Pre-teens and Smartphones: having a data plan comes with responsibilities.
22 Sep 2017
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Giving her more responsibility
At what age did you get your kid a cell phone?
Wendy and I got Rachel a cell phone last year, when she turned 11. We put her on a very basic plan, with no data. It was a great way to test her with a phone, and see how she did with the added responsibility. She got used to locating free wifi spots wherever we went. As well, when she wanted to use data, and there were no wifi signals around, Wendy or I would activate the hotspot on our phones to give her temporary access. She proved to us fairly quickly that she could be responsible with her own phone.
Not having reliable wifi when traveling
Over the summer, she had unlimited access to wifi. All of the campgrounds we stayed at had wifi except for one, and at that one, we gave her limited access to our hotspots. This was good as we were away camping and she still wanted to keep in touch with her friends. However, not all of the campgrounds had reliable wifi. Due to over-usage and streaming on the campgrounds’ network, it was tough for her to get enough signal to check email at times.
Accessing the cloud for school
Back to school brings some new challenges. Rachel’s school uses Google Drive and Google Classroom to share information with the students. This allows the students to collaborate with each other, and is a mechanism for them to hand in their assignments when it is completed. Using wifi is good, but having reliable data would be so much better for her.
When she is home, she has unlimited wifi with our Internet plan. But when we are remote, she relies on finding a reliable signal.
When we got back from camping, Wendy and I sat down with Rachel to discuss adding her to our Rogers Share Everything Plan. We talked about the importance of data management, and still using wifi whenever available. I mentioned that even though I have data on my cell phone, when I’m working from home, I keep wifi activated on my phone, so that I am not using data from our cellular plan. Wendy told Rachel that we would be monitoring her usage, both cellular and data, with an app. Once we felt she had a basic understanding of data management, Wendy and I added her to our phone plan.
Setting guidelines for data management
I love that there are so many apps available to keep my life organized. The more I can do on my phone, the better. When we were away in the US and using data a lot more than wifi, I used the MyRogers app to make sure that Wendy and I weren’t going over our allotted data.
I set an alert for Rachel’s usage if she goes over 2GB of data. This will let me go into the app and turn her data off if we feel that she needs to be restricted.
Personal management also means not being anti-social
Wendy and I have always said that we are trying to raise good human beings. We really want Rachel to understand that she needs to be aware of how she is using her phone. If she is using up her data with streaming or games, then she won’t have the data when she really needs it for something important. She knows that she can have access to social media and the internet as long as she is using it responsibly.
We don’t want her being anti-social or rude by being on her device in front of family and friends. Knowing when it is appropriate to use or not to use her phone is also essential in helping her to become responsible, and making sure she is not alienating herself.
Knowing it’s all a learning process
We will continue to monitor her data usage over the next few months, and see how she does with her new responsibility. We know that with guidance and support from us, Rachel will learn to be a responsible cell phone owner.
Disclaimer: I am a Rogers social insider. All opinions are my own.
Craig is a husband, a father, team leader, travel and food writer, senior youth group coordinator, designer, brander, community builder, volunteer, and social media strategist. Craig likes to travel, go camping, go on road trips, watch movies, build stuff, operate the grill, and sing with his band. Craig is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada. In June 2017, PR firm Cision identified Craig as one of Canada’s top 10 most popular male bloggers in the parents and family space.