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Cell Phones for Kids
Cell phones for kids: Questions for parents to ponder

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September 22nd, 2009

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Rest assured that if your young teenager has asked you to get him or her a cell phone, you are in good company. The number of parents weighing the pros and cons of buying a cell phone for their kids has been growing exponentially as of late. According to a study by The Yankee Group, more than 50% of 13 to 17-year-olds today own wireless phones.

Maturing in this day and age, today’s teens are accustomed to being in constant contact and having instant access to information. As more and more of their peers get their first cell phones, teens already highly concerned with fitting in may feel particularly left behind without a cell phone of their own. As their children near their early teens and start asking (perhaps begging may be a more appropriate term?) for their first cell phone, parents have a decision to make based on what they think is best for their children and their family.

Kids and Cell Phones: What Parents Like

On one hand, parents see a cell phone as a valuable way to be in touch with their children in case of emergencies big and small. If your daughter’s soccer practice is running late or if you are stuck in traffic on your way to picking her up, a cell phone can let her reach you or vice versa. A cell phone equipped with GPS technology also enables you to monitor your kid’s whereabouts at all times.

Many parents also see a cell phone for kids as a valuable tool to help teach their children how to handle an additional responsibility. The size of the wireless bill, the list of phone calls and whether the child stays in touch when he or she is supposed to are all things that can be used by parents to teach accountability.

The Main Concerns About Getting Kids Their Own Cell Phones

On the liability side, a cell phone can give children freedom to communicate with anyone, posing similar risks as the Internet–text messaging from strangers, cyber bullying, calls to or from unwanted parties or simply excessive distractions. Then there is the more mundane factor of cost: since children do not yet fully understand the value of money, they can easily rack up cell-phone bills of jaw-dropping proportion–unless some sensible precautions are put into place. Some children also have an unfortunate tendency to misplace things.

Cell Phones for Kids: Rules and Responsibility

So, is it thumbs up or thumbs down? As with most issues pertaining to parenting and education, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Parents need to consider whether their child is ready to take on the responsibility of a wireless phone, while being themselves prepared for the task of educating and monitoring the child on cell phone rules.

Parents who are leaning towards buying a cell phone for their child way may find the following suggestions helpful:

  • Be completely upfront with the child about cell phone rules and etiquette (e.g. no texting or talking in class and at the dinner table)
  • Talk with children about the costs of cell phone use, and consider having children pay for part of their phone bills or for overages over an agreed upon amount
  • Limit the cell phone’s capabilities to exclude the Internet, video games, text messaging or other features that may be too distracting or costly
  • Closely monitor the bill so as to always know who the child is communicating with
  • Select a phone specifically designed to have the features both children and parents want

Ready to start looking?

Have you decided to take the plunge and start looking around for a cell phone that will make both you and your children happy? We’ve compiled a list of some of the best phones for kids complete with hands-on videos and a feature comparisons chart.

Shop Now for Phones from AT&T Wirelesss, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

Related posts:

  1. Best Cell Phones for Kids
  2. Sprint Gives Parents More Control
  3. Cell Phone Etiquette For Kids
  4. Wirefly Announces the Ten Most Popular Cell Phones of 2006

4 Responses to “Cell phones for kids: Questions for parents to ponder”

  • lorene ammonds
    August 11, 2011

    hi i am a new sprint customer and i got two phones one for me and one for my son he was so eager to open and turn on the phone without looking at the instructions and they said not to turn on the phone unless our other phone was turn off our other phone was not turn off i just want to know will this affect the activation process when they switch our same number over

    • Lorene, I don’t think it will affect the activation process. However, if you do have a problem with activation, just take the old phone and new phone to a Sprint store. They should be able to fix you right up.

      Bob at Wirefly

  • hi do you have tmobile side slide

  • Interesting that this article is referring to teenagers. I logged on to shop for a phone for my 6 year old. My 10 year old has had her one phone for over 2 years. I have noticed that many of the older children at the K-5 my kids attend already have phones. We got rid of our land line over a year ago because it didn’t make sense to pay for a line we rarely use, however, now I worry that my kids can’t dial 911 if something happens to me – especially since there is a key lock on my personal phone. This is why I am now shopping for a child-friendly cell phone my little one can use in case of an emergency. It’s an odd feeling. I remember begging my parents for call waiting… but now it’s a whole line of their own (including call waiting) and a portable device the kids want.

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