Mobile phone contract for children – which one makes sense – prepaid or contract?

Mobile phone contract for children

Today’s children often have their own cell phone or smartphone. But at what age is such a device recommended and which contract models are possible? Problems that many parents have to bother with. We will show you the different children’s cell phone contracts and tell you what you should pay attention to when using your children’s cell phone. This way you avoid dangerous cost traps and can keep your children’s media usage under control.

When does a cell phone contract make sense for children??

According to the 2015 Bitkom study, 92 percent of children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18 have their own smartphone. This means that there is a certain social pressure when children do not have their own cell phones. However, educators recommend that you buy your child’s own smartphone at the earliest from the ninth birthday. Because only from this age are children able to deal responsibly with both the Internet and the concept of consumption costs. The optimal age for your own smartphone is between eleven and twelve years. If you want to buy a smartphone for your child, you have to think about a possible cell phone contract. Because the area of ​​cost control plays an important role.

Which mobile phone tariffs are suitable for children?

Basically you have the choice between three different contract models if you are looking for a suitable cell phone contract for your child. On the one hand there are the prepaid tariffs, which enable good cost control. On the other hand, classic term contracts, which are also suitable for adults. The third solution is special tariffs, which are precisely adapted to the needs of most children. Each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages. Which variant you choose also depends not least on the age of the child and his maturity.

Prepaid tariffs for children: the advantages and disadvantages

With a prepaid tariff, the SIM card of the smartphone is loaded with a certain amount in advance. This can be used for a wide variety of things (phone calls, SMS, mobile internet). Especially in the area of ​​prepaid tariffs, there is currently enormous competition between the different providers. For you as a customer, this means above all better conditions and more performance for your money.

    The advantages of prepaid tariffs:The biggest advantage is above all the good cost control with such a tariff. As parents, you determine exactly the maximum amount for the mobile phone bill in advance and thus allocate a fixed quota to your child. So you always have an overview of the costs. Your child must also learn to work with a fixed monthly budget and to divide it up skillfully.
    The disadvantages of prepaid tariffs:Unfortunately, there is one major disadvantage with a prepaid tariff. Once the credit has been used up, the smartphone can no longer be used. However, this means that your child can no longer call you in an emergency. Another disadvantage is the poor configurability of these tariffs. For example, you cannot turn off expensive value-added numbers or value-added services. With bad luck, the monthly credit is used up within minutes.

Prepaid tariffs are particularly suitable for younger children, as this simplifies cost control. No more money than previously agreed can be spent. As a parent, you should always pay attention to the credit on the card so that your child can still reach you in an emergency. A prepaid plan requires your parental attention.

Classic term contracts for children: advantages and disadvantages

A normal term contract is a cell phone contract as used by most adults. That means a number of advantages, but also dangers for your child. You should consider together in advance whether such a contract seems reasonable. Feel free to involve your child in the considerations, as this will make it much easier for you to explain the dangers and possibilities.

    The advantages of a term contract:With a long-term contract, you can usually use a cross-subsidized cell phone. So you do not have to plan any additional costs for a smartphone. You should bear this in mind when calculating the costs. The mobile phone companies also offer a whole range of options for you. In this way, you can block expensive value-added numbers and value-added services. This can avoid cost explosions. Depending on your child’s preference, further gradations can be made. If the child travels a lot on the Internet, for example, a correspondingly large data packet should be used. If many SMS are sent, most providers offer special packages for this.
    The disadvantages of a term contract:First of all, you are bound by such a contract to a provider and its terms for 24 months. If you do not cancel your tariff in time, the mobile phone contract will be extended by another 12 months. Another point of criticism strongly depends on the usage behavior of your child. Because there is no cap on the top of the calculation. If your child speaks a lot on the phone or sends text messages, the bill can quickly grow to uncomfortable levels. With little responsible use, the smartphone can become a debt trap. Talk to your child about this danger so that your child’s awareness of the problem is raised.

Term contracts are therefore particularly suitable for older children who are able to keep track of their own costs and adapt their own behavior. The telephone minutes and SMS used up to now can often be queried in the portals of the respective providers. Use this option especially at the beginning to be warned of cost explosions.

There are special children’s tariffs?

Some providers have special children’s tariffs on offer, which are offered both as a prepaid variant and as a term contract. These children’s tariffs are equipped with special functions and therefore offer a considerable advantage for children. On the one hand, with these tariffs, the phone numbers of the parents can be called at any time, regardless of whether there is still credit on the prepaid card or not. In addition, these tariffs offer various location options. In an emergency, you can locate your child’s cell phone with just one button in an emergency. This can be particularly advantageous for smaller children. Last but not least, it depends on your child’s habits whether such a tariff is suitable for you and your child. In any case, it makes sense to compare the different tariffs. Set up different cost examples to compare the amount of monthly costs.

Avoid cost traps in a targeted manner

Unfortunately, with prepaid tariffs only rarely possible, you should activate the so-called third-party lock for all term contracts. Because by calling value-added numbers, the telephone bill can quickly reach astronomical heights. WAP billing can also be a problem. By clicking on an advertising banner, your child can take out a paid subscription without being noticed. This is billed directly via the mobile phone provider and is later at a high cost in the phone bill. If these dangers are averted, you can leave your child with a smartphone in a much calmer way.

App Store & Co: You have to be careful here

The app store quickly becomes dangerous, especially for younger children. Because not only the various paid apps lurk here, but also apps that enable in-app purchases. For this reason, you should never permanently activate the app store for younger children, but rather keep control of the associated password. Agree with your child that apps can only be installed by parents. This is particularly useful for younger children, since they often cannot see the full extent of the costs involved. Instead of choosing a common payment method for older children in the app store, you can use credit cards here. These set a fixed budget and make it easier to control costs for apps and in-app purchases.

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Christina Cherry
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