Taking Life One Day at a Time

Kids+Cell Phones= What is this world coming to?

on June 24, 2011

I’m going to apologize in advance on this post because it really just gets to me and I have no other way of describing it! I’m also going to say that I know things are circumstantial but quite honestly when it comes to kids and them having cell phones, there’s nothing circumstantial about it! Before I being, where do you stand in regards to children (and by children I mean under the age of 16) having cell phones?

Now before any of my readers start getting hostile or defensive since I don’t believe that children should actually have cell phones, I understand that if you’re more away from your child then present a cell phone has it’s purpose; perhaps they’re at a friend’s house and you’d prefer them to have their own cell phone, that’s also understandable. Maybe their at a sports practice/school activity/school function and you’ve left them “on your own” so to speak, a cell phone is again understandable to give them. Again, I’m verbally stating that I know circumstances call for a child to have technology on hand. BUT, if you literally buy a cell phone for you “child” (again the operative word being child-under the age of 16) a cell phone to use daily or for any reason even if at home, I think you’ve just made a serious mistake. First off, when I mean “have” as stated above, I mean you’ve bought to cell phone for your child for generic purposes and they are free to use it daily, whenever , and where ever. When the child is at home, I don’t see why they’d have the need to use their cell phone when I’m sure their free to use the land-line at their house. Yes, there are cases where there are no house lines or like most people now a days, the cell phones are their main lines. Why, all I ask is why? Why would you give a child their own cell phone? As is I have heard from parents who give their children (again, under the ages of 16) cell phones “oh, I just can’t seem to get him off his cell phone,” or “he’s texting more to his friends then doing homework/studying/having family dinner time,” or  “I don’t know what to do, he just can’t seem to get off his phone,” or my favorite one of all- “I don’t know why he’s doing bad in school;” and you notice the child too busy on his cell phone.

Easy answer to all of those parent comments…take the phone away from them! Or if your going to give them a phone of any kind have it’s rules and boundaries with it: after a certain time no usage, when with family don’t use it, etc. In case you’re wondering if I have any children of my own, the answer is no. Now before you say “oh well you don’t understand because you don’t have any kids,” I have to say that’s a bunch melodramatic crap! I didn’t get my phone until senior year in high school! Oh yeah, I was not categorized as being “hip” or “cool” throughout junior high or most of the early years in high school, but I’m glad my parents didn’t succumb to society’s dictation of giving kids phones. I can openly admit, even in front of my parents, that if I had to go back through the years I would more than welcome their methods in parenting especially that of “fitting in with the crowd.” I strongly dislike, with a passion, when some mother’s/father’s say “his friends were making fun of him at school because he had such an old iPod/cell phone.” Yeah, that’s great, that’s a VERY valid reason to give a child (under the age of 16) a cell phone! (That was sarcasm for those of you who don’t know how to pick up on it.)

If I’m wrong in any way then please someone tell me or give me some insight to this whole kids (under the age of 16) having cell phone, because I’ve already admitted to things being circumstantial but what more than what I mentioned above is there? I’d love opinions and insight on this one. My apologies for any offense or if I have insulted anyone in any way. Please don’t leave my blog and not come back! Maybe I’ll just blame it on working late today and continuing a long day with night classes…Well regardless of all have a goodnight/good day. Hope to talk to you soon and again my sincerest apologies to anyone I have offended/upset. I’ve taken the liberty of posting the article in relation to this post, below. It was on the front page of yahoo.

Yours truly,

A Young Adult

P.S. You’d save money too on NOT giving them cell phones…but hey that’s just me!

Cell phones give parents the reassurance and added security of being able to keep in touch with their kids when they can’t be together. Several are designed expressly for young children, from preschoolers to ‘tweens. Some even track your kid’s whereabouts via GPS. Finding the one that’s right for your child depends on how old, tech-savvy, and responsible they are and whether you want them to talk, text, play games, or web surf.

We narrowed the dozen or so choices down to 3 cool, kid-friendly mobile phones — 1 for grade school-aged kids, 1 for even younger tikes, and 1 that teens and tweens will love. All 3 parent-approved mobile solutions stand up to the frenetic scheduling and communication needs of today’s busy young families, and they’re tough enough to take a few bumps and bruises along the way. So, is your little one is ready to make the leap? Are you? Dial into the details below and decide from there.

Firefly flyPhone
Price: Starts at $79.99
Buy it: Multimedia blitz
This translucent small sapphire cell packs almost all the bells and whistles that fancy smartphones for adults do. Expect your kid to drool over its built-in games, embedded camera, full-sized multicolor screen, and 1 killer feature that no other kiddie phone has — an “electro-luminescent morphing keypad” (huh?) that automatically switches between game controller, MP3 or video controller, and number pad. Nice!

Perfect for tweens and teens Obviously, this flashy mini-handheld is for older kids, probably tweens and early teens. (Firefly also makes a talk- and text-only glowPhone, pictured in pink above, for the younger set.) Does your big kid have the technical know-how, fine motor skills, drive, and attention span to keep up with flyPhone’s hundreds of preloaded digital music and video files, wallpapers, and ringtones? If they do, they can even create their own media with the included flyKicks PC software. No matter what, they’ll certainly enjoy rocking this phone (ideally, within the boundaries you set for them). Leave the rest to Firefly’s strict parental controls.

Room to grow 
When your big talkers want more games and music (they will), head over to Firefly’s website to stock up on (and pay for) more. Still not enough? Pick up a microSD card for your pint-sized smartphone addict, to stash up to 500 songs and loads of videos.

Affordable data/talk/text plan, subpar calls Our favorite feature? Unlimited talk and text for a modest $65 per month on a content-filtered and secure nationwide network. Our least favorite feature? Call quality that CNET says passes as merely “acceptable.”

