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 â€“ with her little tween friends all bandying about new phones they’ve been recently awarded â€“ 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 â€“ who is constantly leaving his phone in restaurants â€“ 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 â€“ at least for one child — is done.