Choosing a Cellphone for Your Child

I want to get my son a cell phone, he's 9 and he will only use it if he spends the night away from home. I want to get him something that he can text on, no internet, and it doesn't matter if it has a camera. I can't decide between AT&T and Tracphone.

By hepme from Winona, TX

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June 10, 20110 found this helpful

I would get him Tracphone. I have Tracphone and love it because I don't use my phone too much. Its cheaper than AT&T so because he would only use it for when he spends the night away, I think it would be a good choice.

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June 10, 20110 found this helpful

Tracfone is cheaper, but If I had any children who were 9 years old I surely wouldn't buy them a cell phone. If he's staying at a friend's home wouldn't the parents let him use their land line phone to call home.

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June 10, 20110 found this helpful

I also vote for Tracfone. It is probably the only way you will truly have control over how he uses it. As little as you expect him to use it, you can get a phone for ten to twenty dollars, and add sixty minutes every 3 months for 19.99. And if you check the packages, many time they offer free double minutes for the life of the phone. So really, you get two hours of talk time every 3 months. My daughters and I have phones that I paid 20 dollars for; and they have cameras; the one I got my husband was ten, and has no camera.

If you don't have a cell of your own, carry his when he doesn't have it. It sure is nice to have in emergencies.

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June 11, 20110 found this helpful

One more thing with Tracfone, if you go to www dot retailmenot dot com, you can usually get coupon codes to get bonus minues when you add minutes.

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June 11, 20110 found this helpful

If you have a cell phone your provider may have a special program for family members on your account. Also, an option to buying a new phone is to buy a used phone on Craigslist. Just make sure you are getting a real phone. Ask for the make and model of the phone and ask if the current owner can tell you what version software the phone has. Verify the version with the manufacturer's website. You could also check to see if any relatives or friends have an old phone they will give or sell you.

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June 13, 20110 found this helpful

I guess I don't understand why a 9 year old needs a cell phone. Does he sleep over at friend's houses that much and I agree with another poster that if he needed to call home, he could use the land line where he's staying to do so. I have a 13 year old daughter and 11 year old son and neither have cell phones. There is no reason for them to have them yet, at least not that I can see so I don't feel like starting that extra expense. They are always supervised and phones are not allowed in school or at least not during the school day. Why does a 9 year old need to text? Maybe I'm behind the times but I don't text and never plan to. I use my cell for emergencies and convenience, never to chit chat on like some people.

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June 13, 20110 found this helpful

Why would a 9 year old need a cell phone when they go to a friends house:

The parents don't have a house phone & they leave the kids alone at home? They have a house phone & leave the kids home alone & the friend won't let your child use the phone to tell their parents they are alone, because they don't want them to go? Your child & the friend are left in the care of an older sibling who hogs the phone? Your child walks to & from that friend's house, which is only just down the street, but you want to be sure he can call you if something happens?

Other reasons a 9 year old might need a cell phone:

You drop them off for sports practice/swimming/gymnastics/ scouts/etc & it gets over early? They go on a school outing that runs late/ends early? They've been at an after-school program,etc & you need to let them know where you are in the crowded parking lot because it's pouring/freezing outside & you don't want to drag the baby out of the car? You let them look at the toy/electronic dept. in Walmart while you shop, and-you want them to call if there is a problem,or you leave them there with a teen sibling who walks off & leaves them alone, or you don't feel like walking all the way back there before you check out? (Don't knock me on this, I wouldn't leave most kids in the toy dept alone, but 2 of my boys were bigger than me by the time they were 9).You all go to Incredible Pizza & you want to be able to find them without spending an hour searching?You are one of these modern people that doesn't have a land line at home & you want your child to be able to call for help if they need it? Your child has to walk 1/2 mile to the bus stop & you can't drop them off because you work or have another sibling to get ready or something & you want them to be able to call you if need be?You go to someplace crowded(like a Fair or DisneyWorld) where there is a risk you could get separated? You go to visit family out of town for several weeks & your kids are homesick &want to talk to their friends, that's all I can think of right now, but could probably think of more if I took the time-and I could certainly think of a lot more reasons to have a cell phone for a 11-13 year old.

My oldest (now 28 & 25) didn't have cell phones until they had jobs & bought their own. And I don't think most kids need their own cell phone even when they are 13, that's just too young-unless they are a child that comes home to an empty house because their parents work,then I think they need one on them at all times. But we've experienced most of the above situations & decided we wanted our younger 2 to have a cell phone for emergencies. Four years ago (when they were 12 & 9) we bought a Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go phone, that was given to them on an "as needed" basis, but otherwise kept with me. Later we replaced it with a Trac Phone that I'm much happier with. We use it even more often now that the boys are older. My 16 yr old wants his own phone & we've explained to him that if he wants to get a job to pay for it, he can, but we aren't buying him one & there would still be rules to follow. My 13 yr old son wants one too, but for now he can use the emergency phone.

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Anonymous Flag
June 13, 20110 found this helpful

I also don't understand why a 9 year old needs a cell phone to spend the night at a friends house or even otherwise for that matter? No offense but, "Oh how in the world did I (or you) ever survive childhood without one?" In answer to your question though; Tracfone with prepaid minutes only. I finally had to break down in case my car breaks down because am an older geezer who is now disabled and Tracfone was the best deal.

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June 13, 20110 found this helpful

We have a cellphone for our kids (11 and 8) to use if they are home alone (rarely) or if we are going on an outing where they might be separated from us accidentally (like the zoo). We don't have a landline anymore, just cell phones. We got a $10 a month plan with our existing service (AT&T). It originally had a free phone that came with it but there seems to be no lack of outdated cell phones among friends and family that can be used instead (or instead of renewing the contract for another 2 years).

I also had a pay as you go phone with Sprint at one point. It was before we went all cellular and it worked out pretty well. I would just add minutes as I needed them. This might be a good option for your son, if this is only an occasional need. I think you can use pretty much any old phone (but for that specific carrier).

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