Author Topic: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?  (Read 1538 times)

kiwi

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Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« on: April 30, 2021, 04:51:29 PM »
Anyone have good, cheap dumb phone/flip phone options? I don't want to get my teen a smart phone, because I know just how addictive they are. But a dumb phone is starting to seem like a good idea, he needs to be in touch with people.

Are there any cheap options that don't involve a monthly plan?

Sibley

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2021, 06:04:30 PM »
You're not wrong, but your teen's entire social life is probably online. Please don't make your kid lonely and the weird one just to protect them from technology. That would be wrong of you.

EricEng

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2021, 08:47:20 PM »
Dumb phone will not suffice mid age teen if you don't want them to be an isolated hermit.  There are parental apps you can load onto phones to limit their time and apps they can use.

IslandFiGirl

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2021, 09:38:25 PM »
Try Gabb Wireless, it allows kids to call and text, but no apps, social media or internet.  Other people in this thread may think your poor teen will have no social life if they don't have a "real phone" but I call bull crap on that.  Kids can get in REAL trouble REAL fast with all of the apps/internet available to them.  Not only can it be very addictive, but kids can use social media to bully each other, etc.  Yes, I am speaking from personal AND professional experience.  You are smart to be cautious...if I can save even ONE parent and kid from the fallout from having free access to a phone I'm happy to speak up.  You may think you know your kid and may think they will be responsible and not do all those scary things you hear about, but you won't really know the until you take that phone from them and find out what they've REALLY been saying/doing.  And don't put it past them to delete apps, texts, phone numbers, etc in order to hide these activities from you.  I would legit pay more for a dumb phone for a teen than a smart phone JUST to keep them safe. 

Khaetra

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2021, 05:57:04 AM »
Cell phone=monthly plan, no way around that.  Now there are cheap plans out there ($10/month) for just talk and text but you will need a plan.

Finding a DECENT dumb phone?  That's a whole different story and seriously good luck with that.  My son bought a cheap AT&T flip phone and yeah, you get what you pay for the thing was junk.  He couldn't receive half his calls and never got texts friends sent him.  He ended up getting an iPhone SE because he knows it'll work and last him a long time.

jeninco

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2021, 04:32:23 PM »
You know, there's probably some middle ground between "sure, have unlimited access to this addictive little screen" and "NO, NOTHING FOR YOU."

I'd suggest actually having a real conversation (or a couple) to find out what your kids needs are. Is this meant to be a way for them to stay socially connected? If they play on a sports team, are player notifications going to go out via group texts? Do they want a way to play music? Is this mostly so you can call them/they can call you? And what are your actual concerns -- if it's around time, it's no big deal to set screen time limitations (and agree that all phones will spend the night in a charging location such as the kitchen counter). Is it around the teen's ability to get their shit done?

I've found it's quite useful to both talk with my kids about their needs and wishes and for me to (separately) identify our real concerns as parents. And then to have conversations about those things, and create backup plans for when the first plans fail, all with input from the kids.

bogart

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2021, 12:44:23 PM »
I figured my kid should learn to touch-type and told him he needs to do that before getting a mobile (smart) device.  I figure once you're using something that doesn't have a proper keyboard, you're not going to learn to touch type.  By that logic, of course, you also might not need to touch type, but it's a skill I find useful, and not hard to learn.

The kid refuses to learn to touchtype.  So, no smart phone (he's a teenager).  We got a dumb phone in 2019 and pulling up my ebay order history, it's a
Nokia 3310 3G Factory Unlocked Phone 2.4" Screen 32 MB Charcoal BB14/2 TA-1036 O

Honestly, the thing is pretty fabulous.  It's tiny, it's indestructible, it has great (I mean, phenomenal) battery life.  That's relevant if it's used by someone who can't keep track of stuff, because 3 days after he dropped it in a corner of his bedroom, it still rings when you call it.

We got a Ting plan for it.  He uses it mostly for backup communication.  In the pandemic, I don't think he really cares that he doesn't have a smart phone (I think having them when interacting in person with friends is part of the cache, and he's not doing much of that) -- he uses Discord (on a PC) to communicate with friends, and the phone when he's out and about solo and wants to be able to reach us, or we want to be able to reach him (or ditto when he's home alone, we want him to have a phone obviously). 

And I'm going to stand by what I said -- if he wants a smart phone, he can learn to touch type (and if he does do that, I'll get him one).  Meanwhile, honestly, I'm glad he doesn't as it dramatically simplifies keeping track of when he's online and reduces the kinds of things he's exposed to. 

9patch

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2021, 04:03:18 PM »
My 11 year old has a flip phone from Tracfone. It's $99 for a year. It's a dumb phone and it's awesome. We've had it for like 5 years or something.

LiveLean

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2021, 11:24:57 AM »
Get them a smart phone. Their high school teachers will expect them to be able to log on during classes for class-related work. Yeah. Seriously. Screen time is the biggest battle of this generation of parenting. We have kids 18 and 15. No way around it.

EricEng

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2021, 08:17:25 AM »
You know, there's probably some middle ground between "sure, have unlimited access to this addictive little screen" and "NO, NOTHING FOR YOU."
Agreed, too many act like that the two extremes are the only options (mostly as an excuse for "no smart phone").  There are lots of ways to restrict this via software or physical.  IE: Cell phone locked away after bed time.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2021, 12:02:30 PM »
I do think that a lot of parents are naive about how effective parental control software is. My parents were very naive about my computer usage (pre-smartphones) and it was a piece of cake to get round their "monitoring".

