SheHeroes!

June 7, 2011

By Daniel Neal

As a parent, I try to keep on the lookout for new sites for kids that look interesting.  I just came across an excellent one, SheHeroes.  Their short videos on accomplished women role models are very well done.

I wasted no time sending this link to my 12-year-old daughter.  I thought others might like to know about it, too.  Nice work, SheHeroes!

kajeet – the safest cell phone for kids

by Carol Politi

kajeet was profiled on NBC’s South Florida Today in a segment on quality products for kids.  Several great kid products were reviewed by Sharon Vinderine of PTPA Media – check it out!

by Carol Politi

Consumer Reports just did an analysis of the Best and Worst Cell Phone Deals. Their takeaway: “A Two Cell Phone Family Could Save $220 Per month By Going Prepaid”. They also noted that prepaid allows you to cut your expenses by decreasing usage and changing plans when you happen to need your phone less or if you want to decrease expenses any one month. Of course, I’m not unbiased – at kajeet we have always been advocates of no contract plans – especially for kids whose usage tends to be moderate.

The message is getting out – more than 45% of new mobile subscribers this year are predicted to be prepaid (Strategy Analytics). However, there is still a perception by many that the extra family plan line costs only $10 per month. The reality is that second lines cost an average of $35/month (iGr Research did a detailed analysis of this when they studied kid phone use). Why? The $10 is just the carrier service fee. It turns out that carriers actually give you fewer minutes with a family plan than they give you with an individual plan. Let’s say you have been paying $59 for your individual plan. In many contract plans you would receive 900 minutes. Move to a contract family plan and you are paying 69.99 for 700 minutes – that’s $10 more for 200 less minutes. If you really needed those minutes you would have to move up – but the next plan you can get is actually the 1400 minute plan that costs $89.99!

So families add a cell phone but actually get fewer minutes for a higher price. And contract plans encourage “supersizing” as they have overages charges that are expensive and costly. So families end up not using all their minutes every month. On top of this you incur taxes, line fees, and charges…

No wonder many people are moving to prepaid. On a prepaid plan, when the budgeted allowance is used up, the phone no longer works. This is great for budgeting and why almost 40% of parents buy prepaid phones for their kid’s first phone.

Good for budgeting, but a significant downside when you are talking about a safety phone for kids. That is why the kajeet service offers two “wallets”. One – the kid wallet – can be used to set a budget with your kids. The second – the parent wallet – can be used to pay for calls and texts to and from parent numbers so that these always go through.

Also – with kajeet there are no expensive overages and no extra fees assessed – what you see on the price plan is what you see on the bill. And if you do purchase a pak and run out of minutes, you simply pay the standard 10 cents per minute.

A bit of a sales pitch today! I am happy to see Consumer Reports assess cell phone contract plans and become a prepaid advocate. What is holding you back from considering a prepaid plan?

Smartphones Making Kids Dumb?

February 13, 2009

by Carol Politi

Advertising Age published an article tackling the issue of whether technology is making our kids dumb. There is a real fear that technology of all sorts – phones, social & gaming networks, etc. – will drive a new generation of kids that don’t read, can’t write, and that do not understand how to socially interact with other kids and adults.

Completely avoiding new technology is difficult – the world does move on. And in the case of cell phones, it is often more difficult for parents to deal with the loss of a cell phone than it is for their kids. However, I think we all struggle with how to ensure safe and appropriate limits.

One way to increase safety and set limits is through tools. I just had a discussion today about the fact that you can almost always make any technology safer by going into “settings” on the application. kajeet phones come with tools for parents and kids that are extremely useful in setting limits – and that can help keep kids away from inadvertent trouble (e.g., that phone that rings during school or friends that do think it is OK to call at 3AM).

However, these tools and controls are also useful to help drive a conversation with kids about limits and appropriate use. I think this conversation may be even more important than the controls themselves.

How much should be spent each month? Go to the kajeet WalletManager with your child and discuss budgets and allowances. When should the phone be available for use? Go to TimeManager and discuss the use of the phone during school hours and after certain hours of the night. Not ready for instant or picture messaging on the mobile? Discuss which services are appropriate (and turn off the ones that are not in FeatureManager).

The purchase of a first phone is a milestone in most kid’s lives – and they are at an age where they can collaborate with their parents to set up rules for appropriate use. We may find that most kids, if asked, will set their limits more stringently than their parents.

Let us know how you introduced limits and responsible use with your child’s first phone.

Jacque Wilson wrote an interesting piece for CNN highlighting some things to know about getting your kid a cell phone. This is one of those topics that will never really go away – a new crop of parents faces this question every year. Why get your kid a cell phone, and at what age? Based on feedback at kajeet, safety and convenience seem to be the key drivers.

Our customers are often first time phone users heading to their first sleepovers, going to movies at the mall, taking class ski trips on Friday nights, and traveling with sports teams on the weekend. We see phone purchases peak during the life-stage events – graduation and back to school – and at Christmas when parents often give a gift reflective of their kid’s growing maturity. Regardless of age, and whether for security or a ride home, phones have clearly become essential for many families. And while the drivers for getting a phone may vary broadly, what is constant is the desire for the controls and limits that allow families to tailor the cell phone service for their kids.

The most popular tools are those that support budgeting and allowances, and those that allow parents to monitor calls and text messages for safety purposes. Close behind are the calendar function that makes sure the phone can’t be used during school, and access control to shut off services that don’t make sense for a particular family or kid. Kids often like these tools just as much as parents – what kid does not want to block text messages coming from a bully?

What tools are the most essential for your family? We would love to hear your feedback – it will help us make sure the kajeet service is right for even more kids.

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