National Consumers League


NCL Technology Issues

Your child's cell phone: Before you buy

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Girls looking at a cell phoneBefore beginning the shopping for a tween’s cell phone, ask yourself some basic questions to set expectations for your family.



  • Why does your child need a cell phone?
  • Will the phone be used primarily to stay in touch with parents and for emergency use? Or will your child be using the phone for entertainment or to communicate with friends?
  • How much to you want to spend per month on service?
  • How much do you want to spend on the initial purchase of the cell phone itself?
  • Is your tween mature enough to keep their minute use, texting and data within plan limits?
  • Is your tween mature enough to use the phone responsibly and avoid viewing or sending inappropriate content?
  • What is your tween’s school’s policy on cell phones in school?
  • Does your tween have a habit of losing things or can he or she handle the responsibility of caring for a phone?

Write out your answers to these questions and keep it with you when you shop. Having this list with you can help keep these important factors in mind when shopping for a cell phone. It will also help you stay focused when your tween inevitably starts to drool over phones that may not fit their and your needs.