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Another kids and phones thread


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But probably not what you think lol

DHand I each have a smart phone, and we have no home phone.  

Practically speaking, this works out fine.  But as the kids get older, I am thinking they need to be able to use a phone at home. For example, I will probably start teaching DD9 how to handle being home alone, sometime in the next year or two. I start slowly of course, with like a 5 minute walk around the block. But even for something like that, I would want her to have the ability to call me.  But if I have my phone, she doesn’t have one. 

Or, in an emergency sort of scenario, the ability for them to call 911 that isn’t dependent on digging my phone out of the black hole of my purse, remember how to access emergency calling without unlocking it, etc.  

And just in general, I kinda would like them to have the ability to call their grandma, or their sister, etc, when they want, without me having to give them my own (expensive to me) phone.  

I will not be getting Dd9 a phone any time soon.  So my question is for those who don’t give their kids phones until the kids are at least teens....what’s your solution for an at home phone for the sorts of situations I have described?  A home phone, like a landline?  An internet based phone?  A hone cell phone/dumb phone?  Something else?

 

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1 minute ago, regentrude said:

Why not get a simple, pre-paid, dumb phone and designate it as a home phone? Or get one for each kid? I don't understand what the problem would be.

Well that’s what I am asking.  Like does this work out well for people or does it end up getting lost a lot?  Is it more expensive than a regular landline? Or is there another option I am not thinking of?

The home we are moving to already has an actual landline corded phone on the wall in the kitchen. I am just trying to think of all options and what might work best for us. 

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Because I'm old, I would probably have a desk phone of some kind that stays in one place, like, you know, a desk phone. :-)

I cannot yet imagine a time when there is no such thing as telephones which don't belong to specific people and live in their pockets or purses when not in use. Surely our children need to know how to use  one.

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2 minutes ago, Ellie said:

Because I'm old, I would probably have a desk phone of some kind that stays in one place, like, you know, a desk phone. ?

I cannot yet imagine a time when there is no such thing as telephones which don't belong to specific people and live in their pockets or purses when not in use. Surely our children need to know how to use  one.

Oh they surely have experience using our phones already, and once I feel they are old enough will certainly get their own.  In the meantime, I would like them to have access to some sort of home phone.  Just trying to figure out what kind.  

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We have a landline. 

However, we also have a non-smart phone that is pay as you go (3 months for ten dollars from H2O wireless). It is our kids phone and lives in a drawer in the kitchen.  That could be a low cost option for you, too. 

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10 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Well that’s what I am asking.  Like does this work out well for people or does it end up getting lost a lot?  Is it more expensive than a regular landline? Or is there another option I am not thinking of?

The home we are moving to already has an actual landline corded phone on the wall in the kitchen. I am just trying to think of all options and what might work best for us. 

I don't like having no landline and don't plan to ever get rid of ours.

But a dumb pre-paid phone for emergencies is probably cheaper. Tracphone has phone+text for one year at $100. It keeps going up, though. A couple of years ago we were paying under $50 a year for phone+text. But still, that's cheaper than a landline. FYI, you can use these "dumb phone" plans on smart phone. It's much easier to text on an old iphone than a flip phone.

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4 minutes ago, freesia said:

We have a landline. 

However, we also have a non-smart phone that is pay as you go (3 months for ten dollars from H2O wireless). It is our kids phone and lives in a drawer in the kitchen.  That could be a low cost option for you, too. 

Ooh, that's a much better deal than I saw on tracphone. 

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We haven't had a landline in a bout fifteen years. So oldest DS was about seven and youngest about four when we got rid of it. We bought each of them dumb phones when they were old enough to stay home alone. Which also meant they were old enough to be going off to places w/o us, so a phone seemed sensible for those situations, too. But that was back in the day when it still wasn't uncommon at all for adults to have just a dumb phone. I don't know. If we were in the same situation now we might go ahead and get them smart phones. But we aren't anti-screens or even very leery of internet access for youngish kids.

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Either a dumb phone for the house, that has a designated space (so it doesn't get lost) or a landline.  

 

Since your new house has a corded phone, I'd investigate that option first. But that's just me.  The dumb phone would have the advantage of portability, or sending it with a child for an outing, or even taking it along if you're going someplace you're worried you might get separated (I don't know what this would look like for you, but our family goes to a lot of crowded spaces, and I felt better once DS had his own phone in case we were separated).

