Brought to you by Optus
All of a sudden, I feel like there’s been a shift in our family life I’m grappling to keep up! With two tweens and two teens, enabling my children’s growing independence within the confines of our busy family life is continually challenging. I admit to struggling with finding the balance. It’s hard as a mum, when you want (and need) your children to pursue independence but can’t help but worry too.
To assist in this interesting stage, having a phone for the children has proven to be useful for both facilitating our family life and giving me peace of mind. I’ve been looking at different phone models because we have two children who require phones this year.
First, I’m noting some of the challenges we’ve had with phone models in the past:
- Tried a hand-me-down phone last year, however the technology was old and wasn’t usable. For example, the handset didn’t actually ring and battery life was short.
- Used a traditional mobile phone (ie, not a smart phone) for the year our family were in New Zealand, but found the handset was not user friendly for texting and other requirements we needed.
- Trialled a shared phone between our two teens, however their schedules are so varied, we found one phone wasn’t enough.
Now the year is off to a start, the busyness is picking up as we are again relying heavily on communication within our family unit. For example, at the shops recently, my girls and I did various back-to-school errands before arranging to meet back up again. They enjoyed the adventure and freedom, and I got to smash through my to-do list quickly. Win-win.
As I look ahead to 2017, there will be times our teens will need to make their own way home of an afternoon and having a phone is imperative. Plus there’s after school training events, babysitting jobs, summer fun at the park, arranging pick-ups from friends and the list goes on. Even as I write this, I wonder how it all happened. In those early years, it was full on with nappies and sleepless nights, and yet now my ones seem to be a blush away from adulthood, there are new challenges to confront. Just the other day I said to my husband, “When did it happen? When did they all grow up?” I feel like a switch has been flicked and I’m not sure I’m ready! Without appearing too clingy, being able to stay in contact with my children has really helped me during this transition phase and I find myself embracing it with confidence.
When you get to the stage when you rely on the ability to communicate with your children to assist with family life, the next questions are what phone, and what plan? Finding a plan and handset that is right for a family comes down to what you need. From our experiences in the past, I knew what I was looking for in a phone, mainly these features:
- Affordable handset
- Long battery life
- Tracking ability
- Simple plan
I’ll highlight three suitable phone models from Optus here. We have settled on the ALCATEL Pixi 3.5” handset for our kids because it suits our needs well, especially the affordable outlay.
1. ALCATEL Pixi 3.5”
This is a great value smart phone. The handset is light and compact, it boasts a decent battery, plus there’s the option to use a microSD card for extra storage. It’s a fun one for the kids too; there’s a camera and the ability to use android apps and web browsing. At just $59 from Optus, it’s so cheap! Find out more about this particular handset here: ALCATEL Pixi 3.5.
- 3.5” display
- FM Radio
- Small and Lightweight
- Up to 6.5 hours talk time / 360 hours standby
2. 4G ZTE ZIP
The 4G ZTE ZIP is another good option for affordability. The screen is a little bigger and camera better quality than the Alcatel. The handset is available from Optus for $79. Find more about this handset here: 4G ZTE ZIP.
- 4” display
- 5MP camera
- Up to 4GB storage
- Up to 4 hours talk time / 230 hours standby
3. 4G Optus X Sleek
If you want a high quality phone that compares to an iPhone, the 4G Optus X Sleek has the processing ability without the hefty costs. The handset retails at $179 and you can find more about it here: 4G Optus X Sleek
- 13MP rear with dual tone flash and 5MP front camera
- 5″ HD display
- Fingerprint sensor
- Sleek modern design
- Up to 13 hours talk time / 400 hours standby
In terms of phone plans, Prepaid is often a good option with tweens and teens because there’s the obvious limit controls so you won’t be surprised with a lofty bill! I think it can also teach children about budgeting their usage. Below are a few simple plans to consider for this age group:
My Prepaid Long Expiry – $10
If you recharge by 2 April 2017, you can get 186 days credit expiry for just $10. This one is perfect for simply keeping in touch. More info here.
My Prepaid Ultimate – $30
An all-rounder, you get plenty of the essentials for using your smart phone like data, calls, text & music. More info here.
- 3GB Anytime data + up to 15GB data rollover when you recharge before expiry.
- Unlimited standard national calls, SMS and MMS
- Enjoy data free streaming on Spotify, Google Play Music, Pandora and iHeart Radio (offer ends 16/07/17)
- 28 Days expiry
Family life isn’t going to get any simpler for us in the short term. I know it. If there is something I’ve learned over these past 15 years of parenting, you have to move with the stages as they come and adapt with the changing needs of family life. I’m grateful for technology tools that serve to make it doable.
Coordinated by Nuffnang
** All phone and plan pricing valid as at 23/01/17. Fair Go Policy applies.