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Kids & Cell Phones: How to Decide What They Need

By: Melanie Radzicki McManus

Child-friendly Cell Phones

Kids are kids, and you need to think a little before simply handing your youngster his or her first cell phone. What if he or she promptly loses it at soccer practice, or starts receiving nasty messages from a bully? Or maybe, if the phone in question is a smartphone, surfing the Web for hours at a time will become a favorite activity.

Some cell phone carriers and manufacturers sell phones specifically aimed at pint-sized users. These phones are often brightly colored, with larger, easy-to-use buttons. Most also come with several special features to protect kids and ease them into the world of cell phone usage. For example, phones can be programmed to send and receive calls only to and from certain numbers, or to track where your child is via GPS.

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Besides such special safety features, child-friendly phones may also come equipped with things like educational games. And to protect your pocketbook, some also come with a set number of minutes, no texting capability and no capacity to access the Internet.

If you take a little time to consider these various cell phone options (prepaid, disposable, made-for-kids, family plan vs. individual), then talk with your child about responsible cell phone usage, you should feel pretty confident when you finally place the phone in his or her hot little hand.

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