Parenting Blog

Growing Up and Growing Into Her First Phone

It’s a question our parents never had to field, because what child of the 80’s was clambering to carry around one of these bad boys? Awwwww yeah!!


No one. That’s who. No 10-year-old in the history of ever could be heard begging for one of those clunky bricks. We couldn’t access email (didn’t exist), download apps (didn’t exist), query Google (didn’t exist), text (didn’t exist), or upload a stupid video to Vine (didn’t exist). We could only make phone calls…and WHAT GOOD ARE THOSE?

We’re the first generation charged with raising uber-connected children. Fact. Best come to terms with it quickly because that’s the hand we’ve been dealt. We modern parents are blazing a trail that can be thorny and is overrun with an endless tangle of USB cables. Fortunately, there are those up ahead clearing some of the brush with technology that meets a child’s 21st-century demands while satisfying a parent’s desire to keep them safe.

My oldest girl isn’t quite 11-years-old, doesn’t ride the bus, isn’t latchkey, doesn’t live in a pineapple under the sea, and rarely asks to go anywhere without us: a cell phone isn’t something she needs. But during this holiday season, the Bear is experiencing the giddy joy of cell phone ownership with TracFone. She’s growing up and growing into her first phone. And I’m handling it, well, pretty well. Mostly.

TracFone LG Optimus Fuel Spongebob Squarepants Kids First Cellphone box

I’m sure it will become less frightening and more reassuring in time, but getting a call from my pre-tween daughter while she’s at the mall with a friend, is a modern parenting notch in my bed’s headboard (note: I don’t actually have a headboard). I’ve jumped that hurdle, albeit with a sourpuss expression on my face. I’m not sure I’m ready for this — the connectivity, the easy access to…stuff.

My mind is put mostly at ease thanks to the Family Guardian App that comes free for a year with the new SpongeBob SquarePants TraceFone Optimus Fuel™ Android™ smartphone (a $34.99 value). While she was around the corner at the mall, I logged onto the Family Guardian website to see, in real time, the texts, photos, and calls made and sent, downloads downloaded, and the exact GPS location of my girl, all with 2 clicks of my laptop’s trackpad. A little big brother-ish, yeah, I can admit that, but this safety net of a service isn’t something I intend to use every single time she is out with her TracFone, I never want to be that kind of helicoptering digital parent, but knowing that I can quickly pull up her TracFone deets and receive the peace of mind that she’s safe and only sending gibberish texts to the very friend she’s walking the mall with is a pretty good pill to keep my blood pressure in check.

The new TracFone LG Optimus Fuel™ Android™ smartphone is the perfectly modest size phone for the still-growing palms and short fingers of a typical pre-teen child, and its snappy Android operating system offers young users everything they could want: 3MP camera, access to the Google Play store, text messaging, email, Google voice search, and a voice recorder which is far and away the most popular feature in our house. In all fairness, the amount of storage space on the TracFone Optimus Fuel™ is tough to work with for a child who wants BOTH a good amount of music AND the capacity for goofy video-taking and a few visually intense apps. We’ve had to make hard choices already of that song vs. that video. Otherwise, this phone is a gem.

Pre Teen Using Tracefone LG Optimus Fuel 1st cell phone

TracFone functions without a contract which is wonderful for a family already locked into pricey cable, internet, smartphone(s), car payments, mortgage and all the rest of the standard recurring financial obligations. Instead, you buy chunks of time and data for the TracFone, which is something your child could earn through chores or save up their money to buy reinforcements of text time — putting the onus on them to earn their phone usage! Plans start at just $19.99 for 90 days. Brilliant.

TracFone LG Optimus Fuel Spongebob Squarepants Kids First Cellphone apps

If you’ve got a pre-teen on the verge of cellphone ownership, consider the TracFone LG Optimus Fuel™ Android™ smartphone this holiday season. The bundle, which comes with free Spongebob Squarepants apps, games, full-length episodes and earbuds, and is on sale for $29.99 (from $79.99!) through the end of the year. With no overages, no bills, and no worries thanks to the Family Guardian app, this TracFone phone proves a terrific and affordable way to give your child their first cellphone.

Wanna have some extra fun this holiday season? You and your kids can track Santa through the GPS in the jolly old elf’s phone. The crazy lads at Life of Dad will be sharing Santa-themed photos every day between now and Christmas, making it almost like you are actually tracking Santa by following the hashtag #TracSanta on social media. Super cool, right?

Disclosure: I have partnered and was compensated by Life of Dad, LLC and TracFone for this promotion.

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