Bonus A quick start guide, USB cable for charging, stereo headset, and a flyKicks CD are included with the purchase of the coolest, highest-specced kid phone on the market.

Price: Starts at $50
Buy it: Just5

Easy for kids in preschool through grade school Just5‘s incredibly simple features, sturdy body, and long battery life make it a smart choice for younger children. Its big, bright, clearly numbered buttons are child’s play to read and dial, and its oversized screen is super-easy to read. The calculator look-alike also comes equipped with a speaking keypad, which instantly confirms the numbers your child presses in a clear, reassuring mommy voice.

Built-in emergency alert system The feature parents love most? Just5’s embedded (and free!) emergency alert system. Preset it with up to 5 emergency contact phone numbers your child might not remember, including school, grandparents, and babysitters, plus your home, work, and cell digits.

To call for help, all your knee-high dialer has to do is press and hold the big, bright red SOS button on the back for 4 seconds. Doing so sets off a loud siren alarm designed to attract attention and hopefully, help. (Be sure to talk to kids about the button in advance to minimize false alarms.)

Automatic calls and texts for help When activated, the SOS button also immediately sends a text message that reads, “Help me. I’m in an emergency,” to each of your child’s preprogrammed contact numbers, continuously calling them until a real, live person (not voicemail) answers. Persistent little bugger! When the emergency call goes through, the phone automatically switches into speaker phone mode, allowing your child to talk hands-free.

Just5’s extra loud (hearing aid-optimized) handset is also ideal for seniors. Why not get one for Grandpa and Grandma, too?

Bonus Holy affordability! Just5’s least expensive calling plan rings up at just $3.33 per month, but that only gets your child a handful of minutes, which is all he’ll need to make an emergency call when it counts. Unlimited text and talk costs only $40 per month.

Kajeet Kids Samsung Seek
Price: $249.00
Buy it: Kajeet Kids Samsung Seek

Flashy features tweens and teens want
Kajeet puts 7 candy-colored, no contract cell phones in teenyboppers’ text-happy hands — slide-out QWERTY keyboard smartphones, super skinny digital zoom camera phones, and sleek flip phones included. Our top pick for tweens and teens is Kajeet’s flashiest cell, the Kids Samsung Seek. The trendy touchscreen-keyboard hybrid catapults your Generation Z kid into the mobile social networking jungle with 1-touch access toFacebookTwitter, and MySpace.

(They probably already have social media accounts anywayYou decide if they’ll access to them from their Seek … or at all.)

Other features your kid will eat up: a 1.3 megapixel integrated camera, a crisp, 2.6″ full color display, a microSD card slot (for storing 32GB of Bieberlicious pics and songs), and, of course, hands-free Bluetooth capability (For brand new drivers? Please, no!).

And of course the Seek includes games, apps, ringtones, and instant messaging. Will your almost-adult equally adore Kajeet’s encrypted parental controls, complete with the authority (and top-secret passwords) to view and restrict their every download, voice mail, contact, call, text, photo, video, and anything else they say, see, or surf from their Seek (or other Kajeet phone)? Probably not, but you certainly will, smart mamas and papas.
GPS tracking For an extra $7.99 month (depending on your specific plan), you can count on Kajeet’s web-based GPS Phone Locator service to tell you the exact location of your kid’s phone — and presumably your kid, too. Parents can schedule up to 5 Kajeet location tip-off email notifications a day and track the phone’s whereabouts online 24/7.

Pay-as-you-go plans Kajeet’s least expensive plan starts at $4.99 a month, but it only buys 10 skimpy airtime minutes, barely enough for emergency calls, and not much more. Lucky for your chatterbox, additional voice minutes and texts ring up at only 10¢ each. The $24.99 a month package buys 300 airtime minutes, with unlimited texts and use of the GPS tracking service. Not bad.

Still, we think Kajeet’s $19.99 per month bundle packs the best value, dishing out 150 voice minutes a month and unlimited OMG!-littered text messages. $50 a month buys it all — unlimited talk, text, picture messages, and more. Want more prepaid options? Kajeet’s got you covered. Whatever you choose, it’s a good idea to stock up on Kajeet Prepaid Wireless Airtime Cards, just in case.

No surprise bills (or calls) Kajeet’s pricing plans and strict content controls give parents full reign over who can or can’t call or text their kid’s cell phone, and the days and times the phone can or can’t be used. Plus, Kajeet’s online parental tool kit lets you completely control your child’s Kajeet phone usage and costs, online or via email, day or night. Watch out, kids! Ever heard of time-out? Kajeet lets parents set time-out blocks for when the phone can and can’t be used.

No strings attached
 With zero activation or early termination fees, and no contracts, it’s no biggie to cancel your Kajeet cell phone service at any time, minus the pricy penalties. Contract-free flexibility is a lifesaver, and a money-saver, should your teen try any Kajeet cell and not want to keep it. As if!

Set cell phone ground rules
Before you put that bright, shiny new cell phone in kids’ excited paws, take a moment to explain your expectations. Describe when it’s appropriate to use and exactly what they’re allowed to do with it (talk, text, and the like). You probably won’t want them to share it with friends, forget it on the playground, or eat or drink when they’re using it. If they’re really young, they won’t know unless you spell it out for them.

School policies
Check with your child’s teachers to find out what the student cell phone policy is. Some schools have a zero tolerance policy for electronics of any kind on campus, in backpacks, and in lockers.

Whichever kiddie phone you entrust your little ones with (if you do), teach them how to properly use and store it. You might want to consider taking insurance out on it. Before you know it, they’ll be teaching you how to use your next smartphone. Good luck!

Post by Kim Lachance Shandrow on Tecca



One response to “Kids+Cell Phones= What is this world coming to?

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