Three months ago, as grade school ended, we let our 12yo son carry a T-Mobile PayGo phone (an old phone we had lying around, unlocked after its AT&T contract ended).
We did the usual thing with posting rules and so on – but they were soon forgotten. In fact, I only remember the rules because I reread my prior post!
So how did it go? Was our son able to handle the complexities of a semi-modern cell phone? (His Nokia is much harder to use, for example, than an iPhone)
It has gone well and he’s done well with the phone. I think having the phone connection to us has been terribly important during his first weeks in Junior High. It’s been a great self esteem boost – one of the few times he can resemble his neurotypical classmates. We had some concerns that he was pestering a former classmate, but we’ve checked into that and it’s good so far. He’s proud of his phone, and careful with it.
On the other hand, he burnt through the T-Mobile minutes pretty fast. I also discovered that, contrary to expectations, I couldn’t get any information from the T-Mobile site on what numbers he was calling. That made me nervous.
After he went through $10 in a week I gave up on the Pay-G plan sand moved his phone to our AT&T family plan ($10/month, $20-$30 or so fee for the new number).
I want him to text as a way to develop some basic communication and writing skills so I signed up for that great 21st century scam – the text plan (200 messages/month, but remember one pays to receive (grrrrrr) as well as send, so this is only about 3 messages sent a day).
I hated to pay for the text messaging, but if it helps him with written language it’s well worth much more. I also opted to try another $5/month service - “Smart Limits for Wireless”. It includes …
Text/IM Limits: I set to 100
Download Limits: I set to zero since he doesn’t have a data plan.
Browsing Limits: Also set to zero
Time of Day Restrictions: none yet
Allowed Numbers: these are numbers one can use even during restricted times. None yet.
Blocked Numbers: Useful if he’s harassing someone