Today’s world is so different than the one we grew up in. My children have listed a cell phone on their Christmas and birthday wish lists since they were 7 years old! We told them they could get one once they had a job to pay for the phone and the monthly bill, but we recently changed our minds.
Just like having a quarter on you when we were teens so you could call home, I want my kids to be able to call home if they have an emergency. Dance practice often collides with softball practice and one child is left at practice while the other is picked up. They are starting to go to sleepovers. There are no pay phones anymore and many homes no longer have landlines.
My husband and I both agreed we should have a phone on hand that they could have with them in these situations – especially if they ended up in a situation where an adult making them feel uncomfortable is the only one with a phone.
There was also a selfish reason to look into getting the tweens their own phones. Their friends were often calling them and my phone was then tied up for 30 minutes or more. My phone is often what I use to look up recipes, listen to podcasts and do some social media work for freelancing. I don’t want it being tied up with, ‘What are you doing?‘ ‘Nothing. What are you doing?‘ ‘Nothing.’
I didn’t want to get them a smart phone for several reasons. The statistics are scary of what percentage of children has seen sexual images on the Internet. Plus, the temptation of sending or receiving photos is too much for a tween. I don’t want them to see things that are inappropriate for their age. Also, there are apps out there that are disguised as games, but allow users to secretly message people and share photos and information. I don’t want my children to have to navigate that world yet. The time will come, but when they are older.
What I really wanted was a simple phone that made calls and texts and that’s it. I didn’t even want the phone to have a camera if I could help it. I started looking and researching and over the course of several months, I never found anything that fit what I was looking for. I did realize pretty quickly that a phone without a camera wasn’t an option.
Then, a few weeks ago, I saw an ad for Twigby and looked at what they had to offer. It was exactly what I was looking for – I could get a plan that allowed my tween to call and text without data. They could take pictures with the phone but wouldn’t be able to send or receive photos in their texts. The plans and the phones are very affordable. The basic flip phones were $20 and the plan we choose was 200 minutes for $9 a month. It’s also a month-by-month service with no contract, so I can cancel a line at any time. It also has an overage protection where you are alerted before you go over your minutes and can decide to pay the difference to go up to the next plan or just use what you have left.
Twigby also has a 30-day guarantee.
Both our tweens have taken the new phones with them already to events and I felt so much better knowing they could contact me. They can check in and I can know exactly where they are. The coverage has been good for us. We also typed up a list of standards and rules for them to follow and made them sign it. We’re giving them a little bit of responsibility at a time. A flip phone with no data is like starting out at the shallow end of the pool. A smartphone with data is the deep end. They’ll get there someday, but thank goodness there’s now a way we can start teaching them in the shallow end!
Twigby is currently offering a $20 bonus if you sign up through someone who already has an account. Then, the savings can pass on to you, as you also get a $20 credit if someone signs up under your referral.
Sign up for Twigby (affiliate link) and get the $20 credit if you put in my name (Sarah Anne Carter) and account number (6245) when you check out at www.twigby.com.
Cell phone rules
- Cost of losing or breaking phone is $20.
- Phone access is from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (exception for events like sleepovers).
- No using phone during meals.
- No phones in bedroom.
- Permission can be asked to talk on phone in office with door open.
- Tell parents if anything inappropriate shows up on phone.
- Tell parents if number is not in phone.
- Parents put numbers in phone.
- Use the phone to keep parents informed.
- Use the phone to check in.
- You are responsible for keeping it charged.
- Always answer parents right away.
- Be polite.
- No inappropriate words, mean words or jokes.
- Parents have access at all times.
- Do not delete anything.
- Let parents know if you are alerted about going over minutes.
- Do not take photos of people without their permission.
- Only loan phone to friends for emergency calls.