I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Virgin Mobile USA which is one of Sprint’s prepaid brands. I received two Virgin Mobile smartphones to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
Being a blogger means that I am connected at pretty much all times. I rely on technology to do my job, and everywhere I go I have more than one device in tow. Even though my kids are very young, they are pros now at knowing how to work phones and tablets, and my five year old has started wanting a phone of his own. I know that with mobile use at an all time high, kids these days are getting them earlier than ever. But I feel like Judah is too young to have one of his own. So when do you know when the right time is? How can you tell if your child is ready for a phone? I have no idea, but I am going to share my thoughts on it in this post.
I got my first phone when I was 14 years old but that was not the norm. Most of my friends had pagers at that age, and phones those days still looked like bricks with no texting ability or functional screen display (yes this was before the flip phone and yes I’m revealing that I’m over 30). Even then a lot of my friends didn’t have phones. But today looks nothing like the low tech 90’s and almost every person in America has one on them at all times. So needless to say, kids are getting phones at younger ages than ever before. But how young is too young, and what can parents do to figure that out?
I am not sure if Judah is quite ready for a phone, but I think he is ready to take on the responsibility of working towards that so I have started giving him a little freedom to see what he does with it. A few weeks ago Virgin Mobile sent us a really cool “Data Done Right” survival kit to try out, and it was full of gadgets and accessories that are perfect for a fully connected family. And believe me, when I say full I mean FULL. It came with a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime, an LG Tribute 2, an amazing Samsung S5, two sets of Nabi headphones, a sweet chore chart and more.
It even came in a rad backpack that is going to be perfect for my upcoming trip to Turks & Caicos.
But I digress, so lets get back to what I was saying. The Data Done Right plan (on the Sprint nationwide network) is available exclusively at Walmart, and is perfect for families looking for a low-cost, no contract family plan. I claimed the Samsung S5 for myself, gave the LG Tribute 2 to my husband, and since I’m testing the waters of Judah having a phone I slated the other Samsung for him.
Virgin Mobile’s Data Done Right plans come in tons of options, and every multi-line plan comes preloaded with the Virgin app and a a free mobile hotspot feature. My phone is the account master, and I set the whole family network up through it without having to visit a store or talk to customer service. All I had to do was turn it on, enter the number on the preloaded “Data Done Right” plan card (you purchase these to “top off” your plans each month) and the screen prompted me from there. I didn’t have to enter any bank or credit card information either which was really nice. And let me just say, $65/month for two lines is crazy good!
For the other phones the process was similar, but instead of entering codes and setting the plan, all I had to do was “add” each to the master plan after turning them on.
I can set app and usage restrictions for any of the phones from my account which is really convenient. As a mother that is my absolute favorite feature of the plan – anything can happen, but if he can only use specified apps and items then I feel A LOT better about it in his hands! Oh, and I can control all that from my master phone without even touching his, so I always have control of the situation. Another thing I can control is data, and as you might have guessed I’m the data hog of the family, but with this plan I have the ability to share or restrict data for any phone in the plan at any time I want. In Judah’s case I can also “gift” him data whenever I want, and since a phone is a responsibility I love the idea of him working for it through a chore chart.
The jury’s still out on when I will allow him full fledged access to a phone of his own, but for now we are working on getting ready for it. Of course it will be with restrictions, but I think we are setting a good groundwork. Want to know more about sharing data? Check out this infographic below. (Click on it to view the full image.)