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?

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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.

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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

Dear YP

The track phone has been working.....keep that mode of communication. When he's old enough to have a part time job and pay for his own phone, he can chose what he wants. Some kids make better decisions when they are using their money and not mom and dad's.

Blessings.....

1 mom found this helpful

Hi YP, personally, I think 12 is too young for a cell phone, but since he already has one.....I am not sure what service you have, but most plans you can add a family member for $9.99 a month. They share your minutes. In most cases, you can get a phone for free. My son works for Parrott Cellular in Los Gatos, which is a AT&T store. We had discussed getting my nephew a phone for 8th grade graduation. I like the go phones. I think it is a good incentive for kids to do chores, good in school, etc...basically they would have to earn the minutes. As far as texting goes, I think most phones are capable of doing that, but you can put a block on it through the company. If you would like my son's name, let me know. He has helped alot of people. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with you about the whole technology thing. I don't think kids need to have all that available to them, it is just another distraction! That said, you should be able to buy ANY phone and block the text messaging service, and just don't add the internet capabilities, but he would still be able to use the camera. Usually the phones come with a couple of "demo" games, but if you want games, you have to pay for them, in my experience it has been anywhere from $4.99 - 12.99 depending on the game. and I think that you might have to have the internet access to get the games, not sure about that....Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

if you go with metropcs you can choose what type of phone to buy and what options you want in your plan for as little as 30 per month no surprises when the bill comes. Ive been with them for 2 years now.
good luck

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter has a metro phone, and I guess it depends on the kids personality. I trust my daughter with her phone, so far. She has to have a phone, because I work 10 hours a day and I leave before she goes to school and she leaves school before I get off from work. So far, she has been pretty trustworthy. It is used for emergencies and she calls me in the mornings, when she gets to school and on her way home, it has really made me feel alot easier about her walking home, with all the things going on today.

Updated

My daughter has a metro phone, and I guess it depends on the kids personality. I trust my daughter with her phone, so far. She has to have a phone, because I work 10 hours a day and I leave before she goes to school and she leaves school before I get off from work. So far, she has been pretty trustworthy. It is used for emergencies and she calls me in the mornings, when she gets to school and on her way home, it has really made me feel alot easier about her walking home, with all the things going on today.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter also started with a Tracphone at 11 or 12. The do have text capabilitiers too. She has been onour family plan for 2 yrs now. We let her have unlimited text but if I had to do again I think I wouldn't have done that because she doesnt want to talk anymore on the phone and they use acronyms for everything. I have many features blocked like the Web, Premium text messaging and downloads. Those games can get expensive. ,Maybe even just let him keep his ciurrent phone. How fast does he use his minutes now? We have Verizon and get service just about anywhere. I tell my daughter to always keep her phone on in case something happens so it can be tracked.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello!

My 11 yr old son and my 8 yr old son share a cell phone. Mainly the 11yr old uses the phone. We bought the phone so that both of them can call me anytime when they are at their Dad's house AND they check in with me when they get to school and after school on their way home. My husband and I decided to get them a Metro phone. We just bought the simpliest phone from Metro, unless you already have a Metro phone..no need to buy one..just activate the phone. The kids only have unlimited calls and text messaging. Nothing else. My son asked for Text messaging just so that he can check in with me when he's at his Dad's house. Hope this helps!

As a teacher, I advise against you getting a cell phone for your son. It caused huge problems at school.

If you must get him one, have the features that you do not want him to have blocked.

Just one person's opinion

Hi Mama,

Just to let you know, you can block internet and texting on any phone (well, I have ATT but I imagine all companies provide that feature).

Good luck!

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