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How old should children be before they get their first cell phone? This is the question that my hubby and I have been asking ourselves lately. While our eight year old has been
asking begging for a cell phone lately, we just didn’t know if she was old enough. However, one day we found ourselves running errands and got stuck in traffic on the way home. We were worried about making it back to the bus stop in time, and while we did, it led to a conversation about finally buying her a cell phone for safety reasons. If we’d had to call a neighbor to pick her up from the bus stop, we could have texted her to let her know ahead of time. In a reverse situation, if her bus broke down or she missed the bus entirely, she could call one of us to let us know. Even a simple situation like forgetting her lunchbox could be resolved with a quick text.
We started to realize that maybe getting her a cell phone wasn’t such a bad idea after all, something that she’s been trying to convince us of all along! I think there are two important factors to consider before buying your child a phone.
- Are they responsible? – If your child is constantly losing or forgetting things, you may want to hold off on buying a phone until they start to show a little more responsibility. The same logic holds true if your child is always breaking things. Are you constantly having to repair toys or are all the crayons in the box broken? Phones are pretty tough these days but they can only take so much!
- Are they trustworthy? – Can you trust your child to only use the apps you’ve approved? I know there are ways to monitor these things but it’s impossible to look over their shoulder 24/7. Also, can you trust your child not to spend money online without your permission? I’ve heard nightmare stories about kids racking up huge bills playing games online…you certainly don’t want that happening to you.
After considering these things, we decided that yes, we’d get her a phone. It works out well because we just got our tax refund and have some extra money to spend. From her reaction, you would have thought she was getting a pet unicorn! She was super excited about her new phone and we were looking forward to the piece of mind it would give us.
Now that we had decided to go for it, our next question was where to buy it. We decided to head to Walmart because I’d heard good things about their plans and wanted to check them out for myself. I easily found the phones in the “entertainment” section near computers and video games.
We looked into several plans and the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS Plan was such a great deal that we didn’t hesitate to sign up. For just $49.88 a month per line, you get unlimited talk, text, data, 10GB of 4G LTE AND a free movie rental on VUDU, valued at $7 (yes, every month)! The fact that you get so much extra data at a value with 10GB of 4G LTE is huge and a free movie each month on top of that is definitely a nice bonus! We’re planning some travel over spring break and Ashling can use her tablet to watch the free movie while Keira uses the portable DVD player to rewatch the same Disney movie over and over! Happy kids = happy parents!
Next step…picking out a phone. Since I love my own Galaxy so much, I “guided” her (as parents do) towards the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime. I figured it would be easier for me to teach her how to use it since I already knew the ins and outs. It’s a great starter phone and also a really amazing deal at the rollback price of $79.92 (originally $99.92). Once we added the starter kit for $25, we were good to go. While Ashling was on cloud nine, I was pretty happy too because we were able to get both a good phone and a great plan for such a reasonable price!
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. Please refer to http://cbi.as/2-ovk or your local Walmart for current pricing.
We found there were some other added bonuses with Ashling having a phone of her own. Now she and grandma can talk and text whenever they wanted. They’re pretty close and grandma was super happy about this fringe benefit. We went ahead and added grandma (and the rest of us) to her favorites!
Another bonus? Now when we’re waiting somewhere like the doctor’s office, Ashling can keep herself entertained on her own phone instead of stealing mine! There’s only been one little drawback to this whole plan. Now that big sissy has a phone of her own, my four year old wants one of her own too! Hmmm…I guess it’s back to the conversation of how old is old enough (pretty sure four year olds don’t make the cut).