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My eight year old has been
asking begging for a cell phone. I didn’t realize that she was the only kid on the planet that didn’t have one (according to her estimates). That led my husband and I to ask the question that every parent has to ask at some time or another: How old is “old enough” for a cell phone?
We were still trying to decide when we got stuck in traffic one day and worried that we wouldn’t make the bus stop. If she had a phone, we could text her and tell her to go to our neighbors house to wait for us. On the flip side, if her bus were to break down or something else happened, she’d be able to reach us to let us know.
We started to realize that a cell phone might not be such a bad idea (something that she’s been trying to convince us of all along). After doing a little research online, we realized that there were just two main questions parents should ask before taking that final step.
- Is my child responsible enough? – If your child is constantly losing or forgetting things, you may want to hold off on buying a phone until they 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 finding every crayon in the box broken? Phones are pretty tough these days but they can only take so much (and they’re expensive to replace)!
- Is my child 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, or even accidentally buying a car. We definitely didn’t want that happening to us, though a convertible might be nice!
After considering these things, we decided that since Ashling was both responsible and trustworthy, she was ready for a phone. Since we’d just gotten our tax refund, we had a little extra money to spend anyway. From her reaction, you would have thought she was getting a pet unicorn! She was beyond excited about her new phone and we were looking forward to the piece of mind it would give us.
Now that we’d decided to go for it, our next question was where to buy it. We headed to Walmart because I’d heard good things about their plans and wanted to check them out for myself. The phones were easily found in the “entertainment” section near computers and video games.
We looked into several plans and since the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS Plan was such a great deal, we signed up right away. For just $49.88 a month per line, it comes with 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 the free monthly movie was definitely a bonus! We’re planning to 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 more bonuses to Ashling having a phone of her own. Now she and grandma can talk and text whenever they want. They’re pretty close and grandma was very happy about this fringe benefit. We added her (and the rest of us) to Ashling’s 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 too! Hmmm…I guess it’s back to the conversation of how old is old enough (though I’m pretty sure four year olds don’t make the cut).