Author Topic: Preteen cell phone  (Read 531 times)

bisimpson

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Preteen cell phone
« on: October 02, 2018, 04:40:40 PM »
Our 12 year old just asked for a cell phone to text friends. Any suggestions? My wife and I have phones through work. We thought about adding a line and getting work fro the kid in lieu of a monthly payment. But are there any *free* options? We considered just using messages on iOS or google voice. 

Thoughts?

Peachtea

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Re: Preteen cell phone
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2018, 07:42:36 PM »
Buy (or have your kid buy) a cheap $50-100 smartphone, unlocked is best for future use. I have a moto e4 which is more than fine and I use my phone a lot. Right now you can get it new on eBay for $80. But there are also lots of other unlocked cheap smartphones on Amazon too.

Then your kid can use WhatsApp free on WiFi to text and call. Also can use this on iPads if they already have one of those. Not sure about other brand of tablets, but likely those as well. My teen cousins use WhatsApp even though they also have normal text and phone plans. Or Red Pocket has a $10/month 500 min/ 500 texts/ 500 mb data plan.

APowers

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Re: Preteen cell phone
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2018, 07:50:06 PM »
Google hangouts works pretty great for a free wifi call/text app. Whatsapp is pretty good too, but it depends on the recipient also having Whatsapp. I would lean towards allowing the kid to buy their own phone (unlocked used/refurbished Moto e is a great inexpensive yet good option for a starter phone).

Freedomin5

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Re: Preteen cell phone
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2018, 06:39:38 AM »
Why does she need a cellphone? Just to text friends? Why can’t she just talk to her friends at school? Do they do group work via texting? If she doesn’t have a phone to text her friends, will she die? Is having a phone a safety issue? Is it a school requirement?

I work with with hundreds of students who all have smart phones, and I can say a good number of them don’t need them, and they are really mean to each other online/via text. So giving her a phone is not something to consider lightly.

If she has a computer at home that she uses to do homework, she can just Skype/Instagram/WhatsApp/Snapchat her friends, and you can keep an eye on the messages to make sure there’s no cyber bullying going on.

Car Jack

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Re: Preteen cell phone
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2018, 07:02:04 AM »
Kids need phones nowadays.  How will the text each other, facetime, skype, watch youtube videos or play games during math class if they don't have a phone?

(and yes, I'm serious.  Already been through it with 2 kids)  Delay as long as possible.

GuitarStv

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Re: Preteen cell phone
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2018, 08:58:43 AM »
I don't have a cell phone, why the hell would I pay for one for my kid?  My son can have a phone when he pays for it from the job he's working.  I'm not convinced that regularly using a cell phone does anything beneficial for your life.

TrMama

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Re: Preteen cell phone
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2018, 01:05:39 PM »
Kids need phones nowadays.  How will the text each other, facetime, skype, watch youtube videos or play games during math class if they don't have a phone?

(and yes, I'm serious.  Already been through it with 2 kids)  Delay as long as possible.

This. The first question you should ask is, "Am I ready to police my child's use of the cell phone?"

ketchup

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Re: Preteen cell phone
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2018, 01:26:53 PM »
I was dicking around with my graphing calculator (either playing tetris or writing programs to do my math homework for me) in high school for years before I got a cell phone (at 18 in 2009).  My girlfriend read Harry Potter all throughout high school algebra.  Kids will always find a way to distract themselves in math class.

bisimpson

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Re: Preteen cell phone
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2018, 05:48:52 AM »
Thanks for all the parental advice. We’re considering all of this. We’re facing the same types of issues anyway. We haven’t really decided on a phone, but wanted to think about free ways to connect. They have a hand me down iPad and they know that they’ll need to pay for it if they want it.

GizmoTX

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Re: Preteen cell phone
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2018, 07:10:08 AM »
We decided that DS could have a cellphone at the point where he was away from us for activities, around age 11. We deliberately chose a simple phone that was not a smartphone, ie no internet access. We told him that his care & usage of it would determine his continued access to this privilege.

Unlike a computer that should have a nanny net installed, the internet is wide open on a smartphone & is way too dangerous for a sub or young teen. And, too many become addicted to smart devices. Texting is not the same as talking.

DS earned the privilege of a smartphone at 16.

mm1970

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Re: Preteen cell phone
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2018, 02:05:22 PM »
When my son was 11, my spouse gave him an old phone (without talking to me, ahem).

It was WiFi only, so he could text his friends with google hangouts.

Right around when he turned 12, we added a SIM card and added him to our (cheap, pre-paid) plan.  This was in advance of junior high and getting himself to and from school.

As you'd imagine, there are strict rules for when you can and can't use your phone at school (mostly: you can't, but during a break you can?)  Anyway, if you are caught then your phone is confiscated until a parent can come get it from the office.

So even with the concern of getting himself home (on foot) every day (>1 mile)...he's decided it's not worth the trouble.  So he leaves it at home. 

My other neighborhood friends have daughters, and they insist that they have their phones for walking home.  Sometimes they all walk home together, but they on are slightly different schedules, with early start/ early release options, regular schedule, and after school programs.