These days, it seems like almost every middle schooler has their own cell phone. If you think this is a little bit crazy, you’re far from alone. Lots of parents have noted that paying for a monthly contract so kids can chat with their friends and distract themselves during class is absurd. It seems that the obvious choice is to tell your kids they can’t have a cell phone until they reach high school.
The problem is that depriving your kids of a cell phone can make life more difficult for everyone involved. This is the age at which adolescents first start doing things on their own. You might feel a lot more comfortable if they have a way to communicate with you while they’re alone at soccer practice, a friend’s house, or the arcade. Being without a phone could also have a negative impact on their social lives. Like it or not, being within the digital loop is now essential for making and maintaining friends.
Thankfully, there’s a middle ground that lets you limit your kids’ phone usage without denying them a device altogether. Prepaid phones can do everything a regular cell phone can do, but they have a much less disruptive effect on a middle schooler’s life. Here are the six main reasons you should buy a prepaid phone for your kids.
Cut Down On Costs
Cell phone contracts can be expensive, especially if you’ve got a lot of people on your family’s plan. Your adolescent children are likely the biggest users of texting and data, which will only drive the costs up even more. When your middle schoolers use prepaid phones instead, you can limit their spending by only buying a certain amount of data, minutes, and messages every month.
Encourage A Sense Of Responsibility
When kids are given unlimited data, they’re likely to assume it’s a God-given right. They’ll play games and message their friends without ever considering the cost of their activities. When they’re using a prepaid phone, they know they only have an exhaustible allotment of minutes and data to draw from. This will force them to be responsible and keep their usage to a minimum.
Avoid Excessive Screen Time
With a typical contract phone, middle schoolers can spend hours a day engaged in mindless online activities. From thumbing through Instagram to watching silly videos, they never seem to run out of useless things to do on their phones. Giving kids a prepaid model forces them to get offline and head out into the real world.
Forge Healthier In-Person Relationships
Numerous studies have linked social media to increased depression and lower self-esteem among adolescents. Bullying, peer pressure, and other undesirable activities are all rampant in digital spaces. Kids also feel left out when they see pictures of their classmates having fun without them. With a prepaid phone limiting their screen time, kids are forced to form healthier relationships based on actual face-to-face interactions.
Focus On School And Activities
Even adults suffer with the distractions posed by smartphones. For middle schoolers whose brains are still developing, the temptations are even more irresistable. When kids are denied access to these distractions, they find it much easier to focus on what’s really important in a middle schooler’s life: school and extracurriculars.
Stay In Touch
While smartphones do serious harm to young people, a prepaid phone can provide the safety and security that cell phones were initially intended to offer. If your child finds themselves in a dangerous situation, they’ll be able to call you for help. They can also call to ask for rides and other everyday favors. With prepaid phones, technology is a useful tool rather than a harmful distraction.