I never thought I’d be the one to get a kid so young a cell phone. Ever. But it has happened. Over the weekend we bought our almost 11 year old daughter a cell phone.
No, she wasn’t begging for one. She never even asked. It just seemed necessary. She goes to camp, retreats, playdates, youth group, and homeschool classes where she may need to get ahold of us. With pay phones being hard to find and everyone else having a cell phone, she wouldn’t be able to reach us without borrowing someone else’s phone. If there is an emergency, I want her to be able to get ahold of me and vice versa without having to hunt for someone to borrow a phone.
I was talking to a friend at church yesterday and she told me the reasons she bought her daughter a cell phone. Her daughter is a popular babysitter and sometimes when she would go to babysit, the family wouldn’t have a house phone. They would obviously take their cell phones with them and she would be left with nothing. No way to get ahold of them in case of emergency or even a way to call 911. I strongly believe in still having a working home phone in case of emergencies, but that is a story for a different day. Cell phones won’t always work.
With that being said, we opted for a TracFone for our daughter. We went with the basic Alcatel 392G “The Big Easy Flip” Prepaid Phone With Double Minutes. I didn’t want her to have internet and all the apps on her phone. I also didn’t want to put her on our plan since it is only going to be used in emergencies or when she’s away from us.
We opted for this option because the minutes automatically double on that phone, so if you purchase 60 minutes, the phone will load 120 minutes. It also gives you 90 days to use up the minutes, where many other brands only gave you 30 days. The 60 minute, 90 day card we bought (which doubled to 120) was only $19.99. That works out to be about $7 a month for 3 months. Cheaper than adding her to our plan. There was no activation fees at all and if we decide to not purchase more minutes, that’s fine, too.
Before we gave it to her, we went over phone safety. We went over who to call in case of emergency. If there was a car wreck or other urgent emergency to call 911 before calling parents. If she can’t get ahold of us, to call Grandma. If someone was bleeding (minor), to call Uncle Chip for first aid instructions or to send him a photo. My brother is an EMT 🙂
This was not an easy decision, but I think it’s right for us for the time being. It was well worth it when I got her text last night saying they made it to the retreat and she was having fun. And another one saying she loved me. Oh and that she forgot her tooth brush 😉
What are your thoughts on kids and cell phones?