Thursday, October 08, 2009

When Do You Give a Kid a Cell Phone?

I'm reading: When Do You Give a Kid a Cell Phone?Tweet this!

I had the opportunity to review a Kajeet cell phone just over two years ago. At the time, I felt my nine-year-old son was a bit young for his own phone, but I thought it might make for an interesting experiment.

Now a strapping 11-year-old with a growing sense of independence and increasingly busy schedule, I think it's time to activate the phone for reals. I mentioned this to DH, who responded by asking if junior high kids typically have cell phones. And you thought I lived in a cave.

Yes, many (most or all if you ask my son) junior high students have cell phones.

If my boy is going to be at school after hours working on projects or going places with his friends (without me!) I want him to be able to reach me.

I need to spend time over at the Kajeet site to see what's changed, but a quick trip to my friend Stacey's blog, Tree, Root and Twig, indicates it operates much the way it did two years ago. That is, we can start the service and cancel at any time without messy contractual obligations. We can set time limits and budgets on phone calls and texting.

Actually, Stacey tweeted about the need to take the phone away from her text-obsessed teen daughter the other night, which motivated me to look into this. I think the downloadable games are more likely to be my son's downfall.

Though I'm not pleased about adding extra expenses to our budget (did I mention the free oil change I had where I was informed my car needed $600 of repairs? We had this confirmed by a second source which offered a *slightly* less expensive repair option. Sigh.), I think the time is right.

And when I say the time is right now, I mean I hope to be organized enough to get this going by Halloween because he's hoping to go trick-or-treating sans adult.*

*That makes me nervous, but I think we started going on our own by 4th grade back in the day.


Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig said...

Hey - thanks for the link love! :) What I also love about kajeet is that there are really no "surprises" when it comes to the bill - you prepay into your wallet or for your monthly plan, and when the money is gone (or the plan expires), that's it - the phone just doesn't work. That way, you don't get a $400 bill you weren't expecting. The only reason I took the phone away from my daughter for texting was because I felt she was abusing the privilege, not because I was worried about the money. At least that's one less thing on my plate. :)

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

I gave in last year (the boys were 12 and 11) because literally ALL their peers had one- we have a pay as you go plan with Virgin Mobile and the boys have to pay for unlimited text with their allowance.

So far so good!

ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

I'm sharing this post with my readers tomorrow but figured I'd chime in with my two cents too - my kids are quite young still, but we'll probably give them phones while they're still in elementary school. For one thing, both of us work full time, and I want my kids to be able to reach us or their grandparents whenever they need to. But prepaid will be the way to go, since I definitely don't want to run the risk of them running up a huge bill!