A Phone for a Kid

My daughter has been begging for a new cell phone. She left her treasured pink flip phone in the pocket of a pair of jeans about six months ago and it got washed. So she has been using an old phone from my drawer of cast-offs ever since. She has tolerated the situation admirably. She had been repeatedly warned about her poor laundry habits and she knew this beat up old phone was a life lesson. But recently – with her little tween friends all bandying about new phones they’ve been recently awarded – she has been feeling the pain of this scratched old dinosaur.

She told me a few days ago that all she wants for Christmas is a new phone and some candy.

Well, as it happens I have in a review phone from Kajeet. Kajeet is a phone service (It uses the Sprint network) that builds prepaid cell-phone plans just for kids: Parental controls are a given and don’t cost extra, a GPS service for tracking down (via the Internet) a lost phone or peripatetic pre-teen is an optional add-on. And this is a prepaid service so there are no 2-year contracts to sign. I was intrigued. My daughter was begging for a phone. I tasted synchronicity.

I offered up the phone, unopened and still in the box as a small focus group on the out of box experience. She was instantly enthralled with the bright packaging and cute phone. After we went online to add a little money to her account, she used up all the stickers that came in the box decorating this rather low-featured phone (no camera but there is Bluetooth). Then she used up most of the money I put on her account tricking it out with ring-tones, backgrounds, and photos to use to ID her incoming calls. (You can go online and turn off the ability to spend money this way is this gets out of control; a nice feature that I wish her brother’s Virgin Mobile plan offered.) Then she spent much of the evening marching around the house using the included ear bud to talk to her BFF.

I tried out the GPS service, which located her (through the GPS chip in the phone glued to her ear) as being right here at home. (This is a service her father – who is constantly leaving his phone in restaurants – needs more than she does.) It was pretty neat to see it track her down in just a few minutes. When she turns 13 and wants to ride off on her bike, I will willingly pay $9.95 a month for that service.

And then it was bed time. And promptly at 9:30, her phone ceased to work.

She was furious. But I was very pleased. This was my doing. From the Kajeet Web site, I used the simple time-management tool to set school hours and hours when she should be sleeping as no-phone times. No one can call or text her during those hours unless I give their phone number permission. I gave myself permission, of course, in case of emergencies. But her BFF was out.

There is a sweet pink Sanyo texting phone (shown) for sale at Kajeet.com and a monthly no-contract plan that offers unlimited texting and 150 minutes of talk time for $20 a month. (That plan is a special offer that ends on Nov. 10th so hurry if you like the sound of it.)

Now all I need is candy and my Christmas shopping – at least for one child — is done.

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3 thoughts on “A Phone for a Kid

  1. That sounds like a great phone! On one hand I find it disturbing to see teenagers and younger children walking around with a cell phone glued to their heads whole day long. (And here comes the awful sentence..:) when I was a tween…. (which was only like 15 years ago, and we were just called children in that time) I would beg and beg for a phone in my bedroom; a fixed line, not even my own number, but an extention. And of course I did not get it. I would see my friends at school and chat with them there.

    It seems ridiculous that children/tweens/or whatever you want to call them walk around with a phone whole day, not just contacting friends, but also mommies at the slightest trouble to come and help them out. It does not help children become independent people as they should.

    BUT….. now you are mentioning GPS service… hmmm. Maybe a great idea for Christmas. (Nice present for hubbie)

  2. What a wonderful discovery! This will be very handy!

  3. Some of those phones look pretty. I like how kajeet has great parental controls and offers things that kids want. It’s a very good balance.

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