As a Verizon #MoreChicago Lifestyle Blogger I’m a member of a pretty cool
team of influencers. I have received a Motorola Droid Turbo (with a line
of service) from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did
I promise positive feedback. All opinions are my own.
It’s no secret that I love all things technology. Technology helps me accomplish my daily work and keeps me connected to those I love. As our lives transition to a time of extra-curricular activities, impossible schedules and four of us in four different places, the importance of staying connected is at the forefront of my mind. After talking with fellow parents and my niece and nephews, the conversation has come up – When should a child get their first cell phone?
Inevitably, the conversation shifts back and forth between smart phone and flip phone. What kind of access do we give them to the internet? Even my six-year-old has asked for a smartphone! (I think he’s looking for a continual emoji producer really…) But still, the concerns are real and ones that must be considered for each family.
Here are a few things to consider when jumping into the world of kids + phones:
1. How responsible are they?
Do they frequently lose their homework? Miss assignments? Misplace their retainer? You might want to be careful handing over a couple hundred dollar device. An old boss’ daughter once had to have her phone replaced no less than five times the first year she had it. Consider the recipient. It also might help you determine if insurance is necessary.
2. What purpose does the phone serve?
Is the phone designed as a device outside of the home to connect with friends and family? Do you have schedules and pick-ups/drop-offs that need a phone to coordinate those times? Perhaps they are staying with a friend and you would feel safer if they had a lifeline to you. Each family’s reason for getting a phone for their child will be different, but must be considered in the larger scheme of things before purchase.
3. Discuss rules and expectations before handing over the phone.
Once you’ve decided that a phone is the next step, talk about your rules and expectations prior to handing over the phone. When are they allowed to use it? Do they have to do chores before they get it? Who is responsible for replacing it if it gets broken? These are all great things to hash out before your child begins use – you might even consider writing them down and signing a family cell phone contract so that expectations are clearly outlined. Verizon also has a variety of safeguards and control that you can use to help keep your child safe.
4. Consider your options
Once you’ve agreed that it might be time for a phone, which one do you buy? Many parents are a fan of the traditional “flip phone” or one without internet access. This limits use strictly to contact and enables families to stay connected. If you’re thinking of going the smartphone route, I highly recommend the Droid Turbo. Great battery life for those who might forget to charge regularly, sturdy case and glass and awesome camera for catching those important action shots.
If you have a younger child that could use the reassurance, but not the more expensive technology, you might consider the GizmoPal. Designed with younger kids in mind, this durable watch offers two contacts – mom and/or dad and another caregiver. With the push of a button, the child can reach them and communicate. The GizmoPal also coordinates with an app on the contact’s phone offering watch insight and GPS coordinates in the event that finding the child is necessary.
I recently had the opportunity to try out this watch with Charlie and he LOVED it! He quickly picked up on its use and it was extremely handy when we went to his little brother’s baseball games. Charlie was able to head to the park (about 50 feet away) where I could still visibly see him, but he used the phone to call me when he needed something or if I needed to reach him. Even better, purchase the GizmoPal now and receive a FREE $25 Toys R Us gift card!
When do you believe a child should have their first cell phone?