Parenting & Family

Child Cell Phones

Deal Addict
Apr 13, 2005
1709 posts
1729 upvotes
Markham, ON
I didn't get a cell phone until I entered university at the age of 18.. This more than 20 years ago, when FIDO first launched in Toronto.

That being said, my oldest is turning 10 in a few months my wife an I talked about it.. We probably will be getting a cell phone and plan in grade 7.
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Deal Addict
Aug 21, 2010
1550 posts
778 upvotes
toronto
my son grade 7 as well..has the iphone se used wind mobile 15 dollars a month with data and unlimited calling
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Banned
Dec 14, 2019
6 posts
2 upvotes
Birmingham
I bought my son (12 years old) the cheapest Android and I am very happy. A phone, a player, a calculator, maps, a camera, the Internet, and just the skills of communicating with digital devices are needed not only for adults.
And yes, I have the time, knowledge and energy to monitor the child's use of the device.
Sr. Member
Apr 30, 2013
826 posts
498 upvotes
King City
Watch the social dilemna and reconsider your plan or current situation.

Pm me for a link to watch it.
Member
May 2, 2020
361 posts
606 upvotes
Toronto
Get your kid a regular up to date flip phone. If they want a fancy phone they can get a job when they hit the age and afford it themselves. Just make sure it has unlimited call/text.

You can give them an old phone with no data or little data, but it does not stop them from connecting to their school wifi and still being able to go through any one of the apps that they could download on a smartphone. Limit their exposure to social media is the key when growing up from what I have seen work best. If they need Social Media they can access it through their laptop which will not always be convenient for them. They need to focus on their education first and foremost, everything else is just white noise.
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Newbie
Jan 27, 2020
20 posts
16 upvotes
We told our oldest daughter she could have a cell phone when she was 16 and driving. No need otherwise. She saw her friends every day at school. Her friends could call her on my cell phone here at the house. She generally chatted with them with an app on her computer at home anyway. If she was out with friends.. I knew who they were and I had their cell numbers.. so I would just contact her friends if she was out if need be. That changed a bit when she got to high school and went to a different school than all her friends. Also her best friend moved away. Hubby signed up with zoomer and we ended up paying $6 less for the two phones than with his old plan. So for grade 8 grad we put her on with my hubby's zoomer account. She only has talk and text. If she wants data she can pay for it. She has no need for data. Only reason we thought she could use it was for google maps while driving, but since she can just download ahead of time.. no need for any data. She broke her first phone and my old spare phone that barely worked. We did end up upgrading through Zoomer this time for her, but next time she has to pay for her own. She also had to pay for her own phone case, which had to be an approved good case that would protect her phone.

TL:DR- Only bought daughter phone when she had a NEED for it and not to keep up with her friends.
Member
Feb 27, 2011
221 posts
219 upvotes
My wife and I both grew up in very conservative households, so we understand (all too well) the allure of "forbidden fruit". Now, obviously, everyone's kids are different, but with our boys we're taking the approach of gradual, controlled, exposure to things like social media (and cellphones), vs. setting up timelines and related rules, age-restrictions, etc. If I can drill into my sons' heads early on that the primary use of a cellphone is for 1) calling Mom & Dad, 2) sending silly WhatsApp messages to Grandma, and 3) for obtaining age-appropriate information, then I will consider our strategy more or less a success. That said, I'm not naïve enough to think they will NEVER misuse a phone or other device, especially as they get older. But I see that less as a technology or access issue, and more of a "general character-building" type discussion.

There's also the fact that, for a lot of kids with various learning disabilities, ICT helps level the playing field with their "typical" peers. So, again, it really boils down to the needs and situations for individual kids.

Logistics-wise, my sons share a hand-me-down (smart)phone with a $0 "By the Gig" plan from Shaw Mobile. No cellular data, but an actual phone number (for WhatsApp, etc.).
Deal Addict
Mar 10, 2010
1518 posts
510 upvotes
Philbert wrote: I had 5 iPhones of various models on Speakout and it worked fine for years, when suddenly all 5 phones starting having problems sending messages when they weren't on wifi with iMessage enabled. Frequently they wouldn't send sms, and when my son got stranded one day and couldn't text me, I switched all 5 to PM. It wasn't just my account, as I also set up my in-laws with Speakout on their own account, and they had same issue. Speakout said it was aware of the issue, but it was an Apple problem, and Apple never heard of Speakout. I wonder if the 4, 5 and 5s stopped being supported? It is by far the best deal for infrequent use, though. I would switch my kids to Shaw, but again their phones are too old for the Shaw system--they need at least a 7.
I think this speakout thread has the answer: https://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak/p ... one-users/.