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Some states have free 911 access just plugging a phone into a wall socket.  Others do not.

If you get a VOIP plan make sure to register it with your local 911 service because VOIP may not be able to locate your child if you have not.

You can get a tile to put in the back of a regular cell phone case that will ring to locate the phone if you're worried about it getting lost.

Many of my friends get their kids a smart watch that works like a phone when they've decided they're old enough to leave their sight. They automatically answer the preprogrammed numbers and will alert you when your child leaves the area you designate as OK.  LG GizmoPal2 is the more popular one.  The only negative I've heard is that there are audio problems on bike rides or in high wind, which is true for all cell phones.  Strapped on, they are more difficult to lose.  They're also waterproof.  One of the models has 3-4 preprogrammed numbers, the other has like 10. There's also an option to text mom, "Come pick me up." The other positive thing I've heard about them is in group activities where overzealous adults confiscate phones from kids the watch isn't taken.

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Ds ended up with a cell phone as we had no landline by the time he was about 10. He bought the phone, we added him on our plan. He never loses things, so that was a non-issue. He had our numbers programmed in the phone. By the time he was old enough to be left alone, we'd explained the emergency procedures. Our address was memorized. We had an emergency list posted in the house - sheet with our address, our phone numbers, emergency contact, that type of stuff. 

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We are all comfortable with a kid/kids (depending on the kids) being home with no phone access for up to an hour or so.  I will run to the store and take my phone, and leave them with no phone.

Any time I go out with my husband, we leave my phone with the kids. 

We have practiced with them how to unlock and use the phone, and we have practiced calling them, and told them to call us. 

We're okay with that for now.

My oldest is not showing himself to be ready for a phone.

 

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We got a land line because it was cheaper to bundle with our internet package. 

We also got our kids dumb phones that are pay as you go. They can call or text us when they are at golf lessons or at swim practice. But they don’t have internet access or any apps. It’s worked very well. 

We don’t have a set rule st my house about kids and phones such as waiting until a certain age. We decided they needed a phone because they are often at swim practice or golf lessons without a parent present. And I want them to have the ability to contact me for any reason. So even though one child is 7, she has a dumb phone that she can take with her to swim meets or practices. 

My kids are 12, 10, 9, and 7 who use the phones. The younger two aren’t left home alone without one of the older kids but they all know how to call us or a neighbor. 

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We have a landline. We use it for all calls while at home unless it is not working  

 

We we only received cell service in our area recently. But I would not drop the landline and go to just cell for a number of reasons. 

 

I also became very disillusioned with tracfone when we discovered that my mom’s tracfone plan with one year prepaid in case of need in an emergency had had its phone number and around half its year of service, maybe more , triple minutes all unused , etc , given away by tracfone to someone else. There was apparently a sentence in the agreement one has to sign to get the service that says they can do that. 

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42 minutes ago, lexi said:

We got a land line because it was cheaper to bundle with our internet package. 

We also got our kids dumb phones that are pay as you go. They can call or text us when they are at golf lessons or at swim practice. But they don’t have internet access or any apps. It’s worked very well. 

We don’t have a set rule st my house about kids and phones such as waiting until a certain age. We decided they needed a phone because they are often at swim practice or golf lessons without a parent present. And I want them to have the ability to contact me for any reason. So even though one child is 7, she has a dumb phone that she can take with her to swim meets or practices. 

My kids are 12, 10, 9, and 7 who use the phones. The younger two aren’t left home alone without one of the older kids but they all know how to call us or a neighbor. 

 

Hmm I like this idea.  Who did you go with for the dumb phones for the kids? 

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1 hour ago, Cosmos said:

I don't like having no landline and don't plan to ever get rid of ours.

But a dumb pre-paid phone for emergencies is probably cheaper. Tracphone has phone+text for one year at $100. It keeps going up, though. A couple of years ago we were paying under $50 a year for phone+text. But still, that's cheaper than a landline. FYI, you can use these "dumb phone" plans on smart phone. It's much easier to text on an old iphone than a flip phone.

Yup.  We keep our landline for just such a thing.

