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Worried Parent needing advice about teen phone

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by s2android, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. s2android

    s2android Member
    Thread Starter

    hi guys,

    my kid is about to become a teen and he has been asking for a phone for a while and complains that his friends are always showing off with their phones. I held back as much as I could as I know it's not a good thing for youngsters with all the bullying going on, but now that his birthday is coming up, I think it is the right time, because I feel if I don't get him one, he'll simply get it secretly.

    I would be grateful if you could help me:-

    1. choose an android phone (budget

    1. Download the Forums for Android™ app!


  2. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    As a parent, and been through this let me make a couple of observations.

    1st, buy a rugged phone. It's going to take a lot of punishment in a kid's pocket. If you are looking for one on contract
  3. s2android

    s2android Member
    Thread Starter

    thanks very much for your informative reply lunatic89.

    he wants an android phone and i don't know what to get...i would go with a contract, but then that means the risk of massive phone bills...nah i want to stick with payasyougo...any recommendations?
  4. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Is his primary interest calls and messaging? Social networking? Apps and games? Tinkering (rooting and modifying) ... if he want's it all, it can get pricey.

    I would stick with a brand name device, even though there are a good number of inexpensive no-brand imports simply for warranty and support issues.

    Good starter phones might be the Samsung Galaxy Y or the Orange San Francisco. Generally I like Samsung phones better, but the Y has a smaller screen and some games won't be able to run on it.

    EDIT: Before you decide on a model it would be a good idea to pop into the forums for the models you are considering and ask the users if they are happy (and if they think a teenager would be satisfied with it.)
  5. wyndslash

    wyndslash Android Expert

    Or you could just get him a dumb phone first
  6. hadoman

    hadoman Newbie

    As a teenager myself, currently 15, though 16 in like 4 days, I would be fine with any phone that has a good screen. Reason why is because well, games, applications and basically everything looks good on a big or at least a medium sized screen.

    About the tracking device, I would feel a little worried, or would feel like my parents don't trust me kind of relationship, but it depends. If I were you I would put it on there without telling him, but then again if he finds out, you have some explaining to do.
  7. s2android

    s2android Member
    Thread Starter

    thanks very much guys for your help.

    @ lunatic - i was thinking of any android or even windows phone that can have some form of tracking software

    @ wyndslash - i don't know what that is

    @ hadoman - your right, but thats because your 15, turning 16, but he is only 12 turning 13 and it's his first phone, so just like a parent would have some form of controls on a PC to keep an eye on their child to make sure they are safe, then i too would like to do the same on mobile.

    Also guys, other than a phone, what software(s) would you recommend to allow me to keep a log of phone activity?

    Thank You
  8. TgeekB

    TgeekB Well-Known Member

    I don't know, I may be different than a lot of people here, but if you feel you have to put tracking software on your childs phone, it sounds like you are saying they are not yet ready to have one. I understand your concern with keeping them safe (I have raised 2 daughters). Perhaps a dumb phone is the first step and, if he proves he can habdle it, move to a smartphone in a year or two.

    For instance, we gave our daughters pay as you go phones until they proved they wouldn't rack up charges then switched them over to our plan. JMHO.
  9. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Check with your carrier. I know that mine (AT&T) offers tracking on all phones on a family plan for a few dollars and I can log on and see all calls and texts made in a given month on all the phones (Just time and number, not the content). They also can restrict individual phones as far as access so you can prevent unnecessary charges.
  10. FoxtrotOscar

    FoxtrotOscar Lurker

    If you want tracking of the Android phone, I suggest "Lookout", which can allow the phone to be tracked, disabled remotely, and also sent an instruction to make it unusable and emit an audible alarm. All very useful if you worry about theft or mislaying the phone. Its not a "stealth" application, it shows on the task bar, but once installed it requires a password to uninstall/disable. It may even still be active in some form after a hardware reset (otherwise it would be too easy to circumvent).

    I have no recommendations for which model though, but gsmarena.com will probably give you all the technical specs of anything you are interested in.
  11. FoxtrotOscar

    FoxtrotOscar Lurker

    Oh, Lookout is free (or there is a pay-for upgrade available), and lets you manage the device from a web page.
  12. Mayhem

    Mayhem Android Expert

    As a parent of a soon-to-be 12yr old, I'll be installing tracking software on my D3 when I give it to him in December (I'm going back to my TBolt now that it's got ICS.) My wife bought him a "dumb" phone and if it has a program that can be installed on it to do the same, that's getting it as well.