Basically Apple decided that all iMessages must go through data unless you go digging and find the "send via SMS only" setting. I believe they changed the setting in a somewhat recent ios update, but not sure if I'm remembering correctly.
Deal Addict
Dec 20, 2009
1297 posts
472 upvotes
Clacker wrote: I think this speakout thread has the answer: https://www.speakoutwireless.ca/speak/p ... one-users/.

Basically Apple decided that all iMessages must go through data unless you go digging and find the "send via SMS only" setting. I believe they changed the setting in a somewhat recent ios update, but not sure if I'm remembering correctly.
If I recall, I changed that setting but then received a message that I needed to be on WiFi to send message. and then one phone worked and other didn’t. Speakout just wasn’t worth hassle for me.
Deal Expert
Jun 15, 2012
15493 posts
10158 upvotes
Southern Ontario
Gr8 or 9, when they're out more often that you need a contact method. Fido tablet plan $10/month. FaceTime audio to call them. My kid was using an iPhone 6 for a few years and still could but I recently upgraded it.

You can Screentime limit apps over data and restrict the same video streaming in Safari. Ultimately you need to teach them to limit themselves because apps like Snapchat etc will consume lots of data too and that can be a primary method they communicate to friends (I simply said avoid video on it or you won't have access over data if you can't control yourself). Review data usage on their phone, have discussions, reset usage so you can both see what's using up data month to month.

Watch the movie on Netflix about how social networks pit us against thousands of engineers and algorithms designed to addict people, kids or adults have no chance. So if you're giving your kids a personal device, you're also going to need to set Screentime time limits, auto shutoffs before bed. That's another transition like the data limits as you can't always helicopter them.
Newbie
Dec 23, 2006
41 posts
33 upvotes
My daughter is 9, turning 10 in Feb.

I gave her my old Umidigi F1 and got her a Public Mobile plan that is $23 a month.

She just uses it to text when she is about to walk home from school. She'll also occasionally text the Grandparents.

I can also track her which I will be doing until she's 18, lol.
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2013
3672 posts
1418 upvotes
Woodbridge
Based on my observations, which will be different depending on the community you live in, almost all Grade 8s have one, most Grade 7s have one, some Grade 6s have one, very few Grade 5s have one. Some have the best and latest Samsung/iPhone but the most popular choice seems to a hand-me-down from a parent or older sibling who upgraded their own device. I'd say that a small majority have either no data or are on a limited shared data plan with siblings.

Definitely speak to your kids about online safety and responsibility. One of the many concerns with social media is that it makes it very easy for kids to mess up really big, and they're kids, they'll mess up. I've personally had to help several Grade 7 and 8 students navigate their way through situations that they never should have been in. Two situations involved the police. One was of a sexual nature and one involved hate speech. It's so easy for parents to fall into the, "not my kids," trap. But all kids are kids, so unless you've found some way to speed up your child's cognitive development by a few years, yes, it could be your kid. Maybe not to the level of police involvement, but they'll certainly find themselves in situations that they didn't expect to be in, don't know how to get themselves out of, and are too embarrassed or scared to ask for help.

Paul Davis is someone who's done several media appearances travels from school to school giving talks on internet safety to teens. This was a talk from 5 years ago - and this is a link to his Twitter profile - https://twitter.com/pauldavisSNS. There's plenty more out there, so definitely look for it.

My take on tech is that the good far outweighs the bad, but that we really, really seem to underestimate or dismiss the risks associated with tech and as a result, don't equip kids to deal with those situations when, not if, but when they're personally affected by them.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Sep 1, 2005
18588 posts
13403 upvotes
Markham
Thunderburke wrote: My daughter is 9, turning 10 in Feb.

I gave her my old Umidigi F1 and got her a Public Mobile plan that is $23 a month.

She just uses it to text when she is about to walk home from school. She'll also occasionally text the Grandparents.

I can also track her which I will be doing until she's 18, lol.
Why did you get the $23/mth plan instead of the $15/mth plan if all she uses it for is text?

$15/mth => unlimited texting, 100 min call [UNLIMITED INCOMING] and 250mb data [good enough for Whatsapp]

vs $25/mth => unlimited texting and calling, 500mb+500mb data.

Unlimited incoming can cover her for all of her calls b.c. she can just text you or anyone else to call her.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!

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