Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Year, New Phones

The new year starts tonight, and in the last days of 5772 three four of the kids' telephones gave up the ghost, or are so close to it, that they are not reliable at all. Add two more kids, who needed phones, and today I ended up getting some for them.

You might shake your head at my pre-teens having cell phones, but it's neccesary for my peace of mind. My kids ride public transportation, sometimes alone, sometimes in small groups, they are at various places at various times, and we ned to be able to reach each other. There are strict rules about the phones at school and at home as well, and not following those rules results in loss of privileges. So far, so good.

So I went to the big, fruit named mobile provider to see what deals I could get on basic, cheap phones for the kids. We are part of a business fleet, so we usually get good deals on any phone that is over two years old... and oh boy, these phones were the first ones we bought in Israel.

Just imagine my surprise when the basic phones cost about twice as much than the cheaper smart phones! Samsung Galaxy Mini II cost about $4.00 with our business fleet discounts and they have free, practically unlimited internet! There were a few other phones that could be replaced for around $8.00, with a free case. Of course I ended up buying those for the kids, and for my Hello Kitty fan Noya I picked up a Hello Kitty Samsung Galaxy Y that was the last one at the store... free. Since Kevin's parents are about to come again for a whole year this time, I bough them phones, too. Some screen protectors and covers later I walked out with 9 new phones, and some concerns about how to make sure I can protect my kids online when they are not in front of my nose. I mean they can even sign up to Facebook from those phones! I chose to add the Norton Online Family app to their phones, which happens to be free and no, I'm not sponsored by them. This app lets me monitor my kids' online aqctivities, as well as restrict their access to certain sites. Now there are other apps to limit what apps they can download.

The idea is that while I trust my children, there are all kinds of ways to end up on sites and with apps that they shouldn't have access to yet. I also think that even the most trustworthy child can be overtaken by curiousity, and I am responsible for them and their safety. So while they are happily playing with their new phones, downloading games and music apps, we are having the online safety talk. Just the perfect way to end the year.

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