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Pass It Down or Sell It: Should you give your kids a cell phone?

Even though technology is moving forward at a rapid pace, that doesn’t necessarily mean your children have to move with it. Back in the day, parents…

Even though technology is moving forward at a rapid pace, that doesn’t necessarily mean your children have to move with it. Back in the day, parents would pass down good values and recipes to their children. Nowadays, along with those recipes and values, they pass down old cell phones to their kids when they buy new ones.

But let’s be real, parents, kids under the age of 12 do not need an iPhone. Cell phones for kids are not necessary. That being said, some of the better toys for kids are still technology, but technology that is educational, fun, safe and doesn’t involve unlimited texting or data plans. If your kid is constantly pestering you about getting your old smartphone when you get your new one, there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself first:

Do you want to let your kids have technology?

Parents these days complain a lot about their child’s technology use taking away from other important aspects of their lives. Things like family dinners, playing outside and doing homework are falling wayside to video games, iPad apps and text message conversations. As a parent, you need to evaluate whether buying your child a smartphone is worth taking time away from some of these other important aspects to growing up. Cell phones for kids give them access to technology, but they can receive that access in other ways.

Do your kids really need a high-end smartphone?

There are benefits to children having cell phones such as safety, GPS tracking, and being able to talk to your child any time. Giving your child a cell phone is not always a bad idea, but your 12 year old probably doesn’t need an iPhone – even if she tells you she really, really needs it (she doesn’t, by the way). It is not necessary for children to have the latest in technology, or even high-end smartphones that are a generation old. There are plenty of entry-level phones you can buy for your children that won’t run your bank account dry but still allow them to give you a call to check in.

Plus, by giving your child your old iPhone or smartphone, you are missing out on the trade-in value you could get for that smartphone. Currently, you can get around $300 for your used iPhone 5 16GB and $200 for an iPhone 4S. If you pass down your iPhone to your kid, you’re missing out on some real value, and that value only declines over time. You could pass down your phone to your child, or you could sell it and buy an age appropriate toy that they really want, or use that cash to pay for your new phone. Or, if you’d prefer to spend that cash on yourself, you could sell your old phone and use the money to treat yourself to a new pair of sunglasses.

Are there tech alternatives to a smartphone?

There are many gadgets that will give your child the features they want out of a high-end smartphone, without the calling, unlimited texting and data plans that can distract from face-to-face communication. They can still download all their favorite applications and games, and you can make sure they’re downloading some applications that can help with their school work.

Here is a list of alternative options to a smart phone:

  • iPod touch: $229
  • Samsung Galaxy Player: $269
  • Song Walkman Z: $249
  • Philips GoGear Connect 3:$179
  • Kindle Fire: $199




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