Teens and phones. Should they get them? what should they have? How much data? So many questions! With so many options for phones I've put together a list of things to look out for.
Teens and phones - what phone and plan should I choose?
What sort of phone should I get them?
This depends on what your family prefers. Are you an iPhone family or an Android family? Unless your teen has a firm preference I usually find that it's best to go with the same as the rest of the family because it helps with any trouble shooting. We are firmly an iPhone family but they are pretty expensive so recently we got Zali a refurbished iPhone 7 from Boost. They are refurbished from upgraded iPhones (not repaired ones) and they sell for $299. As a bonus they also come with a $30 prepaid Boost SIM, a 12 month warranty and a 30 day satisfaction guarantee. includes unlimited calls and texts and 20GB of data. For a limited time, new customers can also be a bonus 14GB on the first 3 recharges (when the first recharge occurs before 30/03/2020 and remaining two recharges by the 31/05/2020). SIM users can also stream Apple Music data free.
Plan or Prepaid?
Choosing if they should be on a plan or prepaid is a family decision. There are pros and cons to both.
Pros are that they will always have credit, you can monitor their usage and you can often bundle the phones into a family plan, depending on your provider.
Cons are that plans can mean that teenagers can run up a high phone bill, often with zero warning to the parents. I found mine just ignoring the warning texts the provider was sending about data allowances, and often going way over.
Also - if they are older teens or young adults on their own plans they may find themselves locked into a contact anywhere between 12 and 36 months - even if their financial circumstances change. This can have an impact on their credit rating at a very early age. My teens are recently off the family plan and financially independent, but I've moved them to prepay for just that reason. It's best to teach them only to spend what they can actually afford.
The pros are that prepaid is fully controllable with how much you spend and that they cant go over their data. A lot of providers offer rollover data as well, which means that if they don't use all the data in one month, it can roll over to the next. It also means if they go out of the country (like my daughter did for 6 months recently) you're not paying a locked in phone plan while they are gone.
The biggest con is that they can run out of data or their prepaid expires and they cant contact you. So if you go for prepaid, make sure you check in regularly or add the recharge app to your phone as well so you can monitor it, because none of us wants a teen in trouble that can't contact help when they need it. You can also set it up as a regular payment with many providers so that you're not caught short.
Parental locks/ restrictions
If you are getting your teen a phone you may want to look into parental controls or restrictions so that they cant access sites or apps you don't want them to have. You may want your child to have a phone for emergencies but not have apps like instagram, snapchat or TikTok, or be able to access adult content. Check what's available for your phone.
Let us know if you have any other tips!