IRVINE, CA — At younger and younger ages, children are asking parents, "Can I have a cell phone?" No surprise then that seventy two percent of 13- to 17-year-olds have cell phones, according to a recent industry study.* Verizon Wireless offers tips for parents on the fence, starting with tweens' and teens' behavior.
"The first cell phone is a big responsibility for a young person," said Rich Garwood, regional president of Verizon Wireless. Garwood offered some key tips for parents thinking about buying a cell phone for a child:
1. Ask yourself if your child behaves responsibly at home. Are chores done when asked and is homework completed on time? If so, they may be ready for the responsibility of a cell phone.
2. Setting rules up front is key - By setting clear expectations about how and when to use their cell phone parents give children the tools to make good decisions. Guidelines for young new cell phone users could include:
a. Only answer calls or reply to text messages from people you know or have met in person
b. You must answer your phone if Mom or Dad calls, so they will always knows everything's okay
c. Turn the phone off at a set time when you're at home so family time is not interrupted and there's no texting late into the night.
3. Prepay can be a good "first phone" option. It offers controls and INpulse from Verizon Wireless also enables rewards.
a. INpulse from Verizon Wireless allows parents to set the amount of money on the account and when it's used up the phone can no longer make calls. Parents can add money to their child's prepay account 24-hours per day from the phone, online, or in person at Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and many other retail locations.
b. INpulse offers practice in money management. From the Settings and Tools menu screen on their Verizon Wireless phones, users can choose My Account and see their balances, find payment locations, make payments and view usage details.
c. INpulse offers the only pre-paid phones that can download music, so parents can reward responsible usage with music from the more than 3 million songs in the V CAST Music library. Teens can play their songs even if they're out of minutes.
d. With INpulse, there's no long-term commitment or credit check. INpulse Core, INpulse Plus and INpulse Power, charge customers a daily access fee that ranges from 99 cents to $2.99 only on the days of use and include Unlimited IN Calling to Verizon Wireless customers nationwide.
INpulse plans are available at Verizon Wireless Communications Stores, including those in Circuit City, as well as Best Buy, Wal-Mart, CVS and many other retailers across Southern California.
* "Buying cell phone for tween a hard call", Associated Press, March 6, 2008
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 67.2 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 69,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.