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  • fatlittlepig
    replied
    Originally posted by MaxPower View Post

    We just went through this with our oldest daughter, who is 15 now but was 14 at the time we got her the phone. We thought it was important for her to have a way to reach us when she needed to, but didn’t want her to have unfettered access to social media and the internet. There are lots of studies that highlight the damaging effects to mental health of early social media access, but as has been brought up in this thread, so much of the current social environment as a teenager is done via text that they would miss out on without a phone.

    The “dumb phones”, such as the old flip phones, are about the only option available that come pre-configured to not have social media or internet, but the method of texting is so cumbersome that it makes that choice less than ideal. We actually settled on a phone from a company called Pinwheel. It’s a Samsung Galaxy phone, so has all the functionality of a smart phone for things like texting or taking pictures, but is controlled by Pinwheel to only allow contacts and a very limited selection of apps that have to be approved by parents. The apps are productivity or school related apps, so she can still do what she needs on there, but there’s no TikTok or Instagram or Snapchat. There is also a parent portal where you can log in and see their location as well as every sent or received text. You can also set modes so certain functions are only available at certain times of day. It’s about $15-20 a month for the Pinwheel service, plus the cost of whatever mobile plan you choose. We chose Mint with the lowest data since she only really needs that to send pictures via text or use the apps when she isn’t on wifi, plus they didn’t have an unlimited talk/text option without data. So that’s another ~$15 a month. There was also a Gabphone (I believe), but we liked Pinwheel better. It has worked out pretty well for us so far.

    When she shows us she can be responsible with this for a couple of years, we will love her onto a real smartphone with rules like MPMD had laid out. We already have those in place as well.
    seems convoluted, why not just tell them they can't use facebook, snapchat etc.

    Leave a comment:


  • artemis
    replied
    MaxPower, Pinwheel like a fabulous option!

    Leave a comment:


  • Brains428
    replied
    I'm sure there are ways for kids to circumvent safety devices.

    Texting on an old school flip phone is easy with T9. I'm sure you can even find a flip phone with a decent camera.

    Leave a comment:


  • MaxPower
    replied
    Originally posted by Lordosis View Post

    I am surprised there is not a "kids" phone that is slaved to a parent model where you can control and view what is happening. Maybe this exists and I don't know about it. My kids will not be getting phones anytime soon.

    Maybe a Switch, but I might be more excited for that!
    We just went through this with our oldest daughter, who is 15 now but was 14 at the time we got her the phone. We thought it was important for her to have a way to reach us when she needed to, but didn’t want her to have unfettered access to social media and the internet. There are lots of studies that highlight the damaging effects to mental health of early social media access, but as has been brought up in this thread, so much of the current social environment as a teenager is done via text that they would miss out on without a phone.

    The “dumb phones”, such as the old flip phones, are about the only option available that come pre-configured to not have social media or internet, but the method of texting is so cumbersome that it makes that choice less than ideal. We actually settled on a phone from a company called Pinwheel. It’s a Samsung Galaxy phone, so has all the functionality of a smart phone for things like texting or taking pictures, but is controlled by Pinwheel to only allow contacts and a very limited selection of apps that have to be approved by parents. The apps are productivity or school related apps, so she can still do what she needs on there, but there’s no TikTok or Instagram or Snapchat. There is also a parent portal where you can log in and see their location as well as every sent or received text. You can also set modes so certain functions are only available at certain times of day. It’s about $15-20 a month for the Pinwheel service, plus the cost of whatever mobile plan you choose. We chose Mint with the lowest data since she only really needs that to send pictures via text or use the apps when she isn’t on wifi, plus they didn’t have an unlimited talk/text option without data. So that’s another ~$15 a month. There was also a Gabphone (I believe), but we liked Pinwheel better. It has worked out pretty well for us so far.

    When she shows us she can be responsible with this for a couple of years, we will love her onto a real smartphone with rules like MPMD had laid out. We already have those in place as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • Random1
    replied
    We had a rule as long as we could inforce it , no phones at dinner, no phones at family functions, and no phones at night. They would leave them down stairs.

