image by kimberlybrimhall
I have always put my foot down when Maya has periodically asked for gadgets such as ipod, laptop, mobile phone and nintendo DS. We have resisted the temptations mostly, right up until her 9th birthday when we caved in and gave her Nintendo DS. This gadget has been a mixed blessing; Maya is sensible with it and will readily stop playing when I ask her to, but Ben, who is just 6 will play it all day if I let him.
Maya has pleaded for a mobile phone for years now and I have always seen it as unnecessary, both as an added expense and as a responsibility for Maya. I could imagine her losing the thing in the first week, and that would be the end of that!
But she will soon be turning 10 and in her next year of school will have a more independent life. I finally think that she is mature enough to use a phone responsibly and look after it. I think she understands that there is a certain etiquette that goes with having a mobile, such as turning the volume down in the cinema, not making prank calls and most importantly, not to give out her number to people she doesn't know.
A few of Maya's friends have what they call an 'emergency phone', which I think is a great compromise. The child understands that the phone is important for her own security but it is not to be misused to downloading music, chat endlessly to friends or call overseas. If the child is too young to understand the difference and to comply, then she is too young to have a phone.
SingTel's RedPAC supplementary plan is a great way to include your child's mobile plan into your own. It is a bundled package specially designed for families to share talk time and SMS, so that nothing is wasted. If I decide to allow Maya to have her own dearly-longed-for mobile phone, with this package our lines would be linked, so any talk time or SMS that I don't use gets passed on to Maya. We would also have an extra 1000 minutes free local calls between us, with an extra 150 free local SMS to any line, and free incoming calls to Maya's line.
The RedPAC subscription is only SG$8.56 (U.P SG$10.70) per month so I know it isn't going to throw my costs through the roof. I can also monitor her phone usage through SingTel's ebilling system, myBill. SingTel myBill lets me view online, the list of mobile numbers which she has called or SMS from her mobile line on a monthly basis. It also list down the duration of each calls and how many SMS she made to ensure that she is not misusing her phone. This will be very important as she needs to know that I am in control and that the phone is not a toy and she should use it responsibly.
For children who are responsible enough to use a phone, this is a great plan. It will be comforting to know that Maya can call me any time and that I can easily monitor her usage online. I can also add up to three RedPAC lines to my main line, so if and when I decide Ben is mature enough, he can be included too. I better not tell him that though!
Sign up for RedPAC from now till 31 August, 2009 and stand a chance to win Bay Grandstand tickets to the FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX for a family of 4 worth SG$1192.
For more information, go to www.singtel.com/redpac.