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Psychology of Technology: Kids & Mobile Phones

Don’t even get me started on seeing children with better mobile phones than I have. But that’s another story. The reality is that many parents are going to give their children mobile phones for safety and easy contact. And, of course, most every kid is going to want one because it makes them feel grown and most of their friends have them.

So, in accepting the inevitable, Verizon has offered some pretty reasonable guidelines in selecting a phone and a plan, all with the best interests of your children (and their bottom line) in mind:

Simple yet cool. Phones that get the basics done and still have a stylish look may be a good compromise for parents and children. Younger children may need a phone that only allows calling, while an older teen may want a mobile phone that is able to play music; has a QWERTY keypad and camera; can send and receive video and picture messages; and allows threaded text messages so they can view an entire conversation.

Establish a budget. Good habits can be established by handling monthly minutes and messages on an allowance basis. A 450-minute monthly allowance described as 15 minutes a day can help a young person better understand their limits.

Set download limitations. Setting a spending limit for downloads may be a good idea if purchasing a phone that allows music, games or video downloads. The limits give the child clear expectations, establish spending habits and give the young person some control over their wireless budget.

Messaging plans. Avoid surprises on the monthly bill. Young people often send text messages more than they call. Service providers offer a variety of packages that either limit the number of text messages allowed per month or offer unlimited text messaging.

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