Are you worried about how you are going to stay in touch with your kids after school but aren’t sure how another cell phone will fit into your budget?
We have some great ways for you to make sure your child is safe without having it cost you a fortune.
I got my first cell phone as a senior in high school. I was the only one of my friends that had one but since I paid the bill myself at a cost of $1 a minute, it didn’t get used much.
Times have changed. It seems that every kid in the neighborhood is now playing Pokémon Go and their parents are tracking them via GPS.
As the new school year begins, I am sure many parents are asking “Is it now time for my child to get a phone?” along with “How do I control the costs?”
Here are some things to consider before giving your child a cell phone:
- How responsible is the child? This goes beyond whether they are going to lose it the first day but also includes are they capable of moderating themselves and not using it ever second of every day.
- How are their friends communicating? Many kids only communicate by texting or social media. Does my child need to be involved in those conversations and do I know how to monitor it?
- What about internet access? The internet is part of our lives. Having a phone is another extension of it that can access it anywhere. Do you trust your kids with access to it or do you need to restrict it in some way?
- What situations would your child need a phone? Does their schedule often change? Are they often needing rides? Do you need to know where they are? Are there safety concerns?
- Does your child know how to use a phone safely and appropriately? Do they know who they should be communicating with and disclosing their location? Do they know what they should or should not share online including pics and videos?
If you decide, as a parent, that you would like your child to have a phone, I’d recommend a few guidelines.
Get your child the most similar phone you can to the phone you carry. If you are familiar with the phone, you will have a much easier job understanding what your kids are doing on their phones. If you have an older unlocked version of your phone, you may be able to Bring Your Own Phone to Straight Talk and save on the cost of buying them an expensive new smartphone.
If you’re looking for a smartphone for your child and want to stick to a budget, the Straight Talk LG Premier LTE smartphone is on rollback for $99. Only at Walmart.
*Straight Talk’s Bring Your Own Phone plan requires a compatible, unlocked phone, activation kit and Straight Talk service plan. User may need to change the phone’s Access Point Name Settings.
Are you prepared for data fees? Almost every child’s data usage will be more be more that you expect. That is why I like Straight Talk’s $45 unlimited 30-day plan. It includes unlimited talk and text with 5 GB of high speed data per 30 day cycle. After 5 GB, data speed will be reduced to as low as 2G for the remainder of the 30 day cycle. This keeps your child from incurring extra data charges.
You can set up a Straight Talk Wireless account at your local Walmart while you are doing the rest of your back-to-school shopping. Straight Talk has Nationwide coverage on America’s Largest and Most Dependable Networks
*At 2G speeds, the functionality of some data applications, such as streaming audio or video may be affected. Please refer always to the latest Terms and Conditions of Service at StraightTalk.com.
Sit down with your child and talk about the rules. I look at my older kids having a cell phone as a safety issue. I like knowing that they can call if they need anything after school and being able to get in touch with them if I need to. There do need to be some rules. We have family rules for cell phone use and we follow the school’s rules for cell phones.
Talk with your child about your rules for cell phones in your home. We set the rule that phones are charged in mom and dad’s room so we know where they are and what they are being used for. Make sure your child understands what is included in their cell phone plan. Does he understand how much data he can use, who he can call, and what happens if he loses or breaks his cell phone?
Then there are the school’s rules to consider. Every school has different rules so it is important to talk to your school before hand to make sure you know what they are. Our school allows cell phones if they are kept out of sight during school hours. My son knows this and knows there will be consequences if he is caught using his phone during school. After school, he can turn his phone on and call if he needs a ride or needs to let us know he is going to a friend’s house so we can keep track of him and make sure he is safe.
Are you considering a cell phone to help you stay in touch with your child as he heads back to school?
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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.