17 answers

Cell Phone for 12 Year Old

Hi Mamas,
My son is 12. He has had a TracPhone for about at year and a half. I chose this particular phone because if he loses it, I won't be out much money and I have no contract. I think he's ready for an upgrade. I don't want him texting. I don't want him going online with the phone. He'd like to be able to take pictures and play games with the phone. I have just started looking online for phones. All of them seem to have texting & online capabilities & other stuff that he won't be using. I was thinking that perhaps I could buy a phone and just not hook-up/connect the online service--if this is even possible. The phone is primarily for me and his dad to contact him & vice versa and for emergencies. I think kids grow up way too fast nowadays. Furthermore, just because something (technology included) is available--that doesn't mean that people should buy it (both kids and adults.) Perhaps I am old-fahsioned. Can anyone suggest a phone, or advise me on this?

1 mom found this helpful

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Hi - I can't help you with the phone but I thought I would share what my in-laws have done with their kids (my nieces & nephews). A phone is a privilege and along with it comes additional responsibilities such as chores. They also had to sign a contract with their parents that outlined the responsibilities, the rules of the phone and the consequences if the rules are broken. Everyone signs and then when disputes came up, the contract was pulled out. This helped end the arguments. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

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Hi - I can't help you with the phone but I thought I would share what my in-laws have done with their kids (my nieces & nephews). A phone is a privilege and along with it comes additional responsibilities such as chores. They also had to sign a contract with their parents that outlined the responsibilities, the rules of the phone and the consequences if the rules are broken. Everyone signs and then when disputes came up, the contract was pulled out. This helped end the arguments. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

Y P,
If the phone is just for emergencies, or for you to talk to him, tell him not to give the # out to friends. Thats what we did with our daughter. If he does give it out, then the wireless companies will bill you for any incoming text messages even if you blocked the texting on the phone. I didn't want our kids to be having all these secretive conversations with their friends and then diappear, and we have no idea about what happened.
We also have a current list of their friends and what their phone #'s are just in case we can't get them to answer their phone. Anyway, we got our son a phone that was free with a two year contract, so that if anything happened it would not be expensive, and he tended to loose things a lot. So far he has had the phone for 3 years, and had no mishaps. At+T offers plans to cover things as a warranty. Best Buy offers there own plans as warranties that seems better than the AT+T plans, so that is the one we went with. Most companies don't cover water damage, carrying a phone in your pocket, or leaving it the bathroom while you shower both cause water damage. We have found out both the hard way.
W. M.

1 mom found this helpful

we got our daughter the Juke from Verizon. That was the phone she chose and it was inexpensive. It's mainly used as a music player, but it takes pictures. I'm not sure if you can play games on it, but you cannot text or receive texts, I think. Didn't know that at the time, but she doesn't text anyway although I wish I could send her a text sometimes. She is 13 and will be going to HS in the Fall and so far hasn't asked for a new phone that texts YET. We'll see what happens when she becomes an official high schooler.

1 mom found this helpful

my daughter uses text.. but the camera is dangerous.. no camera for real and keep tabs on texts .. this age is fragile.

why does everyone full with track phones that minutes aren't flat rate? like in my area no contract phones that work great accross most major cities are cricket or boost mobile .. choose your plan, and features.
my daughter is grounded at the moment from her phone, but i don't like her not having it as walks to the bus stop at 6 am is dark outside and no adults around and u never know.. i rather her have her phone and i she can reach out for help and be tracked.. the money is worth her safety and i control the features and my child is mature enough for that, but maybe not a good idea for everyone.

1 mom found this helpful

good for you for holding out. i swear my daughter won't have a cellphone until she can pay for it herself.

get him a prepaid phone, and give him a certain number of minutes and if he uses them up through texting, etc. then they're gone until you decide to refill them. if you have a home phone then he will be encouraged to use that to talk his friends instead. cellphones are not necessarily safe either, so as little chatting on them the better. a prepaid will enable him to use it when he needs to (i think it's about ten cents a minute on t-mobile if you get $100 worth of minutes at a time)but not use it unnecessarily. and no monthly bill for you!

good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello Yp,
i am just getting around to read my daily mamasource.
I have a 12yr old. We tried to pay as you go phones. It
was not working- $ 10- 15 dollars at a time. I was forever
calling for minutes. I was against a real cell phone. my husband talked me into it. My son is at our ballpark almost everyday- for practices, now summer- baseball camps. We found that a phone was neccesary. We got him a phone from sprint( radio shack) 49.00 month.. the phone was free with a contract. So far so good. He is not allowed on the internet. Once that shows up on my bill. I told him we would take it away. I let him text- but also said - his dad and I are able to read them. And that we can obtain a copy from sprint. I have read some of of texts when he is not around. Everything is innocent. I trust him. Once he breaks that - I told him we will yank his phone. Now that he is in middle school lots of things are changing. I also have a son in college- I hope this helps a bit. Good Luck with phone shopping and getting thru teenage years.
LM

1 mom found this helpful

Hi YP,
If I were you, I would keep the Tracphone. If your main purpose is for emergency contact, it sounds like it's perfect. If he wants to take photos, maybe invest in an inexpensive digital camera. I hate to sound even more old fashioned than you but I CAN'T stand watching kids texting or playing games on these devices. I was in a sports store one evening and there was one teen texting on her phone. A little while later, a boy was playing a game on his gameboy or whatever it was, and these kids were like zombies. Following their parents through the store but not even paying attention. To be honest, it was kind of bizarre. There is no communication with the parent and they are in their own 'world'. Good luck with your decision!

p.s. One more thing to consider, let your kids know that their phone is available to be looked at and texts read. Teachers can confiscate them and read them. Parents should periodically check their kids phones. All too often, kids think this is all private but it's not. (unfortunately, some kids figure this out when they have not so appropriate pictures that they send and it gets posted on the internet)

1 mom found this helpful

My two teens have Tracfones that have photo and video capability. They also have texting, but no internet.

Like you, I want my kids to have their phones primarily for emergencies, but I do allow them to have a bit of social interraction on them as well. Tracfone offers a family plan, which I use for my phone as well. For $22.00 total a month, I get service for three phones (!!!). The primary phone (mine) gets 100 minutes a month, and each of my kids' phones get 50 minutes a month. Texting costs a half minute each, so they can't go crazy with it. By limiting the time available on the phone, I think it keeps my kids from being able to go overboard.

So, I recommend going to the Tracfone website and shopping their various phones. They have different models available at different times. Then, you can think about getting one of their basic monthly plans. Just be sure to buy a phone that comes with double minutes.

1 mom found this helpful

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