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We have a landline that is VOiP. We also have had a “kids phone” for awhile. It’s an old smart phone that doesn’t have data on it.  We use TracFone for the phone plan. Now ds has a phone which is his although he doesn’t really use it for much. We have parental controls on them so we can either block the ability to use the Internet with wifi or we can see the history. 

 

 

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We have a landline.  There is no cell service here at home due to mountains.

My kids each have their own phone, starting when I left them at their activities for extended periods (~ age 10).  We have tracfone with decent smartphones.  We got the smartphones used a generation or two old - still ~$150-200 each.  The tracfone is less than $100/year/phone, which is worth it IMO for us to reach each other in emergent and convenience situations.

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We have a landline, because keeping it (as part of our TV/Internet bundle) is something like $4/month, we can have a phone on each floor so no one has to run up or down the stairs to answer the phone when it rings, our corded phone will continue to work in long power outages, etc. Our youngest will be getting a phone within the next year or two, but I suspect we'll keep a landline as long as we're in our house. 

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For any activities where my kids are dropped off, one, we barely do any drop off at young ages.  Sunday School is probably the most drop-off they do, and I wouldn't leave them with a phone in Sunday School in case they needed to get ahold of me.

Anything where I have left them I have a "Sunday School" level of trust that if they are upset and ask to call me, I will be called. 

I don't think that's unusual. 

Some kids I do think are more independent and do well with phones.  But it's okay to expect kids to ask to use a phone, too.

As far as activities ending at an unexpected time and needing to be picked up, a phone can be borrowed then, too.

Then it becomes very important for kids to know the parents' phone numbers, or make sure that someone at the activity has the phone numbers in their phone. 

But really, they should know the phone numbers, if it's the kind of activity where that might come up. 

So I do think, I see plenty of kids do very well with having phones at activities and contacting their parents as needed, totally independently, it's also okay if they are better off to ask someone to call their parents. 

 

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We have a VOIP line through Ooma. we have had it for nine years.  It costs s $5.21 per month and we have unlimited minutes anywhere in the country for that price. We plug the Ooma tell box in to a phone jack and  and we just use a 4 handset, cordless phone system in the other jacks in the house. It has worked perfectly for us. No one knows that it isn't a regular landline.  The sound quality is amazing. I like having a home phone.  

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We have Ooma just like retiredHSMom above.  That works great and is perfect for a land line and is so much cheaper than other options.  We don't use it a ton, but it is nice to have!  Both my kids have cells now and we still maintain it.  Cell phones die, ringers are off, they get left in the car.  I'm not good at listening for my cell when we're at home.  

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We have a cell phone designated as the house phone. I'll send it with one of the kids if they are on an outing, but for the most part it stays home. It will probably become one of the kids' phones as they get older, but for now it's the house phone.

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5 hours ago, umsami said:

Look into Ooma or Obihai or something similar.  (VOIP)  It will allow you to have a home phone, for a fixed cost.  

I kept my landline way longer than I should have because of the kid at home issue.  Had enough when the basic fee went to $39.00 per month and the only calls on that line were us checking on him.  Switch to OOMA  about 3 years ago and have absolutely no complaint with service.  Pricing on OOMA ranges from free to $20.00 or so per month.  I went with the $5/month option--- no particular reason other than I  did not the bare minimum service.  The only special equipment required is their device that you connect to your modem (must have internet connection)  and then you plug  your regular phone cable into that .  We are using  the same 5 phone wireless system that we used with the conventional landline, and  the only noticeable different is that  that there is a monetary pause before being able to dial out.  Otherwise more features than what I was getting at $39 per. 

eta; this includes free nationwide long distance, and possibly, but not sure, some international calls.  

 

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Just a heads up, that VOIP phones won't work in a power outage. So if you live somewhere where that is a common issue (storms in Florida make it fairly common) then you may not want to rely on that. A charged cell phone will work for hours in a blackout. 

 

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10 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Just a heads up, that VOIP phones won't work in a power outage. So if you live somewhere where that is a common issue (storms in Florida make it fairly common) then you may not want to rely on that. A charged cell phone will work for hours in a blackout. 

 

That is very true!  We do have 4 cells and we do keep a little power free charger on hand just in case so we're comfortable with it for the amount we use our land line.    We also keep chargers in our vehicles for the cells.  But that may be a consideration for some.  

