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Mom's Talk: Cell Phones For Pre-Teens, Yea or Nea?

Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.

What’s the Right Cell Phone for a 12-Year-Old?

Question: My daughter is now 12 years old and in middle school. I’ve found that as the complexity of her after-school schedule increases, so does my need to know where she is, who she is with, what time she wants to be picked up and where. I have a simple flip phone that I could use and simply reactivate the telephone line for her.  But I’d have to add text messaging service to both her line and mine, because that’s what kids want — the ability to text. Plus she does not want the ugly, old, simple flip phone, she wants something pretty. What’s a non-tech-savvy mother to do? 

I understand her need for style, so to avoid a long contract with my cell service provider, I started shopping for someone’s cast-off on eBay and Craigslist. I met a really tech-savvy guy through this medium, who basically dissuaded me from buying a Palm Pre Plus he was selling due to the complexity of the the smart-phone controls. Here’s our conversation, which was helpful to me:

NTSM: It is for my 12-year-old daughter and I do not want to disappoint her. It is her first real phone.

RTSG: I couldn't in good conscious recommend a Palm Pre Plus to a 12-year-old and/or a person unfamiliar with complex smart-phone controls. I would suggest that you look for a QWERTY keyboard-phone; these phones are more age- and skill-appropriate for a 12-year-old. Most of them come with a camera.  

NTSM:  So if not the Palm, then what?

RTSG: A Pink LG EnV2 would make a terrific first QWERTY phone for a young gal coming into her own as a responsible cell phone user. Then in two or three years, if she shows good judgement (by not going over spending limits and by using the QWERTY phone responsibly), maybe get her something a bit more feature-rich; such as an iPhone. By then, I'm sure you can find an iPhone for her at a reasonable price.

NTSM:  So anything with a slide-out keyboard that is straightforward and not too complex is what we will look for.

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Bill Maune April 06, 2011 at 11:15 AM
Maybe the rotary phone I use maybe the best for her!
Allwynne Bound April 08, 2011 at 11:19 PM
She doesn't need to text. I don't!!!

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