Parenting & Family

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

[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 29, 2009
646 posts
328 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
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Sep 1, 2005
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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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Aug 3, 2017
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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.
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Jun 12, 2008
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Ripley
We had a landline when the kids were younger. 1 landline is going to be cheaper than 2+ cell phone plans.
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Oct 24, 2016
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We have been using Fido home phone for a number of years now. Serves our purpose. $6.50 a month.
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Jun 24, 2015
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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
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Jun 4, 2020
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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 Fanatic
Jun 24, 2015
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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
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Dec 11, 2003
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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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Jun 24, 2015
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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
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Mar 22, 2011
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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.
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Aug 27, 2003
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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.
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Apr 21, 2014
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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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May 9, 2003
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KevinM56081 wrote: Don't disagree with some of your points. Only question I have is... How do you facetime 911?
Leave an old cell phone, with no service plan, at home with them. I think they would still have 911 active.
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Jun 24, 2015
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bizzyseller wrote: Leave an old cell phone, with no service plan, at home with them. I think they would still have 911 active.
Yes that is correct, an old phone with no sim card can call 911, just make sure its not GSM (2G) as GSM is being decommissioned dec 31 of this year (2020)
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Apr 13, 2005
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Markham, ON
Who is your wireless provider?

With TELUS, they offer wireless home phone as an add-on for $10/month.

I believe all the wireless providers offer a similar service.

This doesn't rely on your home internet connection and has battery backup. So if you have one of those old (non cordless) phones, it will work even when the power is out.

I have a cordless phone so it works (when there's no power cut) but doesn't require internet.

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