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Prepaid phones a great choice for younger kids

Posted In Technology Reviews - By Techtiplib on Thursday, April 25th, 2013 With No Comments »

Having a cell phone has become a rite of passage for today’s kids. If you decide your child is ready, both you and your kids can benefit. Just be careful to avoid being saddled with a big bill. No contract phone plans provide an easy solution by giving you full control over costs.

When should you get your kid a phone?

More parents are getting their kids phones these days than ever before. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 69 percent of kids aged 11 to 14 and 31 percent of kids 8 to 10 had their own cell phones. If you’re thinking these numbers are higher than they used to be, you’re right.

tech tips, technology reviews, mobilesFiguring out whether a kid is ready for his or her own phone, though, involves more than just the child’s age. WebMD stresses that parents should consider how mature their children are and how much responsibility the kids are able to take on. Consider past behavior to gauge whether kids will be able to handle new responsibility. Parents should also take into account whether their child needs, rather than simply wants, a phone. Children need phones, WebMD says, if they are traveling by themselves.

Phones as teaching tools

Having their own phones can teach children valuable lessons. They can learn to be more independent as they move about more on their own, with the phone providing a margin of safety. There’s the opportunity to learn to be responsible and take care of their valuable possessions. If parents teach their children good cell-phone etiquette, they can provide their kids with skills that will be valuable for years to come.

Advantages of no contract phone plans

No contract phone plans, also called prepaid phone plans, offer several advantages in addition to lower monthly bills. The phones that come with no-contract plans are usually much cheaper than the phones that come with conventional plans. Since kids are more likely than adults to lose, drop or other destroy their phones, buying a kid a phone that can be cheaply replaced can take some of the anxiety out of placing an electronic device in the hands of a child.

Consumer Reports points out another advantage in not having to commit to the typical two-year plan. What kids want in a phone will change rapidly. If you have a long contract, you could end up buying your child a new phone before the contract period is up, which would be very expensive. Prepaid phones, on the other hand, can cost as little as $10 to replace.

You also control the costs. You load up the phone with a certain amount of time, and that’s all the time that your kid will be able to use. If you have a contract phone, on the other hand, your child could go over the allotted minutes without knowing it until you receive the bill. A prepaid phone will save you from unpleasant billing surprises.

Overall lower cost

If instead of getting your kid a basic phone, you opt for a smart phone, you can save money in the long term by getting one of the increasingly popular prepaid plans. While only 18 percent of cell-phone customers used prepaid plans in 2004, The New York Times reports that Sprint estimates that number will rise to 30 percent in 2015. Smart phones will cost you more to buy at the outset, but the monthly savings will be substantial.

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