    It always annoyed me going to a family function, some times not seeing relatives for months, and everyone, looking down at their phone , randomly scrolling through face book or instagram , just to avoid personal conversation.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tim
    replied
    Phone and text is typically not the problem.
    The internet data plans add access to the “information highway”. I find it curious when parents give their phone to kids to play games.
    No wonder the 8 to 12’s sit in a corner playing games alone at family gatherings.

    But then it wouldn’t be a smart phone. How smart is that? Not much competition for the bottom spot (or profits).

    What? No camera? No internet?

    Leave a comment:


  • MPMD
    replied
    Originally posted by VentAlarm View Post

    It’s astounding that everyone doesn’t follow the above rules with their children.
    i agree especially with bedroom/bathroom

    Leave a comment:


  • Random1
    replied
    But is only for emergencies …

    Leave a comment:


  • FIREshrink
    replied
    My daughter was 13.5 and in hindsight it was about 6-12 months too early.

    Leave a comment:


  • StarTrekDoc
    replied
    Originally posted by fatlittlepig View Post
    I recommend installing the Life360 app. It’s a game changer for tracking your kids in real time.
    A lot of drop offs after school activities so had at age 10 with Life360 installed. Entire extended family -3 generations- on life360. Age not the issue. Appropriate apps are the key for the that. A nintendo switch is no different than a smartphone

    Leave a comment:


  • VentAlarm
    replied
    Originally posted by MPMD View Post
    one of my old partners had a pretty good approach to this with his middle school aged kids who had phones:

    1. it's not your phone, it's my phone that you borrow during the day
    2. no phones in bedrooms or bathrooms (i think this one is absolutely critical)
    3. when you get home from school phone goes on charger in the foyer, if you want to check it go to the foyer
    4. mom or dad can look at the phone at any point
    5. if you don't like rules 1-4 you can avoid all of them by not having a phone at all

    honestly i think there is a tech solution coming on this. i don't really care if my kids text with their friends when they are old enough but it seems like having phones that could send only text (no pics or vid, no social media) would be a really good thing.
    It’s astounding that everyone doesn’t follow the above rules with their children.

    Leave a comment:


  • CordMcNally
    replied
    33.

    Leave a comment:


  • Max Power
    replied
    I did the smart watch that can only call parents for a bit (easy basic "tech" that works even around 5yrs and under)... particularly nice in relationship with parents shared custody. After that, around kindergarten or soon after, add the ipad type (basically become a YouTube machine) or a flip phone with data turned off (wifi only).

    I would say around 11years is smart phone age now (start of middle school). It is just like internet or video games or porn or anything... if you forbid it or filter it or demonize it, they just find it anyway and want it more (and resent you more). If you allow it but tell them the pitfalls, it works. Watch out for the in-game buys on the video games... make sure their phone is not simply hooked up to the mobile account!

    Leave a comment:


  • Hank
    replied
    Our school district has a recommended “wait ‘til 8” policy where they recommend no personal cell phones until 8th grade. I let my eldest know that I’d be more than happy to let him use a cell phone that his mom and dad own, supervise, and maintain once he earns First Class Scout rank in Boy Scouts or starts 8th grade, subject to maintaining a 3.0+ (unweighted) GPA. No turning off GPS location (Find My) or he loses the phone for a half
    tear or more.

    I think there’s a pretty good use case for a Tracphone, Jitterbug, or one of those geolocation wrist watches for kindergartners that only let you call mom and dad but give up your current location to mom and dad. It’s kind of like the car offer that I made to my son:

    ”Once you get your driver’s license you can have the Prius. There’s enough space that you could get laid in it, but it’s a Prius, so you won’t.”

    Leave a comment:


  • xraygoggles
    replied
    You cannot seriously expect an adolescent in 2020s to grow and mature in their most formative years - socially, emotionally - without a phone. So that would be a reasonable time to have a smartphone.

    Otherwise, it would be analogous to putting someone in jail in solitary confinement.

    Leave a comment:

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