As I was putting together my holiday gift guide last November, I asked friends/followers on my social media pages what was top on their child's wish lists. Nine times out of ten, a cell phone was in the top 3 of children, ranging from 5 years+. Yes, you read that right, 5 year olds were even asking for cell phones. In today's day and age, you can't go anywhere A) without your cell phone or B) seeing someone talking on a cell phone. While I can't say that I was surprised to learn that most kids wanted a cell phone, I was surprised when my 6 yr. old nephew and 8 yr. old niece asked Santa for one when we visited him at the mall.
My husband and I went back and forth all of November and early Dec. weighing the pros and cons of children having cell phones. We both agreed that will all the events that have happened in schools with guns and violence, that it would be a good idea to be able to reach our children if something were ever to happen, or have them be able to reach us or call for help. But, then we couldn't help but think about kids getting hooked on tech gadgets and the need to be connected at all times. Like I shared in a recent post, one of my family's new year's resolutions was to put down the cell phones and tablets after dinner for the night and spend real quality time with the family, without stopping to check emails, social media sites or play games. This resolution has been hard for everyone, especially my husband and I, as we have found that trying to disconnect from the Internet and social media is really hard, and we could see how easy it can become an addiction. Seeing this firsthand in ourselves, we didn't want the same for your kids, including our niece and nephew.
What are your thoughts on kids and cell phones? Do you have a family cell phone plan and phones for your children? Do you monitor their usage as it relates to surfing the web, texting, phone calls, etc? If your children have phones, what was the main reason for getting them one? While my husband and I ended up deciding against a cell phone for our niece and nephew, as we thought they were too young still, we did buy a couple pre-paid cell phones to let them use when they returned back to school for their after-school activities. We had found that trying to reach them to coordinate pick ups was hard, and where they would say they would meet up never was the spot we were at. By limiting when and for what reason the kids would use these pre-paid phones, we thought we would be able to control their usage. But, we soon found out that the phones we purchased and put pre-paid minutes on didn't work out, as the reception was poor and the phones would eat up too many minutes as they would consider our area a roaming area. Instead of hoping to save money and not going the $160+ family plan route, we found ourselves needing to add additional minutes to the phones each month, dealing with dropped calls, or no reception for the kids to make or receive calls. My husband and I began to discuss the need for cell phones with the kids, and were about to add additional lines to our current cell phone plan, when I was contacted by Mom Central Consulting to try out a new wireless company, called Scratch Wireless. This review couldn't have come at a better time, and has since given us a new wireless company to go with when it relates to phones for the kids.
What is different and GREAT about Scratch Wireless is how it offers free text, data and voice services when you are connected to your home Wi-Fi, school Wi-Fi or local hotspots that offer free Wi-Fi. And, when you are not in an area that offers free Wi-Fi, you can still access the Internet and make phone calls with an easy pay-as-you access plan ($1.99/day for either phone or data service) or pay a flat monthly fee ($15/month). Scratch Wireless offers free texting no matter where you -- in a Wi-Fi zone or not. How great is that! Parents of kids who love to text will especially love this feature, as it will save them on per text rates. :-)
In order to sign up for a Scratch Wireless plan, you have to purchase a Motorola Photon Q Android device from their website for $269.00.
With an amazing touch screen, dual high-resolution cameras, fast networking capabilities, and access to the entire Google Play Store, our smartphone does everything you want and more. It's even got a keyboard for texting addicts.
Here are the specs on this phone:
My niece and nephew have been putting this new Motorola Photon Q Android phone to the test, along with the pay as you go Scratch Wireless voice and date plans. And, so far, the only negative comment they have is that the picture taking quality is not that good compared to our other phones. But, other than that -- they love all the features including the flip out keyboard for easy texting. And, when they are at home surfing the web with the phone, the sound and picture quality of videos they watch are crisp and clear.
Just the other day we took the kids out to eat. Both my husband and my phones were running out of battery. So, my niece pulled out the Motorola Photon Q phone and streamed cartoons for the girls to watch and keep occupied. Usually we would do this with our phones and use up data plan minutes, but being in a restaurant offering free Wi-Fi, this Scratch Wireless phone came in handy, and didn't cost us to stream while in a free Wi-Fi hotspot.
While I hate to feel that I am starting my kids off young when it comes to getting hooked on tech gadgets and the Internet, you can't help it as they are exposed to it all around them, every day, in school, in the community, at home, etc. I have friends with kids in high school and college, and their children needed to purchase their own laptops to bring to classes. This is just the world we are living in where everyone is connected. I feel that with a service from Scratch Wireless, I don't have to hold my kids back when it comes to staying connected....but at least I can control how much is spent on voice and data plans, and not break the bank providing cell phone coverage/Internet access to them. And, I hate to say it, but as we continue to play around with this phone and enjoy the pay as you go voice and data plans, I can't help but consider switching to this more affordable wireless service myself. The phone has so many great features that kids and adults will love and knowing that most of my time spent with my mobile device is at home or in a location with free Wi-Fi, I wouldn't have to pay for additional data service, unless I was in a location without free Wi-Fi. Just last night, I was talking to my husband about how this would be a great phone and service to have, and get rid of our residential land line which costs us $60 a month.
If you are looking to cut costs when it comes to your family's cell phone bills, or are on the fence about getting your child(ren) a cell phone of their own, you will want to check out Scratch Wireless. We have been using the service and phone for a month, but it has already made a world of difference in regards to staying in touch with our on-the-go family, and has shown us that our kids are responsible when it comes to having their own cell phones.
To learn more about this Motorola Photon Q Android phone or Scratch Wireless and their pay as you go access, click here now - http://www.scratchwireless.com/.
Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Scratch Wireless. I received a product sample to facilitate my review.