Rules for a 9 year old with a mobile...

(23 Posts)
Noregrets78 Thu 01-Aug-13 00:10:34

DD will be getting the bus to school for the first time from September, and the 'norm' seems to be to get them a mobile in case of transport issues / emergencies. The school is very good at taking all the phones when they arrive, and returning them before they get on the bus, so that they're not a distraction at school.

But what sort of contract to get? What rules to set? I don't want to ban her from using her phone, but don't want her to run up a bill texting friends. What kind of rules do you put in place?

In addition I'm separated from her Dad. He is a controlling, and impossible to talk to character. I'd imagine he'd see it as his right to phone that phone whenever he sees fit. Again - what kind of boundaries do you put in place? And how do you talk to a 9 year old about it? I don't want her to think I'm stopping her from talking to her Dad, but she's just to young to have the responsibility of checking her phone all the time.

What do you do?

Thanks

MortifiedAdams Thu 01-Aug-13 00:19:24

I would get her (if you have to), a basic pay as you go Tesco handset. Stick a tenner a month on and when it goes it goes. I would also impose the following rules:
*It stays downstairs at bedtime
*It is not brought to the table at mealtimes
*When you ask for it to be handed over, it is done without grumbles

I would contact her dad separatley and say that you are getting it for emergencies and if he calls her while she is with you then dd may or may not be free to answer it but for him not to hassle her. When she is with him for his overnighters, then it is reasonable to expect her to respond to him as she would you when you call.

I got Ds1 his first phone recently. It's a contract smartphone but not a flash one. It's under £10 a month and comes with thousands of inclusive texts and minutes so no danger of him running up a big bill. You can also set a cut off so that if they do go over, it can only be up to a certain amount before the phone is cut off.

Does her dad have to know about it?

Noregrets78 Thu 01-Aug-13 07:24:59

Thanks both.

mortified re: 'if you have to', DD recently said 'what if Daddy gets drunk and starts acting crazy when I'm with him'. It would also be a peace of mind for her to have a way of contacting me. Not a reason I can give to DD or her Dad, hence getting the bus to school is a helpful excuse. Your ideas for rules are great, thanks.

lyra I probably will go for some cheap contract, although want to make sure data is properly disabled - texts and calls only! Whether her Dad needs to know... She'll be excited and I won't ask her to keep this from him. She stays with him 3 nights a week, so will be charging / taking to school when with him etc.

Noregrets78 Thu 01-Aug-13 07:25:03

Thanks both.

mortified re: 'if you have to', DD recently said 'what if Daddy gets drunk and starts acting crazy when I'm with him'. It would also be a peace of mind for her to have a way of contacting me. Not a reason I can give to DD or her Dad, hence getting the bus to school is a helpful excuse. Your ideas for rules are great, thanks.

lyra I probably will go for some cheap contract, although want to make sure data is properly disabled - texts and calls only! Whether her Dad needs to know... She'll be excited and I won't ask her to keep this from him. She stays with him 3 nights a week, so will be charging / taking to school when with him etc.

anniepanniepears Thu 01-Aug-13 08:05:40

orange do special deals for kids, I think one is called dolphin
and the other is canary ,I think you can get the phone free
if you sign up for one of these calling plans

bruffin England Thu 01-Aug-13 08:21:47

We got contracts with 3 which we could put a zero credit cap , so they could never go over their minutes/data/texts but also had free 3 to 3 minutes so they had no excuse about not contacting us (we are all with 3)

MortifiedAdams Thu 01-Aug-13 09:52:35

what if daddy gets drunk and starts acting crazy is scary talk from a child. A mobile phone wont keep her safe from dangerous folk.

Sunnymeg Thu 01-Aug-13 11:03:31

Make sure you check the mobile coverage in your area, T-Mobile are the only ones to cover our home and DS's school.

Noregrets78 Thu 01-Aug-13 12:34:20

Thanks all. mortified yes I have a range of other posts just not on this board! I'm in that really difficult limbo land and feel like I'm waiting for something to happen. He hasn't done anything wrong, and I'm not in a position where I can restrict contact. I don't think he has 'acted crazy' when he's been looking after DD, but if I ask her things she springs to his defence.

My best tactic at the moment is to ensure the channels of communication remain open, and to make sure she can get hold of me if she needs to.

TeenAndTween Thu 01-Aug-13 21:13:20

The question I would ask you, is do you actually want your DD to permanently have her phone on e.g. evenings, mealtimes, weekends?

Personally (and I think I am old-fashioned here) I would rather my DD was properly interacting with the people she is with, not getting interrupted at mealtimes / family activities by texts like 'wassup?' from a bored friend.

Teenage DD1 has a PAYG which she has on when out on her own, or for other short periods, but it is luckily not permanetly glued to her side. Friends know that is it is something important to ring her on our landline. (She uses facebook for chatting in evenings). We go out of our way to facilitate meeting up with friends face to face rather than electronic means.

DH and I similarly hardly use our phones, and wouldn't dream of using them for 'chatting' when in company.

