Deciding if and when to give your child or teenager a cell phone has become a major issue for many modern parents. While phones can be useful when it comes to coordinating transportation and activities, many parents are concerned about bullying, high phone bills,and possible predation. There are several factors to consider and it's a good idea to consider these, as well as your child's personality and your family's needs while making a decision.
Parents give their children phones for a range of reasons, including:
While these are valid reasons, many parents are hesitant to give their children phones of their own:
Child development experts don't always agree on a "right" age for a child or teenager to get his or her own phone. Maturity levels vary between children and some kids are more responsible than others. In addition, some parents feel it necessary to provide a child with a phone for the child's safety or because the phone makes it easier to manage scheduling issues.
it's important to consider your family's circumstances and needs when making your decision. While some experts believe that only high schoolers should be given their own phones, your family may have unique circumstances, such as a younger child who has special medical needs. You and your physician may decide that it is in that child's best interest to carry a phone so that he or she can reach out for help at any time.
Another consideration is whether your child should carry a standard cell phone or a smartphone. Standard phones allow your child to place and receive calls, and may also allow for checking on emails or web browsing. Smartphones, on the other hand, offer a greater level of connectivity through the use of mobile apps. Smartphones and smartphone plans often cost more than standard mobile phones and service plans due to the complexity of the phone as well as the use of wireless data.
Some parents prefer that their children only carry standard cell phones. The reasons are often complex but boil down to the following:
Still, many parents have no problem giving their children smartphones. In some cases, they simply give their children their old smartphones after they've purchased new models for themselves. This reduces the cost of smartphone ownership within the family. Often, these parents have other reasons for giving their children smartphones as well. child or teenager may use apps for public transportation, rideshare services, or connecting with school or work. In addition, some parents will use the video capabilities on a smartphone to regularly check in with teenagers to make sure that teenagers are where they say they are going to be.
Parents who decide to let their child have a phone have often found it useful to set ground rules for the use of the phone. These might limitations on how the child can use the phone, such as only being able to call parents and grandparents, limitations on "screen time" on smartphones, and allowing parents to regularly review texts, call lists, and activity on mobile apps.
Some parents opt to generally keep custody of their children's phones, only giving them to their children when the children are going to be away from their parents, such as when going to visit a friend or relative.
Choosing a Phone for Your Child
While some parents simply pass on their old phones to their kids, others prefer to choose and purchase phones specifically for their children. To some degree, your choice of phones will depend on the selection offered by your mobile phone provider. Here are some things to consider:
Choosing a Cellular Plan
Most carriers offer family cell phone plans that allow you to bundle multiple devices and phone numbers into one plan. As is often true with telecommunications products, you will likely have to do some research and crunch some numbers before you find the right plan for you and your family.
You'll want to consider the following:
To be able to stay in touch with your child during the day, there are options available. Verizon offers an item called the Gizmo Watch, which allows you to communicate with your children via two-way voice communication and text messaging. In addition, you can add up to 10 contacts on the watch so your child can reach siblings, neighbors, trusted friends, or relatives. The device also has GPS functionality so that you'll be able to keep track of your child. Similar devices are also available through other companies and can be purchased at places like Best Buy or through Amazon.
Cell phones are a big responsibility and carry with them some risks. However, many children (and teens) are able to use their phones responsibly. If you are having difficulty deciding about giving your child a phone, talk to friends and family members with children in the same age group and get their thoughts about the issue. You should also consider phone alternatives that will allow you to stay in touch with your kids.
After thousands of Verizon Wireless customers came to GetHuman in search of an answer to this problem (and many others), we decided it was time to publish instructions. So we put together When Is the Right Time to Give My Child a Phone? to try to help. It takes time to get through these steps according to other users, including time spent working through each step and contacting Verizon Wireless if necessary. Best of luck and please let us know if you successfully resolve your issue with guidance from this page.
GetHuman has been working for over 10 years on sourcing information about big organizations like Verizon Wireless in order to help customers resolve customer service issues faster. We started with contact information and fastest ways to reach a human at big companies. Particularly ones with slow or complicated IVR or phone menu systems. Or companies that have self-serve help forums instead of a customer service department. From there, we realized that consumers still needed more detailed help solving the most common problems, so we expanded to this set of guides, which grows every day. And if you spot any issues with our When Is the Right Time to Give My Child a Phone? guide, please let us know by sending us feedback. We want to be as helpful as possible. If you appreciated this guide, please share it with your favorite people. Our free information and tools is powered by you, the customer. The more people that use it, the better it gets.