    It's not a matter of trust, it's a matter of his safety and the ability to locate the phone if it's lost.
  13. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Just out of curiosity ... will you be telling him it's on there? That's where I see the trust issue coming in. As I said to the op, if he knows it's a condition of having the phone in the first place, then it gives him the opportunity to build trust. And demonstrate responsibility.
  14. Mayhem

    Mayhem Android Expert

    Yes. He'll be made aware of it. We'll likely add the $9.99/mo Family Locator option.
  15. Dieselbud

    Dieselbud Well-Known Member


    I bought the pay as you go dumb phone for my 12yo, and when it was given to her it was not a gift, but for my own piece of mind. She got a $25 plan (canada) that allowed for unlimited calls between 3-7pm with free weekends and unlimited texting. She was told that she had to prove responsibility if she wanted to keep it with her at all times, any deviance from my rules meant she only got it when she was away from home and I chose to give it to her.

    The phone cost $59 and came with a $50 credit for Bell.

    After almost a year I upgraded to a newer (still dumb flip) phone and put it on my contract (same price, same plan but has family calling and 5 additional numbers we could add for free).

    I don't know any 12-13yo with smart phones, all my DD's friends have dumb phones with the same type of rules. They can text each other all day long and I can call her or she can call me if she is out.

    My 10yo bought herself an ipod with her own money. ALL her friends have ipods and they text each other all day long using wifi at home. She also uses the dumbphone if she is away from home and might need to call me.

    I do not see any need for 'apps' for a 13yo. If she needs one, we have 3 ipods, an ipad and 4 computers at home.
  16. itsallgood

    itsallgood Android Expert

    Everyone has given really good advice. Me and my wife have an 18, 16 and 14 yrs old. We started our teens off with a dumb phone, to which they still have now. We encoraged our kids to use our land line to call friends, that way we can keep track as to who they are talking to. Even though we have unlimited text for our family, we still placed a text limit for each. We are on AT&T which has smart limits. We can check who they are text/calling. Set times when they can make phone calls/send text to none emergency numbers. (Which would be me, my wife and the grand parents are by pasted during restricted times.) We set up rules for them that the phones use are for me and my wifes peace of mind and more for emergency purposes. (Even though we know they use it mostly for them selves.) As they show they can take care of the phone, and get a job, they can upgrade to a smart phone and pay for the data them selves.

    If you do get a smart phone, you can down load a lock app. that will lock out apps on the cellphone needing a pin to use it. You can down load SMS backup, which saves a copy of text, pictures, MMS sent and received to an email acct. So you can check text messages from your computer or mobile device. (I use both on my phone, and they work well.)

    Kids today are opened up to a lot of bad things with personal cell phones, that you would never know about. If you feel that concerned about them having one, and if they don't need it, then just tell them no. (We did at some point) Don't by into that statement all parents hear, "all my friends have one."

    Hope this helps.
  17. s2android

    s2android Member
    Thread Starter

    Thank you very much for your brilliant advice guys.

    @ TgeekB - Thanks for the advice. I'm sorry, but everyone is different and as a parent you know your child best. I know that by not keeping a track of his activity, i won't know what he's doing - yes, it's true that he could wipe the app, but I'll find out very quickly. Anyway, I'm looking for answers on software, so i would be most grateful if we could stick to that subject.

    @ Lunatic - I live in uk, so i don't think there is any carrier doing such a thing as tracking etc.

    @ Foxtrot - I'm not looking to track his movements...it's more about making sure he's not messing about at school, when he should be concentrating on school work or to make sure that he is safe from bullying etc. I need a problem (PREFERABLY HIDDEN) to log his activity, i.e. text messages, calls, programs, chat etc.

    @ Mayhem & dieselbud - what do you mean by a dumb phone? what program are you using?

    @ itsallgood - i was thinking of getting the ipod, but can you make calls with ipod?
  18. nigsy

    nigsy Android Enthusiast

    My son is 11. I got him an old HTC Hero off of Ebay for
  19. s2android

    s2android Member
    Thread Starter

    thanks nigsy - as said, i'm not trying to track where he goes...it's more about what he does on his phone...a bit like a key/event logger.
  20. Wilkas

    Wilkas Android Enthusiast

    S2 I've heard you can get capped contracts on tesco mobile that are marketed towards parents, might be worth looking into.. also with a contract phone you would be able to check the account online to make sure he isn't using it when he isn't supposed to be.
  21. s2android

    s2android Member
    Thread Starter

    thanks for that wilkas - never heard of a capped contract and even checked tesco site.

    what about key/event logging application?
  22. crookadile

    crookadile Newbie

    s2android, what the Americans call DUMB PHONE is what we English call bog standard mobile phone.
  23. s2android

    s2android Member
    Thread Starter

    cheers crookadile - nah, i'm looking for a bit more.
  24. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    Yeah, some of the Americans seem to think that the Nokia Asha s40 phones and the non-Android Samsungs are still smartphones.
  25. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Dumb Phone :)


    Smart Phone :D


    Ridiculous Phone ;)

    s2android and Rachel A like this.

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