Flip phone for middle schooler

We’re thinking of adding a cellphone line and giving an old flip phone to our 6th grader. It has a tiny slideout keyboard and a low quality camera. This seems like a benign first device and she is excited for it. Are there any downsides (other than cost) in your experience? Alternatives?

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RE: Flip phone for middle schooler ()

Start your daughter out on a disposable phone. They cost about $50 from any store i.e. AT&T, Verizon, etc. Limit the reload to $10/month, and see how she does. The phone number is not permanent, but if she does well with her limits, you can always put her on your plan with a permanent phone number. Definitely start her with a flip! good luck!

RE: Flip phone for middle schooler ()

As a middle school teacher, I would strongly recommend a phone that neither sends nor receives picture messages.  A good option is the LG True, which does have a camera but doesn't allow you to send or receive pictures (at least without a cumbersome process that involves logging into a website).  I say this because of the NUMEROUS times inappropriate pictures of a student have been texted to practically the entire school.  Even if she would never send out pictures like that herself, it might be nice to know that she wouldn't be receiving them either.  Plus, it's $25 and Cricket has a plan that gets unlimited text/talk for $25 a month out the door.  Check it out!  

RE: Flip phone for middle schooler ()

We got a flip phone for our 6th grader last year. We even had old smart phones sitting around and still opted to buy a flip phone. I think it was a good decision. He was able to communicate when necessary but wasn't tempted by games, the Internet, etc. Occasionally he needs to take my phone, for example this past weekend he went on a bike ride and wanted to be able to navigate if he got lost. But I would rather that be the exception and not the rule.

Our oldest was in 8th grade last year. We had thoughts of not getting him a smart phone until he started high school, but so many of his friends have smart phones that certainly by the second half of the year he would have been left out of plans and conversations. So we're glad we got him one at the beginning of the year. We will also give our other two kids smart phones at the beginning of 8th grade.

RE: Flip phone for middle schooler ()

We did a similar thing with our kids. One word of caution--if the phone is old enough, it may no longer work on your provider's network--even if they still sell it on line, it may not work. The easiest way to find out is to go to your provider's store and ask. If I remember correctly, 2G is no longer supported, you need at least 3G. When I was shopping on line, I was shocked at how many phones were still being sold that were not supported any longer by ATT and I was searching for ATT flip phones! The were cool at the store and said they had a SIM card for just this purpose so I could try the phone first before they activated it. In the end, it was just easier to buy the model they had at the store. I think it was $50

RE: Flip phone for middle schooler ()

Our son got in a field trip bus accident in 4th grade. I was in a panic about not being able to reach him even though we were told all the kids were fine (they were but anytime a school bus is in an accident no matter how minor it’s a long process and police come).

We got him a flip phone after that. He keeps it off in his backpack and has had it ever since. He’s going into 6th next year. Mostly it makes me feel better knowing he can reach me if he needs to.

He played with it when he first got it then decided it was too clunky and since then it’s been simply a way to communicate with us. So far that’s just fine with him since he uses the iPad at home to text his cousin after school but even that use is minor. 

I know he wants an iPhone but I don’t yet see that his friends have one. I am holding off on that as long as possible.

RE: Flip phone for middle schooler ()

A flip phone solves the issue of communication with you, but I would recommend an iPhone as soon as they start going places without an adult. When my daughter was in middle school I found out quite by accident the advantages of her having an old iPhone on my iCloud. With Find my iPhone, we can each see where the other is, which relieves a lot of potential anxiety around her waiting to be picked up somewhere and me being on the way to pick her up, or me waiting to find out if she has gotten home from school yet. As she has gotten older, I never really have to wonder where she is, and saved her from getting turned around where she didn't want to be while in San Francisco with a friend (having gotten off Bart at Civic Center and ended up in the Tenderloin instead of on Van Ness). Apparently I am the "cool mom" because I never micromanage her whereabouts while out with her friends, but really I am not that cool, I am just periodically checking Find my iPhone.

RE: Flip phone for middle schooler ()

I’m a middle school teacher. Many parents don’t want a smartphone because the distractions. I say later, even if you want a smart phone so they have more features like navigation and games at appropriate times, just get the app OurPact. Check out at ourpact.com. It’s amazing. I can choose which apps work during certain times and which are always available. I can limit her hours per day for example: 90 minutes anywhere from 4:30-7:00 between homework and dinner. Then while at school all the games, camera, texts and internet is blocked. The app even has a notification when they arrive within a certain radius of school, home, soccer whatever. So I don’t need to check my GPS or anything. Just pops us and I know she’s arrived safely. It’s android and App Store. I think I pay $6 a month for the extra features. Some are free. Worth it for better features than AT&T offers. Oh, also if they get in trouble, you can put Block until I say so or Block for 1 hour until their room is done or after a break. Or if they do homework early or dishes you can put Allow for extra 30 minutes or whatever makes sense for you. I’m a teacher and I always recommend this to concerned parents. The kids get the app called ourpact jr and it says things like: Blocked until 3:30 for “School” or Open until 6 for “Free time.” You get to name and set times. You can do different ones for the weekend too so they can play longer or later but not too late. My daughter has had it since 7th when she got a phone and is heading to high school where I hear kids just play on the phone in class. Haha. But not kids with phones blocked 8:30-4!  ;)

Ziggy