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Manage Your Child’s Cell Phone

August 13, 2012
Plain English Version

What is the right age for a child to have a cellphone? Most people say 11 years old. A study showed a majority of children have cellphones by 13 years of age.

Experts say do not give a child a smart phone. There are too many uses for a child to understand and too many ways to get into trouble.

Kajeet, Verizon and AT&T offer cellphone service for young people with easy parental controls. Parents can limit apps and sites, limit usage and track the location of the phone. These services may add $5 a month to your bill. If you need a password to make changes, be sure your child does not know it.

Android phones do not have built-in parent controls. Free apps like Android Parental Controls and others from security companies are available.

Prepaid phones are a good idea and are available from carriers and companies like Virgin Mobile or Metro PCS. Prepaid phones are lower cost and may have limited uses, which is a good thing.

Ways to control use include taking the phone out of the child’s room at night and putting the recharging cord in another room. A parenting expert said balance and moderation are important. “We have amazing technology. Part of the experience is turning it off.” This is one way to teach your child self-restraint.

The New York Times



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