TeenAndTween Thu 01-Aug-13 21:19:13

So, my rules would be:
- downstairs at bedtimes
- on if out on own, eg at park not visible from your house
- off as standard, on for short periods to check in with friends or to text other parent
- PAYG, you top up if most of use is to a parent, she tops up out of pocket money if it is chatting to friends

But I expect most of you will think this is over-restrictive. smile
(Luckily we don't have middle schools here. I held out until Easter y6 with DD1 and aim to do likewise with DD2)

Noregrets78 Thu 01-Aug-13 23:01:50

teenandtween that's right up my street - I don't think over-restrictive at all, especially as this is middle school not secondary so only 9 years old. You've summed up quite well what I really don't want for DD, to be stuck to a phone already... she has years ahead for that to happen!

Teenandtween, I approve of your restrictions. Similar will apply to my DS, who's 11. He's not used to having a phone yet so forgets to take it with him/charge it etc. He'll have to be a bit more responsible when he starts secondary school in September.

BackforGood Thu 01-Aug-13 23:48:05

I agree, with getting a simple PAYG.
What my dd does if she needs me (to save using her credit) is give me a quick ring (3 rings as Peter Kay would say) - I then call her back on my credit (which I always have FAR more of than I could ever use) - could you do that?

IMO a contract with lots of inclusive minutes and texts is better than PAYG. My DS's is cheap.

BackforGood Fri 02-Aug-13 00:05:55

It's all relative though - I pay £7.50 a month for mine, which I understand from various threads on here to be pretty cheap - but if you add on 3 dcs at the same rate, then £30 a month sounds a lot less attractive.
Because my dc pay their own, then dd1 (who is 14, coming up to 15) rarely uses hers... when she's at school she talks to her friends and when at home it's all messaging through FB. She uses about £10 a year, which is obviously a lot less than even the cheapest contract.
ds decided to pay for a contract out of his PT job earnings, which is his choice, but prior to that, again used only about £10 every 5 months or so.

I guess it depends on your family income, but I think not being used to having a regular outgoing every month is a good start for budgeting for University or whatever they do on leaving school.

LadyLech Fri 02-Aug-13 00:36:25

My 9 year old DD has a mobile phone, which she uses as she does a lot of extra curricular activities, for which she is collected and taken to by a variety of different people. We have bought her a £7.50 Samsung galaxy Ace phone, with a cap on at £10 a month. Our rules are:

* The phone is her responsibility at all times. If she breaks it, loses it etc, she has to fund a new one / fix it.
* It is her responsibility to ensure that it is charged at all times.
* She always takes her phone if going out and about. If her phone is not charged, she does not go.
* All the numbers she needs have been programmed into her phone. If the name does not come up, she does not answer the call.
* We encourage her to text rather than to phone friends etc.

* She mostly uses the phone for games etc, but she has to be responsible about when she uses it (Ie not when we're at the table, when she's in company etc).

lljkk Netherlands Fri 02-Aug-13 20:34:00

Sheesh, £7.50/month still seems like a lot to me.
I would not make it her responsibility at all times unless she nags for an expensive one (like a Samsung).
We keep old phones for this kind of purpose, with £3 credit or so on them. Just enough to phone me in case of emergency.
Since you want it for school why not make sure she has it when she goes out the door in morning & she gives it back to you when she returns?
She shouldn't ever need to use it, so £10 would last you months on ordinary PAYG.

Even better, get both of you on Vodaphone. There is (or was?) a deal where you can pay £5/month and she can always phone you for free (well nothing extra). You can decide whether to get her more credit as and when.

I've been told today what a load of BS on another thread that lots of kids only have and are very very happy with phones like this, and that to get her anything more fancy would be a sign of parental weakness, plus you won't have to worry about anyone trying to nick it.

What a load of nonsense. DS has a smartphone which he loves and it was my decision to buy it for him. We went into town to get a sim for one of my old phones but then saw the smartphone deal which was the same price as the sim only deal. No brainer. It's a nice phone but not too flash (Sony Xperia E) so I can't see
him being mugged for it.

YoniBottsBumgina Sat 03-Aug-13 10:18:06

Downstairs at bedtime is a good rule to keep for all teens - prevents them from being up all hours texting and gets them out of bed in the morning to check it grin I read this on here and intend to implement it for DS later!

Nobody nicks cheap phones, because you can report them stolen and get the handset "blocked" this means it cannot be used in the UK. Thieves steal them to sell abroad to get around this issue, hence low value phones not worth the risk or the hassle. If she was running around with an iPhone 5 or a Galaxy S4 then I would worry.

LadyLech Sat 03-Aug-13 10:26:46

Llijk - you suggest getting the £5 Vodafone contract, we looked at that - but you are then spending £5 just for the calls, and they won't get used.

With £7.50, dd has got a smartphone, which she mostly uses to play games on. In fact that is what it is used most of all (instead of an iPod etc). So for the extra £2.50 a month, I get something tha is actually used a lot of the time, rather than wasting £5 for something that is never used.

Just didn't ways of looking at it, but seeing as phones are so much more than just phones these days - we personally thought it was worth the extra to have something that was used a lot, rather than spending £2.50 less a month and not using it (and still having to pay to purchase the phone).

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