I recently read this blog post, where the author talks about restricting her (ten!) children's tech access: https://catholicallyear.com/blog/kids-tech-what-we-do-and-why-we-mostly-dont/

It's allegedly impossible to parent toddlers these days without resorting to screens. We've managed it. He has zero screen time, except for pandemic-induced occasional video calls and weekly mass watching. But many parents act like toddler screen time is as necessary an evil as them having to turn their noses up at their loving cooked meals and then smear it in their hair eat multiple times a day. Uh, no, it's a lifestyle choice like owning a car.

Of course it's different for teens, and @jeninco is quite right to discuss what they imagine using it for, but actually as a parent you get to decide. I don't know if our teens will have smartphones or not when we get there in ten years time, but no smartphones will absolutely be on the table as a viable option for discussion. We won't dismiss it just because "everyone says" it's "impossible".

EricEng

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2021, 01:58:27 PM »
I do think that a lot of parents are naive about how effective parental control software is. My parents were very naive about my computer usage (pre-smartphones) and it was a piece of cake to get round their "monitoring".

I recently read this blog post, where the author talks about restricting her (ten!) children's tech access: https://catholicallyear.com/blog/kids-tech-what-we-do-and-why-we-mostly-dont/

It's allegedly impossible to parent toddlers these days without resorting to screens. We've managed it. He has zero screen time, except for pandemic-induced occasional video calls and weekly mass watching. But many parents act like toddler screen time is as necessary an evil as them having to turn their noses up at their loving cooked meals and then smear it in their hair eat multiple times a day. Uh, no, it's a lifestyle choice like owning a car.

Of course it's different for teens, and @jeninco is quite right to discuss what they imagine using it for, but actually as a parent you get to decide. I don't know if our teens will have smartphones or not when we get there in ten years time, but no smartphones will absolutely be on the table as a viable option for discussion. We won't dismiss it just because "everyone says" it's "impossible".
If you want to raise your kids for Amish career fields, then stick to that link you provided.  If you want your kids to flourish in Engineering they need to spend time on computers and internet. Internet is a HUGE resource for school and work.  I cringe when we get interns who have no internet nor computer literacy.  They have no concept of how to look up solutions to problems or proper resources.

Again, there is a massive difference between giving a toddler free reign on a tablet for hours and giving a teen access with restrictions.  Those parents that say they "have to give them to a toddler" are usually the ones working from home that can't afford daycare.  Our toddlers do fine with one 30 min show 2-3 days a week (usually Sesame street or PBS program).  They get to use phones/tablets for games/videos during air plane flights and hour+ car rides.  They never beg for them because they know the rules of when they get them.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 02:01:46 PM by EricEng »

shelivesthedream

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2021, 02:24:00 PM »
Not all lifestyle choices are bad. You see if the pros outweigh the cons. But it's unhelpful to act like a lifestyle choice is a necessity when it isn't. *Mumble mumble forum growing soft get off my lawn* I've seen enough posters on this forum describe a car as a worldwide universal necessity to raise an eyebrow at an uncritical herdlike view of true necessity, and that is the way that society in general is going about children and smartphones. Are we Mustachians not a countercultural group who dissect received wisdom? I doubt most parents have the kind of discourse with their teens that jeninco described, but just buy a smartphone because you "have to".

Your toddler lifestyle choice obviously works for you. Kendra (blog lady) says her lifestyle choice is working for her. You're different. I expect you to make different choices. I too am different, so we will make different choices again. Bogart's son has decided he doesn't want a smartphone because the pros don't outweigh the cons.

And while your average Mustachian may be different, I truly believe that your average parent is naive about the efficacy of restriction software (as opposed to things like locking the phone away) and parental monitoring.

elaine amj

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2021, 05:44:51 PM »
You could search for a used dumbphone and then get a prepaid sim card that has a long expiry date. I have a grandfathered Tmobile plan that has a 365 day expiry and I only need to load it with a min $10/yr. I use less than that so this works for me (this is an emergency SIM).

Conversely, my teens bought themselves iphones that they used on wifi only. Used a wifi based phone app for calls/texts. Actually, I learned from that as my ultra cheap plan is data-only.

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« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 05:46:48 PM by elaine amj »

bogart

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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2021, 04:05:22 PM »
I do think that a lot of parents are naive about how effective parental control software is. My parents were very naive about my computer usage (pre-smartphones) and it was a piece of cake to get round their "monitoring".
If you want to raise your kids for Amish career fields, then stick to that link you provided.  If you want your kids to flourish in Engineering they need to spend time on computers and internet. Internet is a HUGE resource for school and work.  I cringe when we get interns who have no internet nor computer literacy.  They have no concept of how to look up solutions to problems or proper resources.

I totally agree with @shelivesthedream's point on the monitoring/blocking software -- in my experience it's easy for the kid to work around and takes effort for the parent to keep track of.  And since as you (@shelive...) note, my kid's decided it's not worth getting a smartphone, adding that to my to-do list has, for now, been easy to avoid.

@EricEng, sure, most kids will probably benefit from learning to use computers and having access to the internet (I don't really care whether mine pursues engineering or not, but expect he'll have a life, and a career, where computer skills are important).  Certainly it's been essential for mine this year, as we've been dealing with virtual schooling -- 100% of his experience this year during the pandemic -- and he's been relying on it to connect with friends, ditto (not quite 100%, but a lot).  And, as noted, he's savvy enough to work out how to circumvent monitoring software, which is a pretty low bar, but he's not clueless.  But I find it much easier to provide him access to a desktop computer than anything portable, as I find it much, much easier to keep track of and limit access to the desktop than I do portable stuff.