Parenting & Family

What do you do for a phone for your kids at home?

[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 29, 2009
621 posts
303 upvotes

What do you do for a phone for your kids at home?

Our kids are getting to the age where we can leave them at home alone for short stretches. Currently we have no landline and the kids don't have their own phones (that's a battle for another time). Thinking of getting an old school Bell Home Phone which is pretty reliable and works when the power is out/internet is down. This would give them a number they could give out to their friends, and would be the most reliable solution in an emergency. Unfortunately it's $50+ a month which seems steep.

Other alternative is a household cell phone on a voice/text only plan. Not sure if I like that idea. Seems to be a gateway for kids having their own cell phones, which is a non-starter at this point. Can also see the kids fighting over who gets to take it with them when they are going out in different directions. Also not sure if 911 is as reliable.

Wondering what others have done with kids in a similar age range (i.e. old enough to be alone for short time periods, but too young to have their own cell).
17 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Sep 1, 2005
11132 posts
6150 upvotes
Markham
Wondering if you can get a cheap cell plan with unlimited incoming (like Public Mobile $15/mo prepaid plan) and a Panasonic link cordless phone that can connect to the cell phone via bluetooth. Just put the cell into a locked drawer/office if you don't want them accessing it....I don't even think they'd know it's connected to a cell if you put on a silent ringer on the cell.



There's a 3 phone cordless Panasonic that has this feature at Costco on sale for $60 IIRC.

costco-panasonic-digital-phone-system-k ... #p33157151
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Sr. Member
Aug 3, 2017
587 posts
405 upvotes
I've had Magic Jack for about a year and couldn't be happier with it. It isn't perfect, but the price is right.
Deal Addict
Jun 12, 2008
1001 posts
447 upvotes
Ripley
We had a landline when the kids were younger. 1 landline is going to be cheaper than 2+ cell phone plans.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Oct 24, 2016
878 posts
736 upvotes
ON
We have been using Fido home phone for a number of years now. Serves our purpose. $6.50 a month.
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Deal Addict
Jun 24, 2015
4012 posts
1172 upvotes
Woodbridge, ON
Forget about the phone line period. Most kids know how to use Google Duo, WhatsApp or F ace Time. Just install a Video Calling app on a Tablet or a Google Nest Hub or Amazon Echo and Voila. My kids know how to make Video Calls just set up favourites of all their important contacts like their Nonna, Nonno, Mom, Dad, and Auntie or Uncle. and away they go.

Remember, kids do NOT need to answer regular telephone calls esp at their age, they could give away personal info so why bother, just use a video calling app its easy, and its FREE
Hi
Member
Jun 4, 2020
200 posts
158 upvotes
Clarington, ON
GoodFellaz wrote: Forget about the phone line period. Most kids know how to use Google Duo, WhatsApp or F ace Time. Just install a Video Calling app on a Tablet or a Google Nest Hub or Amazon Echo and Voila. My kids know how to make Video Calls just set up favourites of all their important contacts like their Nonna, Nonno, Mom, Dad, and Auntie or Uncle. and away they go.

Remember, kids do NOT need to answer regular telephone calls esp at their age, they could give away personal info so why bother, just use a video calling app its easy, and its FREE
Don't disagree with some of your points. Only question I have is... How do you facetime 911?
Deal Addict
Jun 24, 2015
4012 posts
1172 upvotes
Woodbridge, ON
You CANT, but you can go to a neighbours house and make a call. but yes i see your point, a voip home phone or rogers wireless home phone is good piece of mind in the event of safety or emergency
Hi
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 11, 2003
2216 posts
846 upvotes
Toronto
I have a VOIP line with Fongo. I just plugged in a set of cordless phones. It's also good in case somebody is in 1 part of the house and you don't have your cell phone with you. There are a lot of times where I walk around the house and don't carry my cell with me. I don't have a lot of minutes so I tell people to call my home phone if they call me. Also, it's good to use when calling some company where you will be on hold for a while, such as the bank, mortgage company, etc.
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Deal Addict
Jun 24, 2015
4012 posts
1172 upvotes
Woodbridge, ON
Fongo is good but they have no flat rate option for US calling, you have to pay per minute. Oh how I wish one of the voip companies will come out with a flat rate north american voip calling option. yes we get it, canada wide, but many many many of us have family in US of A who we never talk to normally cus cellphones cost money to call usa, now if voip lines had it we would take our business there but they do not want our business for the long distance market
Hi
Sr. Member
User avatar
Mar 22, 2011
658 posts
197 upvotes
I did the VOIP through freephoneline.ca
Paid a one time fee back 8 years ago ($50 or something), bought an ATA box, did some setting up, connect the cordless phones to it and that's it.
Haven't paid a cent since.
Note: 911 calls are $1 or something like that.

Or you can do Fongo as others mentioned.
Deal Addict
Aug 27, 2003
1582 posts
404 upvotes
jandb wrote: I did the VOIP through freephoneline.ca
Paid a one time fee back 8 years ago ($50 or something), bought an ATA box, did some setting up, connect the cordless phones to it and that's it.
Haven't paid a cent since.
Note: 911 calls are $1 or something like that.

Or you can do Fongo as others mentioned.
+1

This has been my solution for the last 10 years. My initial investment into setting up VoIP was low and I haven't paid any monthly fees since.
Granted, the price has since gone up and the FreePhoneLine unlock code is now $100. To port in an existing number is another $25. Then you have to buy and setup your own ATA adapter which will run you another $50 - $80. If you plan on keeping a phone line for the long run, this might still be the cheaper solution. Otherwise you can go with a monthly subscription from Fongo or Voip.ms (as examples) that start at about $5/month.
Deal Addict
Apr 21, 2014
2191 posts
973 upvotes
Alberta
McGuillicuddy wrote: Our kids are getting to the age where we can leave them at home alone for short stretches. Currently we have no landline and the kids don't have their own phones (that's a battle for another time). Thinking of getting an old school Bell Home Phone which is pretty reliable and works when the power is out/internet is down. This would give them a number they could give out to their friends, and would be the most reliable solution in an emergency. Unfortunately it's $50+ a month which seems steep.

Other alternative is a household cell phone on a voice/text only plan. Not sure if I like that idea. Seems to be a gateway for kids having their own cell phones, which is a non-starter at this point. Can also see the kids fighting over who gets to take it with them when they are going out in different directions. Also not sure if 911 is as reliable.

Wondering what others have done with kids in a similar age range (i.e. old enough to be alone for short time periods, but too young to have their own cell).
We have Alexa, and they can call from that. Just say “Alexa dial 416xxxxxx” it will come up on your phone as No caller Id.

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