Cell Phone Plans for Kids

There are different plans that are catered toward families and children.

Many families go with—you guessed it—the family plan. This is better suited for older children. These typically offer bundles of shared minutes (usually starting at 550) for two primary lines, and can run anywhere from $59.99 on up to $189.98, depending on how many features and minutes you’re looking for. Each additional line for kids will typically cost around 10 bucks, but we’ve seen them as high as $89.99 for plans with unlimited minutes.

Insurance might also be a good idea, and will typically add another $4 to $5 a month. (Some insurance plans guard against cell phone damage and even loss, but be sure to read the fine print. For example, some plans don’t cover a phone damaged by water.) The downside to family plans is that it’s more difficult to monitor minutes.

Another option is getting your child a pre-paid phone card, or pre-paid disposable phone, which will alleviate the stress of watching a child (or teen) drop it for the nth time. Hop-on, which created the very kid-friendly Chitter-Chatter phone, also offers a couple of disposable phone options. The very basic HOP1900 ($20) is made for younger children and has a GPS option as well as many features of a “real” cell phone. The sleeker tween-approved HOP1800 is even cheaper at only 10 bucks, although it doesn’t have phonebook or texting options. The Hop-ons are prepaid (no contracts), and when the time is used up you can toss it out or recycle is with Hop-on for a $5 rebate.

Parents can also set up their own “family plan” by adding minutes for good behavior or grades, and keeping older children in the loop on costs.

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