Cell phones for kids

By Matt Williamson
Info Guru,

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child using cell phone
Choosing the right cell phone for your child can be tricky
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The debate among parents over cell phones for kids is almost as heated the debate between candidates over health care, Social Security, and the war in Iraq. Everyone has an opinion, and we the people must decide. Only you know what your child's needs are, what your needs and comfort levels are, and whether or not a cell phone is right for your child.

Felicia recently moved to Spokane, Washington. Shortly after the move, her eight-year-old son, Johnny, went for a walk and got lost. He didn't know how to find his way back home. Once he was located, Felicia decided that her son needed a cell phone with a GPS system so that she could find him if it ever happened again. But she was worried about the expense.

Parents concerned about giving their child a regular phone, with access to unlimited text messages and long calls to friends might be interested in some the of newest cell phones with child-friendly (and parent friendly!) features.

Firefly FlyPhone

This phone comes with parental controls that are protected by a PIN number. As a parent, you have the ability to limit the calls that your child makes and receives, along with limiting texting. It's a pay as you go phone, so you only pay for what your child uses.

Attractive features for your child include an electro-luminescent morphing keypad that automatically switches between game controller, camera, MP3 player and video player. The phone comes with built-in games and wallpaper. As with most cell phones, you can purchase additional music, games, and ringtones.

TicTalk Phone

This cell phone allows you to program when the phone can ring and when it can't ring. You are able to enter numbers with unlimited calling time and phone numbers that can be dialed only during certain hours. So if you want your child to only be able to call only you and no one else during school hours, you can program it that way.

One of the best features is that if your child plays the included Leap Frog games, he or she can earn reward minutes. You and/or your child can record personal ringtones, program a calendar, and place the daily chore list right on the phone. The phone also comes with a clip to hook to your child's backpack.

Verizon Migo

This phone comes with five speed-dial buttons on the front that you can program with the numbers you want, with one of those numbers designated for emergency calls. A question appears on the screen when your child pushes the button explaining what that button is for, for example, "call mom," or "grandma's house." It's not necessary to remember who the speed dial numbers belong to or even memorize a list of phone numbers. Your child will find easy access at the fingertips no matter where he or she is.

One of the nice features about this phone is that you are able to track your child in real time if he/she is carrying the phone. You can also set limits as to where your child is allowed to go; if the child leaves that area, you will receive a text message alert on your phone. This phone can only be purchased if you already have an existing Verizon account, and you must activate a Family Share account.

The debate over cell phones for kids will probably go on forever, but only you can decide what will give you peace of mind. What will make you and your child feel most secure, without breaking the family budget, is the right choice for you.

For Felicia, the debate is over, and her son has a cell phone.

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