The Great Cellphone Debate #VZWBuzz

familybaseIt’s hard being a social media mom.  I’m constantly on one device or another. My phone is never far from my reach.  My computer doesn’t not know what it means to be completely turned off.  I’m always on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, sometimes a little Pinterest.  So when my 7 year old, newly minted Kid Blogger, It’s So Ava, asks me for an iPhone, I struggle with a response.

Do I want her to have a cellphone?  But how does a Kid Blogger, blog without all her social media tools?  She’s asking for an iPhone so she can instagram and tweet, oh and of course Facebook.  She’s even appealed to the mom side of me, telling me all about her iPad Education curriculum at school and how GREAT it would be to play some of those “educational” games on her own iPhone.  She makes a good argument.

So the husband and I sat down to weigh the options.  Does she really need an iPhone?  Will an iPod Touch suffice? I was really leaning towards the iPod Touch after all I wanted to editorially edit (control) her feed.  Is there anything she really needs to post right away?  Isn’t that what #latergram is for?  My husband was all for the iPhone as long as the cost wasn’t prohibitive.  He thought it would be great if she had a phone for use in an emergency, ie. if she’s out with her aunt, etc., and we could track her too.  Which made me beg to ask, what kind of emergency does a 7 year old have?  Not to mention all the flurries of articles about online bullying and protecting children from online predators.  How could I ensure my daughter was safe in this unknown world?  Not to mention my friends telling me horror stories about their children downloading and purchasing apps galore to the tune of hundreds and hundreds of dollars!

22AvaHmphAt a recent Verizon Summit, I learned about Family Base, an amazing new feature that Verizon Wireless offers to help parents have a little more control over their children’s cellphone.  With this plan, you can monitor your child’s phone usage.  With a smart phone being the front runner for my daughter, I am thrilled to learn that Verizon is offering this service which solves many of my concerns.  Through this installed app, which has to be installed on all family devices, I can see who’s calling her, restrict who’s calling her and how long she is on these calls as well as text messages.  While I can’t see the actual messages or listen in on the actual conversations, this can be handy, especially combined with the time restrictions settings.  With this, I can set when she can use her phone or not, for example, locked when in school or after she goes to bed.  As she plans on using her phone as an educational tool, I like that I can see how long she is accessing certain apps and if education is what the phone is primarily being accessed for.  Every once in a while, kids can prove slicker than you, but I can remotely lock the phone if I feel the phone privileges are being abused.   One of the biggest benefits of Family Base is the limiting of mobile data usage.  As this is something usually only controlled on an account level, luckily this is a program made by Verizon Wireless!  There is no chance for overage charges.  Family Base is $5 per month and the first month is free.  You can cover up to 10 lines on the same account.  Yes, I can already imagine what Ava’s reaction to this will be, but hey, SAFETY FIRST!

So the great debate continues… but if and when my daughter gets a phone, you can bet we will be getting Verizon Wireless’ Family Base plan.

{ disclosure:  I am a Verizon Lifestyle Ambassador, I receive no compensation for my post, no discount on my service, I pay for my own plan and service. I just happen to love everything about Verizon and now there’s so much MORE to love!  }