It used to be that cell phones were only for adults with a job and a busy schedule. Today, even children have started using cell phones. The reason cited by most people for providing cell phones to children is the peace of mind that it affords. They can contact their children wherever they are as and when they want. It works the other way as well; children can also contact them if there is an emergency. Of course, having a cell phone is also all about being socially fit.
If you have finally decided to give your child a cell phone, the biggest task in front of you must be choosing a suitable plan that is easy on your wallet. Here a few things to consider when choosing a cell phone plan for your child:
What will the children use cell phones for?
Younger children should only need basic features in case they need to contact you in case of an emergency. Likewise, you may also find it easier to contact and even locate them with a GPS enabled cell phone. Children in their early teens may want to call their friends and family members, send text messages and take pictures. Older children may want to browse the Internet, access social networks, and download apps in addition to talking and texting friends.
Obviously, older children need to have a smartphone in order to be able to do the activities that they would like to do. Children in their early teens and younger children need only have a basic cell phone. If your children will pester for upgrading to the latest device, getting locked into a contract could be a problem. In such a case, a SIM only plan or a low cost monthly plan may be a better choice. Further, if your child is not going to be responsible with his/her new possession, it could lead to more problems. You may want to test your child’s ability to be responsible with their own cell phone by starting them with a lower cost phone and plan.
Who will pay the cell phone bills?
Prepaid plans will be helpful in teaching your children the value of money, especially if they are paying the bills themselves. The biggest advantage of using prepaid plans is that you will not be surprised with a huge bill at the end of each month. The payment is made in advance for calls, texts and data usage and is perfect for children who are learning how to budget.
Is it possible change the plan?
This is something that you must take into consideration before you get locked into a long-term contract. You should not know exactly how much does it cost to switch plans, especially if the one you have subscribed for is unsuitable for your child. In order to have flexibility and avoid unnecessary charges, it is better to opt for a plan with no fixed term.
Monthly and Family Plans
If you are going for a monthly plan for your child’s cell phone, you must have a clear understanding of the limits and the charges involved for usage over the limits. It is, therefore, important that you compare the text, call and data usage charges between carriers as costs can add up very fast. Many carriers offer unlimited plans for an additional payment.
Most carriers also offer family plans in order to help you monitor and control your children’s usage. For example, T-Mobile offers family plans that include unlimited calling in the nights and weekends, between T-Mobile customers, etc. Verizon’s Share Everything plans enables you to link up to ten cell phones to one plan. You can enjoy unlimited texting as well as talking and share data allowed for a month.
Providing cell phones to children is a great way to develop a sense of responsibility as well as independence in them. It is also provides a sense of security, especially if you are anxious about staying in touch with your children. However, it is important that you take some time and find the right device as well as a plan that suits their needs.
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