Teen cellphone plans

Avatar for arwen12
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2003
Teen cellphone plans
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 10:40am
My 14.6 yo DD has been pestering me for a cellphone for months now.

I always told her no before because what did she need the thing for?

But, so far this year she has been in a couple of situations where she could have used a cellphone so I think the time is right.

But, I'm thinking this should be earned.

This is what I am proposing for her.

If she is involved 6 weeks over the summer in a constructive activity few days/week, few hours/day.

Then, she earns the cellphone but with the prepaid minutes plan before the start of the school year.

She is responsible for her buying her own prepaid minutes.

But she can earn full cost of minutes from me every time she gets on the honor roll, or 50% of minutes cost for involvement in extra curricular activities.

She can also earn extra $$ for extra 'big' chores which she can put to minutes.

What kind of cellphone plans do you have for your kids? What age did they get their cellphones?

Just looking for other ideas... thought this would be an interestin

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 11:16am
Well, I just have one cell phone and by default, my ds has it all of the time. I figure I'll get it back when he's in camp for 6 weeks. Of course he claims that it's his and he has more numbers stored in there than I do. I just can't afford 2 phones right now. Maybe when he gets a job, he can get his own.
Avatar for luanne115481
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 12:17pm
My 14 yo is asking for a cell phone for her birthday this summer. Our first thought is "why?" since she hardly ever uses the phone at home. So far she's carried a pre-paid phone card with her if she needs to call home and so far that's worked okay.

A friend of mine suggested a pre-paid cell phone if we were serious about getting her one. That way there are no surprises with the bill, the kid has to learn to budget their time, and if anything happens to the phone (lost or stolen) it's no big loss. I did a quick search on-line and there are several options available. It sounds like a good beginning for someone with a cell phone. Also, I have an option to add more users to my plan for an additional $15/month. So we might do that when we eventually get her a cell phone. We've told her that when she starts driving she will definitely get one.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 2:12pm
I'd say go with the prepaid minutes or one of the low cost plans (I think maybe the company that used to be Voicestream has one that's 19 dollars a month and you don't really get enough minutes to waste on chatter but it's good for an emergency).

As a side note I wish cellphones had been more readily available when I was a teenager! When I was 16 I went to homecoming with my 17 year old boyfriend. And he had decided this would be a good night to break up with me but somehow in his rationale he didn't want me "causing a scene in public"...so he drove me to the middle of NOWHERE to break up with me and then he LEFT me there. So I wound up walking what felt like miles in my high heels scared to death someone was going to pick me up while I tried to find a pay phone.

I say they're good for potential emergency situations and checking in with the family, but ground rules need to be put down. I think it can certainly be helpful for a teenager who's driving on their own (i.e. post learner's permit) to have one...just *please* tell them not to talk and drive! There's nothing worse than being stuck somewhere with a smoking car.

I was determined never to get a cell, but when my car broke down halfway through my two hour commute home from work and I wound up standing in the rain for an hour trying to flag down some help I realized the things do actually have some value.

If nothing else I'd say get her a low cost plan for protection's sake.

Avatar for mjaye2002
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 2:20pm
My 16ds got his the same time he got his driver's license. I pay for the plan, but if he goes over his minutes, he has to pick up the rest. We live in a small town, his gf lives in another small town nearby, and then he works in a larger town (small city?) also nearby, so he is on the road constantly. For me, it is a small price to pay for piece of mind. If he has any kind of trouble, I know he can call. Plus I can get in touch with him whenever I need reassurance that he is fine! :)

My 12ds wants a cell also. I told him he gets his whenever HE starts driving, and not a moment before!

One of these days, I'll get *me* one!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-20-2003
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 7:30pm
My husband and I have a T-mobile "family plan" - we got the 2 phones for free and our payments were $70 per month - that's unlimited mobile to mobile, unlimited weekends and evenings and I *think* something like 800 minutes during the week days. We talk all the time to each other and NEVER go over. My son wanted his own so we let him buy his own phone and we added him on for only $10 a month and he gets in on the same plan. We've had our 3 phones for about 4 or 5 months and he doesn't go over. So for $80 per month we get pretty much what has amounted to unlimited calling. He goes to school at a school in a city near here, sometimes he takes mass transit home, sometimes we pick him up and other times he catches rides. We felt he needed one in case he got stranded and also his baseball practices never end when they say they will so now he can just call me when it's time instead of me sitting there waiting.
Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Wed, 06-11-2003 - 10:08pm
I got 2 cell phones when dd17 was 15.5yo. We had had a few miscommunications about picking her up after nighttime activities that could have been eliminated if she and I had had cells, so I broke down and got them. There was a promotion with Sprint and Costco that made it pretty affordable.

I kept the "spare" phone and charger in my bedroom for a long time, and gave it to her when she needed to stay after school or was going out at night etc. I collected it when she got home to control her talking on it late at night or whatever. Eventually (around her 17th bday) I let her keep it in her room and she takes it with her everywhere now. She is responsible for paying for any overtime minutes, she has gone over only once. She has no excuse to not check in anymore! Now I only wish it had GPS on it and then I could tell WHERE she is when she checks in!!!

I researched the prepaid phone plans in my area (SoCal). The plans available require you to purchase more minutes every 45-60 days or else your phone will be deactivated, and the cards with few minutes were pretty expensive per minute.

I technically own the phone and I pay the basic monthly bill, which is okay because I get a lot of peace of mind from her carrying it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 3:28pm
We also did the T-mobil family plan, the one that hockeymom mentioned without the success she has had.

We purchased the plan July 2002 for a year. Everything was working relativly okay until my teen started using text messessing. They will only allow the premayment of 500 texts after that it has been .05 ea. Doesn't sound like much until our kids started using it all of the time. It has not been uncommon to have our bill $400-500 per mo. I am currently looking at finding a better plan. I also have told my kids that they have to pay the difference after the regular plan. Needless to say they are in debt for these bills. I would like to take it away but I like being able to find them also. When I tell them not to call anyone else becvause they are over they tell me that I just dont understand.

I will look into the prepayment type of plans mentioned here. Cell phones both have good abd bad associated with them. Good for the parents but bad for them as well. Bad in the way of not having control over the amount of the bills and bad in allowing the kids to lead a secret life. Most of all of the calls the kids get come on the cell. The text messaging is like a seceret code or something. Not really I just not do it myself so I can't understand the draw they have with it. They don't understand my addiction with this darn computer either. Cell phones nowadays seems like somthing our kids feel that they are entitled to, like eating.

If you find a great plan let me know, Shelly