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The school year is about to begin and all the kids are a year older. My oldest son is 10 years old. He has been asking about a phone for awhile, but my husband and I have been debating getting him one. We have given him an old phone and he plays games and on it, but he does not have the ability to talk or text. There were times last year where I would have loved to have texted or called when he was way from home. There are several things we have been talking about to see if he ready to have one.
There are a few kids in his classes that have a phone and bring them to school, mostly girls. I think he and his friends are still focused on playing outside and sports. That’s something that we don’t want a phone to replace. We don’t want him sitting in the house when he could be around real people and having fun.
1. Do you think your child can handle the extra media? I know I don’t want my kids laying around on the couch or bed all day texting and playing games. I want them playing with their friends, sports, and maybe even watching a movie or TV show with the family. Have you thought about what kind of rules you are going to implement when the tween gets the phone? What times it would be off limits?
2. Is your child responsible? You know if your child can handle the responsibility of a phone. Some kids just take care of their things more than others. Do you want to spend all the energy yelling about them taking care of their phone when you know they aren’t really ready? Make sure your child realizes it’s a big responsibility.
3. Will your child be able to afford a phone? I think having them pay for at least part of the monthly bills and phone is a great lesson in money, budgeting, and responsibility. Many tweens have odd jobs they can do for friends and family to earn a little cash. I recently just had a mother’s helper at the house for a few hours this week to help me out and that’s a great for them to earn a little extra money for the summer. When my husband broke his ankle and had to have surgery I employed a boy from the neighborhood to pick up our dog poop. That was one chore I was not going to do. (My kids were just toddlers so I couldn’t put them on the job.) I paid him $5 a week and it was well worth it. 🙂
4. Will your child follow your rules with the the phone? If you tell them not to take it out in class, are they going to get in trouble for texting during a lecture. You don’t want to set your child up to fail. You know your kids personality and if they will push their limits.
If you decide that your child is ready for a phone, a great option is a Walmart Family Mobile plan. It’s a great price that a tween or teen should be able to manage the $29.88/month (for the first line) Unlimited Talk, Text & Data service plan which includes up to 1G of 4G LTE data. The Samsung Grand Prime is a great phone at a very reasonable price. You just grab your phone from the Walmart Family Mobile display and add purchase the starter kit with it. They will provide you with your new phone and even activate it for you before you leave.
Good luck in making a tough decision for your family. It’s hard to take it away, once they receive it. What are your thoughts? When are you getting your child a phone? Or are you?
Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change.