Cell Phones For Kids

Cell Phones For Kids

Over the last decade the parental debate on cell phones for kids continued to evolve. While many parents believed it was a great way to keep track of kids when they were out with friends, others worried that giving their child a cell phone was too much freedom and responsibility. Early cell phone plans often found parents ogling their monthly bill in horror and surprise, especially if their kids were avid texters. As cell phone companies continue to evolve their plans, family packages became available, many of them including perks like unlimited texting.

So how young is too young for a cell phone? Only you as a parent can decide. Perhaps you travel a lot, or work away from home frequently and want a way to keep in touch with your child while you’re away. Even if your children are as young as five, there are a number of simple cell phones on the market specifically designed for young children. The Verizon Migo, for example, is a pre-programmable cell phone that allows you to add five numbers to speed dial from the Internet handset. This prevents the child from accidentally mis-dialing a call to Canada, or calling all their friends at school and chatting away.

Similar to the Migo, Enfora’s TicTalk has no buttons, but a scroll through mechanism that lists the available numbers. Parents log in to an Internet account to add and delete the numbers on their child’s phone. Designed for children ages six and up, the TicTalk is unconventional in its appearance and features, making it difficult for many kids to get the hang of. One of the perks of the TicTalk is that it comes pre-loaded with five educational LeapFrog games that kids can play while riding the school bus, on car trips or while waiting inside the doctor’s office for an appointment.

Cingular’s Firefly and GlowPhone are also Internet programmable, with the Firefly containing five buttons on the front keypad, prohibiting the child from making outgoing calls to numbers other than those programmed in by you. With a phone button from mom and dad on the front, there is also a twenty number phone book inside the user panel. One of the perks of the Firefley and GlowPhone is that they are pay-as-you-go phones, meaning you add minutes to the phone when needed so you child can’t run up a bill.

Disney mobile has some unique features, allowing parents to preset the dates and times their children can use the phone, call blocking and a parent to child mobile feature that lets you send texts to let your child know where you are, or that you are on the way to pick them up. The Disney mobile phones also come with a built-in GPS that allows you to locate your child no matter where they are. This could come in handy if your child gets lost, or even worse, abducted. One of the downsides to the Disney mobile is that you have to buy at least two phones, one for the parent-manager and one for the child. They are rather costly, and monthly plans start just around $60.

Cell phones can be used as leverage when encouraging your kids to do chores, keep their grades up and stay in line when it comes to behavior. With many cell phone companies offering pay-as-you go models, you can also limit how much time and money your child racks up each month, without the outrageous bill. A cell phone is also a major responsibility, and since many of us want our children to understand the nature of responsibility, giving them the opportunity to prove themselves with a cell phone is a big step. Only you as a parent can decide what’s right for your family. Take the time to research phones, plans, perks and programs, so you can make the most out of your family cell phone experience.