Do you have any tweens living at home? Are you already dreading the word Cell Phone? My oldest son is nine and ever since last year he has been asking for a phone of his own. My husband and I are still debating if it is necessary for a nine year old to have a cell phone. There are many pros and cons about making this decision but naturally we have to considered all points in this conversation. Last week our friends over at Los Tween in partnership with AIO wireless hosted an informational workshop for parents in this same situation, check out some of the points that were laid out while at the workshop as well as some of AIO Wireless recommendations for your tweens.
Los Tweens Parenting in the Age of Technology
Check out some of the points below:
- Cell phones are an instrument of connection but also a symbol of separation
- They are a sign that tweens and teens aren’t spending 100% of their time around you
- It’s also a communication tool that connects them to the dangers of the world
- We often worry about:
- Tweens and teens racking up hundreds of dollars in charges
- text messages
- Being slammed with advertisements and inappropriate images
- Bullying & gossiping
- Being stalked
- Using a cell phone as a portal to social media
- Many of our fears can be managed and removed
- Finding a cell phone carrier that makes sense for you (SEE AIO WIRELESS TALKING POINTS)
- Creating a “testing phase” whereby you assess your child’s readiness for responsible cell phone
- This includes WHO they share their number with and when to talk
- Setting guidelines and following through on them
- Creating a daily time to talk about technology and its implications- positive & negative>
- Having an open-door communication policy – Firmly establish yourself as the central hub of information
AIO Wireless Recommendations
AIO Wireless recommends the ZTE Prelude $49 or the Samsung Galaxy Amp for $99 for startup phones that would not break the bank. AIO Wireless offers three simple plans, all plans include unlimited voice/text/4G LTE data plans which range from $40 to $70 per month, including fees and taxes. AIO Wireless also recommend the following apps to help keep us connected with our tweens:
- MamaBear (iOS 4 & Android) – This FREE app is great for keeping your child safe on all mediums. While it too has location services, MamaBear also has a feature that watches over your child’s Facebook feed and alerts you of any signs of bullying or harsh language.
- Sygic Family (Android) – Similar to the others, Sygic Family is a FREE app that keeps your family safe by allowing you to check where they are, however you can even check the battery levels of their smart phones.
- BullyBlock – (Apple iOS, Android – $0.99) – This app captures and block bullies that are causing you and your family harm. The Bully Block app allows users to covertly record verbal threats and harassment, block inappropriate texts and pictures (e.g. sexting), and utilize auto respond features. Bully Block blocks bullies that utilize private or unknown numbers to engage in cyberbullying. Bully Block also has instant reporting features that allow the user to email or text abusive behavior to parents, teachers, HR departments, and law enforcement. All audio, messages, and calls are stored on the phone SD card.
Disclosure: I attended a media only event. No monetary compensation was received. The opinion express above are part of the information shared at the event.