Guide To Getting A Mobile For Your Child

The decision about whether and when to get your child a mobile phone is a tough one. Whilst it’s true that there are some distinct disadvantages to a child having his or her own mobile, there are some good sides too. The expense of bills that your child might run up, along with the danger of them giving contact information to strangers, or accessing inappropriate content over a phone’s internet connection are all considerations.

On the other hand, if your child has a mobile you can constantly contact them, and they can call you if there’s an emergency. Especially if your child is of the age when they can start to go out alone, walking to school or going over to friend’s houses, it might be a good idea for them to have a phone so that they can get hold of you. It is a very personal decision though. However, should you choose to get your child their own mobile, then there are some things that you should consider that can improve the process.

Pay Monthly Phone Deals…

Pay monthly phone deals tend not to be a great idea for kids. It’s easy for kids to lose track of how much they’re using their phone, and to end up with huge monthly bills (that you’ll be responsible for, since you’ll have to sign the contract in their name). There are a couple of exceptions though. Pay monthly phone deals can be fine for older, more responsible kids.

Another option is a family plan; many mobile service operators will let you add phonen s to your plan for cheaper prices. This means that not only do you benefit from the savings that you’ll get, but that you’ll also get a monthly bill with a breakdown of what your child is using his or her phone for, giving you a better idea of what he or she is doing. This really does depend on your provider, but it might be worth asking about family plans with your network.

Pay as You Go Plans…

Pay as you go plans tend to be the preferred option for parents who give their child a mobile. These plans are simple. You go to a mobile operator and buy a SIM card, which you then top up with credit. Your child uses his or her phone as he wishes until the credit runs out, at which point you’ll need to top the credit up again. This makes controlling spending easy, and you’re not going to get any surprising added charges on your monthly mobile phone bill.

There is one distinct disadvantage to a pay as you go plan; when the credit on the phone has run out, the phone will no longer be able to send text messages or make calls, although it will be able to call emergency services and to receive calls. That means that if your kid is out of credit, he or she won’t be able to get hold of you. If you’re giving your child a mobile so that they can contact you in an emergency, a pay as you go plan might not be quite the safety net that you’re looking for.

Parental Controls…

It’s definitely worth looking into the possibility of getting parental controls for your child’s mobile. There are two ways that this can work. Many modern mobile phones, particularly smart phones, will come with built in parental controls that will allow you to block certain kinds of web site, or certain phone numbers, for example.

These controls are not the default setting of the phone, however. You will have to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the model that you buy and then adjust the settings to meet your needs. Another possibility is doing this through your chosen mobile provider. Most mobile providers now offer parental controls on phone plans, though few offer them on pay as you go plans. You’ll need to ask your chosen provider what your options are, as all of these plans are opt in plans, rather than default plans.

The Kind of Phone…

The kind of phone that you’re going to get sort of depends on your child. For younger kids, a basic mobile will do fine, since it will text and make calls, which is all you need it to do. Older kids and teens are unlikely to be satisfied with basic models though. Smart phones might not be your ideal choice, but there are budget options available.

Huawei’s new Ascend W1, for example, retails at just around a hundred pounds. You don’t have to spend a fortune. Whilst you might not be comfortable with your child being able to access the internet from their phone, you can use parental controls to limit what they can find on the net. When it comes to phones in general, you’re looking for something robust and not too expensive.

Children will break phones, and they will also probably lose them. It’s just not worth spending a fortune on a phone for a child, especially if it’s a first phone. Look at good budget models. And consider buying used or refurbished mobiles to save some money.

Phone Insurance…

You also might want to consider insuring your child’s phone. This depends on how much you’ve invested in the phone, obviously. If you did decide to go with a more expensive model, then you can get mobile phone insurance for under five pounds a month. It might be worthwhile to get insurance, simply because warranties will only cover defects in the phone, and won’t cover you in case of accident or theft. The likelihood of something happening to your kid’s first phone is pretty high, so insurance might be a good bet.

Inform Them…

Finally, make sure your kids know what they’re getting into. They should have a good idea of how the finances behind phone service works, so they’re more likely to use their phones in a sensible way. And they should know about the dangers of passing along contact information to strangers and chatting to people that they don’t know on line. The more educated your child is about phone safety and online safety, the less likely they are to do something foolish.

Related posts

Leave a Comment