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Good Prepaid Cellphone Plan for Tween?

     
4:54 pm on Nov 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Looking for a prepaid cellphone plan that doesn't suck. And by suck, I mean, one that hopefully isn't too expensive for someone that WON'T be making lots of calls, and that you don't have a short time to use up all the minutes.

I am looking for an inexpensive smart phone for my 10-year-old son. Mostly I want him to have it for emergency phone calls when he is walking to school or back home (or when he forgets his key) and also for using for, say, skype when he is back at home with our wifi connection?

Any suggestions on who / what to use?

Our home phone service with AT&T is terrible and want to get rid of it as well.

Thanks in advance.
5:38 pm on Nov 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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It might help if you can indicate what region are you asking about?
9:07 pm on Nov 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Oh. You're ok with letting your 10 yr old walk home alone? 10 isn't quite tween yet either. Might want to spring for a full iPhone with some kind of tracking in case (heavens forbid) he goes missing.

My 12 yr old has an iPhone. You can Skype,text stream spotify, do hangouts and I'm pretty sure there might be a calling app for it to. But of course must have wifi .
9:24 pm on Nov 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Do you only want prepaid ? Would a no contract deal work?

I use a no contract deal from Verizon, unlimited talk and text. I did up grade, but think the original plan was 1 gig of data. That might not be enough data. But I usually use my wifi with it at home so data isn't an issue unless I traveling, then I just buy whatever amount I need on the trip.

The original plan was $45.00 monthly.
11:16 pm on Nov 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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It might help if you can indicate what region are you asking about?


Sorry, i am in California.
11:19 pm on Nov 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@ martinibuster:

Oh. You're ok with letting your 10 yr old walk home alone?


Unfortunately, yeah, sometimes he kind of has to walk home alone.

Fortunately we are only about a block and a half from the school, and the Sheriff Department is halfway between our place and the school. But I get your concern.

I will probably look into getting an iphone and a plan of some kind then instead.
11:21 pm on Nov 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@ Ken_b:

Thanks for the note. i might look into that. Might see about adding another line to our existing plans then.
11:42 pm on Nov 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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You're ok with letting your 10 yr old walk home alone?

OT, but wow- this is the world we live in nowadays? If so, I'm glad I don't have kids! I was walking/biking to/from school by myself starting in kindergarten (~3 blocks, then later as far as a mile from the school where I went to 3rd grade).
12:21 am on Nov 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I don't understand this. My daughter walked to school from an early age. If it's a easy journey - no main roads to cross or a controlled crossing ( lollipop in the uk) the kids are OK. The local primary school near us ( across the road) had a 'walking train' although this seems to have stopped.
I used to walk to school from about 7.
Now we see mothers parked up one hour before school's out reading books. Just to get a parking space !
12:28 am on Nov 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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is the world we live in nowadays?

Yes.

In San Francisco, circa 1968, I used to walk to kindergarten with older kids in the morning and return home alone with just my younger brother. Although we did get mugged by a twelve year old who wrapped a rope around my brother's neck and threatened to strangle him to death. I also found an automatic pistol hidden behind a bush once on my way home from school. When I was in the second grade we moved far away so my brother and I took the public transportation (MUNI) by ourselves. We sat up front and the bus driver treated us kindly.

So yeah I get it but these aren't the little rascal days anymore. San Francisco has a more dense population than when I was a kid. And arguably most major and sub-major cities have more people living in them as well. It's a different world, more packed together and imo more tense and dangerous because of that. So most definitely it's a different world we live in. ;)

Parenting is different nowadays. Some parents tend to talk to their kids and take more part in their lives. Other parents don't (just like their own parents) and those are the sad sacks with pain in the butt kids that cry all the time and throw tantrums.
3:05 am on Nov 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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This isn't a parenting thread. Let's stay on topic.
7:00 am on Nov 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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take a look at a straighttalk phone/plan. (walmart, or straighttalk.com)

I use their prepaid wireless hotspot, with no problems.


btw, expect the call and text volume to increase after he gets his own phone.
11:53 pm on Nov 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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there are 3 iphones in our house and the siblings track each other.

for your application i would suggest moving to a better carrier (verizon?) and get a family plan.
iphone for 10yo can be anything cheap/used/refurb/etc that supports the tracking app.
get a beefy waterproof case for the iphone.
get unlimited text/talk and minimal data plan with strict instruction/education to use wifi for all data intensive usage except for emergencies.
3:34 am on Nov 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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btw they started walking/pedaling/riding to school "on their own" starting in 3rd grade (8yo) but always in pairs or groups.
1:56 pm on Nov 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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We have 4 children, 17, 13, 9 and 8.
What we've done in the past is hit Wal-Mart and grab a pre-paid smartphone for around $40. However, we never bought any 'minutes' for it. The phone works just fine on Wi-Fi, it just won't make "phone calls".
The nice thing about a phone like that is that it teaches them to be responsible, but if they drop it or lose it...it's only $40. And you can buy them a new one.

Emergency calls? I 'think' 911 works for every smartphone, even if it has no 'plan'?
Lost key? If he's 'home', and can receive WiFi from your house, he could email you or skype?

I was quite surprised at how little the kids complained about not having the ability to make phone calls. They found a way around it using whatever apps they could find that helped them communicate.

As for the 'all the cool kids have smart phones and THEIR parents pay for their plans!'
...well, we just said, "If you need to make a really important call to us, just ask one of your friends if you can use their phone. Just tell them you don't have any minutes on your phone".

This has worked quite well for us.
3:01 pm on Nov 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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You might be best talking to your own provider. Explain the situation to them and they may be able to do a deal where they add another number to your existing contract, but impose strict caps on it's usage.

Mack.
4:08 pm on Nov 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Thanks so much everyone for the suggestions.

A lot of good ideas.

Is it only the iPhones that have the built in tracking? is there no android version?
10:17 am on Nov 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Any device with GPS and internet can have tracking- its just a matter of finding an App.

Google+ will do it, if you want to stick with Google
[support.google.com...]

Alternatively there is Play Store, and GIYF - "Child GPS tracking App android"

Most 3rd-party apps are up-front fee, subscription or both. I imagine there are free versions, but when you consider there are logging requirements, I would question why they are free.
3:36 pm on Nov 11, 2016 (gmt 0)

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A lot of phones have a feature called "Find my phone" or something similar where you can login using a browser and view your phone on a map. HTC, for example have this enabled as part of HTC Sence. I believe iPhones and most Samsung phones have this feature as well. As Shaddows pointed out you can also get this functionality through an App.

Mack.