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I can’t believe I’ve been considering getting one of those prepaid plans for my tween for over a year now. I can remember sitting in his kindergarten orientation and completely tuning out the teacher who started talking about the school’s policy about students having phones. Yeah, right, I scoffed. My kid won’t have one until he’s in high school. Or maybe middle school, but we’d see.
But a while back, I realized he’d probably get a phone before he even left elementary school. Here’s what I considered when it came to my tween’s first phone:
2. Sometimes he’s home alone. A child only has to be 8 here to be left alone for short periods of time. While we didn’t start that quite that young, he has been staying home alone for a while now, at least for short periods of time. And without any phone, since we don’t have a home phone. He can use his tablet to send me a DM on twitter and it will pop right up on my phone. And he knows that if it’s a real emergency or anything he isn’t sure about, he can go to one of three designated neighbor’s houses(we check to be sure at least one is home before we leave him). But, I’d much rather he have the ability to actually call me.
3. He goes off places without me. He has running practice after school two days a week, which supposedly ends at 5:15 but really ends anywhere between 4:50-5:30. Since we live close to the school and I have to wait with my two younger boys in the car, we tend to err somewhere in the middle, which sometimes leaves him as the last kid standing.
It would be so much easier if he could just call or text me to tell me he’s done. No one likes to be the last one waiting. And my younger two would tell you that they don’t want to wait in the car for a long time, either. So this could be the happy medium.
4. I want him to always be able to contact me. When he’s not with me, he’s at school, or a practice with a coach we know, or at the house of a friend whose parents we know. But as he’s getting older, he might be with someone we don’t know as well. Or even when he’s with someone we do know well, they could invite someone else over. What if he wants to come home because he’s in a situation where he doesn’t feel comfortable? Maybe the kids get into a fight or are doing something he really doesn’t want to be doing. If he already doesn’t feel comfortable, he probably won’t feel comfortable asking to call me. But he could discreetly send me a “Come get me NOW” text if he had his own phone.
So, after considering all of that, we decided to get him a phone. You can see his big grin up there when he got his T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy Avant phone from Walmart.
It’s just $40 a month to get 4G LTE data with unlimited talk and text. Introducing Simply Prepaid™ from T-Mobile, which is changing prepaid. When you think of prepaid, you might think of slow data, a spotty network, and second rate phones, but with Simply Prepaid™ you get 4G LTE data on T-Mobile. And the Samsung Galaxy Avant was more than enough to impress even my tween. There’s no overages, credit check, or annual service contract required. I really like the no overages part. Even though this is for my child, I still don’t want him to settle for second-rate prepaid wireless, and with Simply Prepaid™ , he’s not. After all, if he has the phone, I want him to be able to use it.
There are different payment options and we’re choosing to go with a T-Mobile prepaid plans card, which we can pick up at Walmart. This way, we really can take it month by month and see how it goes with our tween having a phone! Our tween who now has to pay for half of that $40 a month!
So far our only rules for the phone are: pay for half your bill, take care of the phone, don’t put ANYTHING on your phone without asking a parent first(apps, another person’s phone number- you have to ask), no giving out your number unless we say you can, and to follow all the online safety/kindness rules we’ve previously discussed.
Does your child have a phone? What age were they when they got one? If they don’t yet, what age do you think is appropriate? What rules do you think we should add about using the phone?