While I don’t think Jayden is completely ready for a cellphone, we entertained the idea… for certain situations including emergencies. When he first started at his new school, he was having issues after dismissal. The positioning of where the kids stand for pickup makes it hard for them to see their parents’ vehicles until they are actually at the front of the line. On some days, Jayden would become upset because he couldn’t see Daddy. He eventually developed some patience… an actual complete 360.
Instead of worrying about when he’d be picked up, he started using dismissal as a second recess, in which he’d run off, out of sight. There are teachers watching the kids, but they can use a few more on duty. In these two situations, having a cellphone in his backpack would have come in handy. We would be able to call him after school as a way to calm him down and keep him focused. We could reassure him that we were on our way or in line and keep him from wandering.
With that in mind, we decided to check out Virgin Mobile’s Custom plan equipped with parental controls. We were provided with an LG Unify phone with service to put to the test. I’m no stranger to Virgin Mobile as I’ve used the service as a teen and later on in my adulthood. What’s neat about Virgin Mobile Custom is that the plan is totally customizable and can be managed from the parent’s iPhone or Android phone (regardless of service provider). Parent’s can set the amount of talk time, texts, and data usage per phone line. You can purchase a $50 monthly plan and allocate the funds accordingly. Plans start at $6.98 a month for 20 talk minutes and 20 text messages. Each additional line on your plan is another $6.98 a month.
From the Virgin Mobile Custom App (installed on parent’s phone), parents can make adjustments and access the parental controls for all devices on the account. There’s an option to restrict talk/text and the usage of data and apps at certain times of the day. So if a child is in school, they won’t be able to “play” on their phones if that is your preference. I love the idea of being able to monitor a child’s usage and protect them from the scary world of questionable content and cyber-bullying.
The LG Unify phone is a decent phone for a child or tween. After doing the necessary updates, it ran pretty smoothly. I’m obviously spoiled by my S5, but the LG Unify is a perfect and affordable introduction to the world of smart phones. It can be purchased for $129 (LG Pulse for $99), with plans starting at $6.98 per line/per month exclusively in Walmart stores and online at Walmart.com.
As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.