Is it better to get a child a prepaid cell phone or add them to the family cell phone plan?
I would add them to the family plan, the reason being is so you can always reach your child. If your child runs out minutes you won't be able to find them.
Just make sure they understand your plan. You don't want them going over the messaging or talk time limits.
Nowadays, it depends on your current situation. If you have a plan that allows you to add someone on at your current rate which most plans allow you to add another user for talk only status for as little as $10/month. But newer lines added on may require you to move to a new price plan, like the one that Verizon just launched. Personally if you are looking for the cost in the long term to save you money I would suggest a prepaid mobile device. Boost has great plans, and so does Virgin Mobile. They both run on the Sprint network and are majority owned by Sprint but be aware they do not have the same coverage as Sprint, since the Sprint network includes roaming, and the MVNO(Mobile Virutal Network Operator) like Boost or Virgin do no have roaming agreements, so the service will not work in as many places as being a direct Sprint customer. So there are ups and down, but if you are looking for the absolute cheapest long term deal, check out Voyager Mobile, it is also a Sprint MVNO, but they have phones that range from $120 to $600, and they just have to price plan options which makes it really simple. One plan is $19, the other plan is $39, the difference is the higher plan has unlimited data. The only other option that comes close would be to sign up for service with a Wal-Mart branded service which at least in my area it runs about $45/month for everything. I do not work for any of the companies listed, I use a different provider, but I am not willing to give up my unlimited data plan, and I have one of those family plans were my addition lines are only $10.
Also be aware that you can ask and inquire about prepaid service through the major carriers. They do not offer it up front and its probably hard to find on there website, but all of them offer prepaid devices usually starting at around $50/month but you get a small selection of phones.
Hope this helps!
I wasn't aware of a lot of this information and have never heard of MVNOs before or the fact that a major carrier may have a prepaid service that isn't readily known about. There really is so much to choose from that it makes it difficult.
StraightTalk from Walmart is actually Verizon Service. You can get unlimited everything with StraightTalk for $45/month. Same plan with Verizon directly will run you around $100. PrePaid is much more affordable now, no need to watch the minutes.
In my humble opinion, it's better to get the on the family plan and start teaching them about being responsible about their bill. Prepaid plans always end up being more expensive.
I prefer adding kids to the family plan. For me, additional lines were $9.99 plus $5.99 if you want parental controls to restrict internet, data, minutes, etc. This will keep them from using too many minutes and you can get them to work and earn more time. Prepaid phones are $50. Too much money and too much freedom for a child.
It sounds like having some parental controls may be reason enough to choose the family plan over a prepaid cell phone, especially for younger children.
Wow, you are a mother by nature. I would imagine a prepaid would be better for a child, but you have swayed my argument. I would still provide them with some kind of disposable phone, they may lose it frequently. Great answer.
ktrapp- Parental controls do come in handy and they give you peace of mind. You won't have to worry about who your child is talking to and he can't sneak calls late at night. Plus he could access scary things on the Internet! *shudder*
I would say prepaid. Most children do not have a proper concept of the cost of using a cellphone. They do not think twice about calling a friend and talking for hours no matter where the friends lives or has gone to visit. Ask some of the parents who have received cellphones bills were their child has ran up bills of thousands of dollars. Prepaid cell phone run out when prepaid is gone. It is also an excellent way of teaching your child to budget their time and money.
If the prepaid limit is reached before the end of the month, kids will learn how to budget quickly and that's a valuable lesson to learn early. One drawback seems to be that then the parents can call their kid either.
that is true, I never thought about that. Guess it really depends on the age of the child and the reason for the cell phone.
Prepaid cell I think it's the best solution, just to make sure they learn to use it properly and not spending so much. the fact is that when you are a child or even a teenager you don't have the right notion of cost and phone calls with friends can last for hours. If they realize that eventually the money will run out, they will probably learn more quickly about having self-control and controlling costs. Once they learn that I would include them in the family plan, but not before.
Depends on how old they are. Children do not need cell phones at all- they should never be out of your sight! However, young adults now think they "need" a cell phone. There is no harm in it, but they do not need access to the internet, or an mp3 player on it, or any other thing. They need a phone to call YOU in an emergency, or maybe to let you know the movie they saw with their friends is over and you can pick them up. The biggest mistake I see is that once they get the phone, there are no limits on it. They can have it 24/7 and in the bedroom. A cell phone is a dangerous thing for a young adult. Until they are driving themselves places- they don't really need one. I vote prepaid.
I agree with ktrapp, keeping them prepaid will promote “responsible thinking.” Although it is advisable to provide them with a child friendly phone, one that does not connect to the internet. For sure, kids love talking with their friends and do some curious exploration in the web along with online social engagement and such features would be nothing but a cash drainer for moms. The essence of a child phone like the Just5 device is to provide a way to communicate with your kids and best serve its purpose for monitoring their whereabouts. A cell phone is also handy during emergency.
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