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When you hand your child a cell phone gift card they will be grinning ear to ear, because they can pick out a cell phone of their choosing. There are cell phone gift cards for games and music, too. However, that first cell phone is a big step. A common problem with kids and cell phones is text messaging, but there are options available to help manage this service. You can block this feature completely from the cell phone from the start or have it blocked later if you decide text messaging is being abused. Many cell phone providers do warn customers that if a text messaging package is suspended in the middle of a billing cycle, the number of text messages included will be prorated. In this case, you may pay more overage charges than if you had left the feature active. Unlimited text messaging packages are more expensive, but the extra cost may be worth the peace of mind to know your child won't exceed the monthly text limit. Consider starting your child off with a kid's prepaid cell phone. Think of it as “training wheels” for cell phone use. When the minutes are gone, the phone is deactivated until it has more minutes added. It can be an excellent way to teach your child how to monitor their cell phone use. Of course, another way to teach your child about cell phone use is to show them how to use their cell phone gift card to pay a balance.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|