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35 minutes ago, gstharr said:

Pricing on OOMA ranges from free to $20.00 or so per month.  I went with the $5/month option--- no particular reason other than I  did not the bare minimum service.  The only special equipment required is their device that you connect to your modem (must have internet connection)  and then you plug  your regular phone cable into that . 

 

I don't see these options on their website. I see "Basic Service" which looks like it's free after paying for the device and "Premier Service" which says it's $9.99 per month. Do you know where you saw the other options?

https://www.ooma.com/telo/

This whole concept is so intriguing to me (and kind of bewildering). We have DSL, so if we did something like this, I guess we would be using our phone line to get internet access and then using that internet access to make phone calls. And not using our phone line as a phone line at all. Weird, huh? Actually, I don't know if we can get DSL without also buying a phone service plan so it may be a moot point.

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4 minutes ago, Cosmos said:

I don't see these options on their website. I see "Basic Service" which looks like it's free after paying for the device and "Premier Service" which says it's $9.99 per month. Do you know where you saw the other options?

https://www.ooma.com/telo/

This whole concept is so intriguing to me (and kind of bewildering). We have DSL, so if we did something like this, I guess we would be using our phone line to get internet access and then using that internet access to make phone calls. And not using our phone line as a phone line at all. Weird, huh? Actually, I don't know if we can get DSL without also buying a phone service plan so it may be a moot point.

Basic is free, but you have to pay taxes, which in my area has varied  between $5.11 and $5.40 for the last nine years.  We plug the Ooma telo into our phone jack and the cable modem line and then plug the phones into the phone jacks, so in a sense we are still using the "phone line". We have a cable modem and we get internet only from our cable provider.  They call once a year or so trying to sell me phone or cable TV but I always refuse.

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10 minutes ago, retiredHSmom said:

Basic is free, but you have to pay taxes, which in my area has varied  between $5.11 and $5.40 for the last nine years.  We plug the Ooma telo into our phone jack and the cable modem line and then plug the phones into the phone jacks, so in a sense we are still using the "phone line". We have a cable modem and we get internet only from our cable provider.  They call once a year or so trying to sell me phone or cable TV but I always refuse.

This is how it works for us. DH, who is an engineer, researched eveything thoroughly when we have up our regular land line, and decided this was the best option. I have no complaints.

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Sorry, I have not looked at the ooma site since I joined 3 years ago. I don't know current promotions.   As to how we did it:  Disconnected all telephone company service.  Had TWC (now Spectrum) bring in a dsl line (dsl only, no phone service).  Got upgraded speed, but not the top dsl package.  Hooked OOMA into TWC dsl.  So, we  pay for TWC dsl + OOMA.  This gives us dsl internet, and ooma voip national telephone service.  Still way cheaper than any  phone/internet  package available in our area.   BTW, true will not work in a power outage, but we have three cell phones on hand. 

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6 minutes ago, retiredHSmom said:

Basic is free, but you have to pay taxes, which in my area has varied  between $5.11 and $5.40 for the last nine years.  We plug the Ooma telo into our phone jack and the cable modem line and then plug the phones into the phone jacks, so in a sense we are still using the "phone line". We have a cable modem and we get internet only from our cable provider.  They call once a year or so trying to sell me phone or cable TV but I always refuse.

Ah, taxes. That makes sense.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the technology part of this. The phone conversation is actually traveling in packets through your internet connection, right? It doesn't go through the standard telephone network at all. Well, at my house where we're using DSL, it would because all internet traffic goes through the phone line. But in your case, you are getting cable internet, so internet traffic goes through a completely different piece of wire (the cable connection). So why does the phone need to plug into the phone jack? I understand that it needs to connect to some sort of adapter to change the signal to digital, but then it needs to get onto the internet, not the telephone network.

Oh, I just had a thought. It's so all the phones in the house can be connected? It doesn't actually connect out to the outer telephone network. It's just using the phone lines in the house to link phones together. Is that right?

