One of the most popular gifts for teens and kids this holiday season may have been their first smartphone. However, some parents struggle with deciding when to get their kids a smartphone. The answer to that question is not the same for all. However, I believe in this day and age that there are many benefits to kids having an easy means of communication at all times. Verizon Wireless agrees and has launched the Verizon Family Tech Initiative to ensure that kids and parents have a positive experience.
My kids have had smartphones for a few years now. Why? We are apart for several hours a day. Although I had been driving them to school, sometimes they had after-school activities. And my boys started walking to their Grandmother’s house after school. I wanted them to be able to get in touch with us if needed. They needed phones… for my peace of mind.
I also believe that schools need to relax their policies on kids and phones. In 2018, there are still several schools that do not want kids to have phones in school… at all. I get that they do want the kids to play with their phones during class. But, they should at least be able to have them in their bag.
There were a couple of instances when I needed to contact my boys to let them know that I was running late picking them up, so they should just walk to Grandma’s house. The policy was to call the school at 3:15 to notify them for the 3:30 dismissal. One day I called from 3:15 pm until 3:45 pm and no one answered the phone. I was livid! This is a school that had a policy of no phones on school grounds, so if the office did not answer there was no way to reach them. Needless to say, I was in the office the next day giving them a piece of my mind.
Not too long along, I met with representatives from Verizon, and Stephen Balkam, the founder and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI). We talked about family safety, how to keep your kids safe when browsing online, and tools to help.
But first, how do you know if your kids are ready for a smartphone?
5 Ways to Tell if Your Kids are Ready for a Smartphone
Before you decide to take the plunge and buy your kids a smartphone, you need to know if they are ready. You have to trust them to take care of the device. I mean, kids will be kids, but we have to help them gain more responsibility at some point. Are your kids responsible with their toys? Do they take care of them? Or does everything end up broken? Do they have a portable video game system that they keep in good shape? If they break everything they probably are not ready. LOL! But, if they do a good job, then consider the following questions:
- Do your kids attend after school activities at or away from their school?
- Do your kids take public transportation or a school bus to school?
- Do your kids walk to and from school?
- Are your kids old enough to attend sleepovers at friends’ homes?
- Are your kids old enough to go to parties or outings with friends?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it just might be time. In that event that your child needs you, you do not want them to have to ask to borrow a phone. They should have one available to reach you, or call 911.
Choosing the Right Family Plan
The good news is that you can usually get a great deal on a family plan, so adding a phone for your kid may not cost that much. Of course this depends on the phone, and the plan (I highly recommend unlimited). Verizon Wireless has great plans that fit the whole family. You can even mix and match, so if Grandma barely uses any data, you do not have to pay for the top of the line unlimited plan. Get her the Go Unlimited plan at $40/month. But, for your husband that streams Netflix constantly while he travels, choose the Beyond Unlimited plan which includes premium unlimited 4G LTE Data for $50/month. And for the person that often travels internationally and never puts their phone down, there’s the Above Unlimited plan at $60/month.
We recently moved our kids over to Verizon. My husband has been with them for years and has an awesome grandfathered plan which means we get awesome service at a great price. My boys are too tickled to have the latest and greatest, Google Pixel 3 phones. And I must say…. I am impressed with them too! However, my husband and I love our Galaxy Note 9s. And my girls are sporting Samsung Galaxy S9s. Yep, we are now an all Android family! After years of watching me with my Android phones, my hubby finally made the switch.
However, even if you are a die-hard iPhone user, you can still get a great deal and great service.
And, once you have chosen phones, it’s time to protect them.
Verizon Smart Family
There are many apps and tools available to keep your kids safe while using their smartphones. The Family Tech Initiative from Verizon Wireless is here to help you find out exactly what to do. Some of the concerns are managing screen time, blocking inappropriate data, and knowing who your kids are communicating with.
Verizon Smart Family allows you to track your kids, so you always know that they are where they should be. You can also limit what they see, which protects them from inappropriate content. Available as Verizon Smart Family and Verizon Smart Family Premium, you can have peace of mind for $4.99 – $9.99/month.
- Content Filtering
- Call, text and purchase limits
- Manage data targets
- Set Time Limits
And with Verizon Smart Family Premium, you can also view:
Intrigued? if you are a Verizon Wireless customer and have kids or teens on your account, you definitely need to protect their smartphones. Read more on the Verizon Family Tech Initiative website and sign up for Verizon Smart Family today.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Verizon Wireless. All opinions are my own.