incoming voice calls.

...and the parents are paying the phone bill. STRANGE!!!
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Old 01-15-2015, 05:59 PM   #13
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Mike, Even if you have her read and sign the rules, it aint gonna work unless you really enforce such rules. Cave in once and all is lost.
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Old 01-15-2015, 06:03 PM   #14
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I dont disagree with you Paul but the issue with giving them limited text or talk time resulting in a phone that can only call 911 and making them pay for a phone they loose or broke can defeat the reasons the parent is wanting them to have a phone in the first place. They want to talk to the child and know where they are whenever they get the urge to know. If the phone is locked out by the carrier or broken (good bet a pre or young teen does not have the means to replace it) then they can't do that.

Its a bit of a double edge sword .... damed if you damed if you don't!

Yes giving them phones with unlimited access can result in situations such as Steve mentioned but in that situation the parent could if they so wished make rules regarding the phones use that would help to prevent it. I know more than one parent who has put restriction on the times the child can use the phone. In one case no phone usage during homework and dinner hours and another the phones are all shut off in the home at 9PM and left in a charging station in the kitchen, so no phones in bedrooms at night - the funny part of the later one was that one of the parents had a harder time abiding by that rule than the children in the home did!
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