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12 minutes ago, gstharr said:

Sorry, I have not looked at the ooma site since I joined 3 years ago. I don't know current promotions.   As to how we did it:  Disconnected all telephone company service.  Had TWC (now Spectrum) bring in a dsl line (dsl only, no phone service).  Got upgraded speed, but not the top dsl package.  Hooked OOMA into TWC dsl.  So, we  pay for TWC dsl + OOMA.  This gives us dsl internet, and ooma voip national telephone service.  Still way cheaper than any  phone/internet  package available in our area.   BTW, true will not work in a power outage, but we have three cell phones on hand. 

See, this is how behind the times I am. I didn't even know we could get DSL from other companies besides the phone company. That's physically a new line to your house? Wow. I will be investigating options in my area!

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7 minutes ago, Cosmos said:

Ah, taxes. That makes sense.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the technology part of this. The phone conversation is actually traveling in packets through your internet connection, right? It doesn't go through the standard telephone network at all. Well, at my house where we're using DSL, it would because all internet traffic goes through the phone line. But in your case, you are getting cable internet, so internet traffic goes through a completely different piece of wire (the cable connection). So why does the phone need to plug into the phone jack? I understand that it needs to connect to some sort of adapter to change the signal to digital, but then it needs to get onto the internet, not the telephone network.

Oh, I just had a thought. It's so all the phones in the house can be connected? It doesn't actually connect out to the outer telephone network. It's just using the phone lines in the house to link phones together. Is that right?

In the old days, take a basic hand held telephone unit.  there is a cord connected to the back of the phone, and the other end of the cord would get connected to the telephone wall jack to hook to telephone company system.    Now for ooma, take the other end of that old telephone unit , and plug it into the ooma device to connect to your dsl internet.  in my case, the base unit for the our 5 phone cordless system is plugged into the ooma.   the regular telephone wall jacks collect dust in our set up.  works great. 

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6 minutes ago, gstharr said:

In the old days, take a basic hand held telephone unit.  there is a cord connected to the back of the phone, and the other end of the cord would get connected to the telephone wall jack to hook to telephone company system.    Now for ooma, take the other end of that old telephone unit , and plug it into the ooma device to connect to your dsl internet.  in my case, the base unit for the our 5 phone cordless system is plugged into the ooma.   the regular telephone wall jacks collect dust in our set up.  works great. 

That makes perfect sense. That's how I was expecting the set-up would be. So I was confused by the poster above who said that they still plug their phones into their wall jacks. I'm just curious, that's all.

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I heard of people connecting the ooma to their old telephone wires so that could still use the existing house jacks. Probably not difficult, but will need some playing with.    I did not explore that options because of  the 5 phone cordless system we use inside.  Just have to plug the base unit into ooma.

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1 hour ago, Cosmos said:

That makes perfect sense. That's how I was expecting the set-up would be. So I was confused by the poster above who said that they still plug their phones into their wall jacks. I'm just curious, that's all.

Yep, we just use the phone jacks and wiring that is built into the house to distribute the Ooma signal. We do not have a cable outlet in the kitchen where I wanted the main telephone base unitl to go so the Ooma telo unit is in the basement. It distributes the signal through the house using the phone jacks.

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1 hour ago, Cosmos said:

 

Oh, I just had a thought. It's so all the phones in the house can be connected? It doesn't actually connect out to the outer telephone network. It's just using the phone lines in the house to link phones together. Is that right?

Exactly

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8 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

Oh they surely have experience using our phones already, and once I feel they are old enough will certainly get their own.  In the meantime, I would like them to have access to some sort of home phone.  Just trying to figure out what kind.  

I don't mean experience using a cell phone. I mean an actual desk phone, not a cell phone, something with a handset and a cradle to put it on when it's not being used.

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8 hours ago, Ellie said:

Because I'm old, I would probably have a desk phone of some kind that stays in one place, like, you know, a desk phone. ?

I cannot yet imagine a time when there is no such thing as telephones which don't belong to specific people and live in their pockets or purses when not in use. Surely our children need to know how to use  one.

 

At my last house there was no-- repeat zero-- option for a landline. DH was gone a lot and it contributed to my own feelings of worry that the kids couldn't reach out to anyone excpet the neighbors (who did thankfully pull through for us, BTW, when we needed them)... like super duper big time! 

 

OP I am about to get a flip phone for the home. It's annoyingly expensive TBH. But peace of mind etc. 

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