A new survey from the National Consumers League shows that more than half of parents of tweeners (children 8-12) have already provided them with cell phones. They buy them for their childrens’ safety, to track their after-school activities and because the child asked for one.
Other findings from the survey include:
- Only 4 percent of tweeners with cell phones got a basic phone with no Web or texting access. About half (48 percent) are provided with a basic cell phone with texting, another 20 percent get a basic non-smartphone with texting and Web access, and 27 percent get a smartphone.
- 82 percent of parents said that the price of the cell phone service was an important part of their decision. About nine in 10 parents (92 percent) say they have tweener cell phone costs of less than $75 per month.
- 81 percent of parents of tweeners put their child on a contract-based cell phone plan and 15 percent opted for a prepaid cell phone service. More than four out of five parents (84 percent) added their child to an existing family plan.
- Most important issues for parents selecting a cell phone for a tweener: total price of service (41 percent); quality of network (34 percent); cost of texting service (29 percent); and price of handset (29 percent).
- More than half of parents (52 percent) who think they are paying too much for their tweener’s cell phone would consider switching to unlimited cell phone service as a way to cut costs. Six in 10 parents of tweeners in households earning less than $50,000 are not “aware of lower cost, unlimited, prepaid phone plans that would allow your child to make unlimited calling and texting.”
For parents still thinking about buying their tweener a cell phone, NCL offers these eight tips:
Before beginning the shopping for a tween’s cell phone, parents should ask themselves some basic questions in order to set expectations:
- Why does your child need a cell phone?
- Will the phone be used primarily to stay in touch with parents and for emergency use? Or will your child be using the phone for entertainment or to communicate with friends?
- How much do you want to spend per month on service?
- How much do you want to spend on the initial purchase of the cell phone itself?
- Is your tween mature enough to keep their minutes, texting, and data use within plan limits?
- Is your tween mature enough to use the phone responsibly and avoid viewing or sending inappropriate content?
- What is your tween’s school’s policy on cell phones in school?
- Does your tween have a habit of losing things or can he or she handle the responsibility of caring for a phone?
- Most Tweeners – children 8-12 – now have cell phones
- Smaller carriers may provide better cell phone value to some
- New electronic gadgets on back-to-school shopping lists
- AT&T seeks old cell phones to aid soldiers
- One of four wireless subscriptions will be pre-paid by the end of 2011
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