Very niche cell phone offerings are getting more popular.
Just as there is cell phone service targeted at seniors (i.e. Jitterbug and Consumer Cellular), we also have companies and features within carriers that are specifically formulated for parents and their kids.
Kajeet: Cell Phone Carrier for Kids
Kajeet, which is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses the Sprint network, targets plans for kids in a number of ways. First, it can teach kids responsibility.
Parents can decide who pays for what with WalletManager. As would be expected, limits can also be set for calls and text messaging. Parents and kids can decide when the phone can and can’t be used with TimeManager.
Using ContactManager, Kajeet can also help to keep kids safe by accepting the calls and texts parents want and blocking the ones they don’t.
As an additional service, Kajeet also allows parents to find their kids (via their phones) using GPS location tracking. Parents can even set automatic check-ins via GPS.
While many of Kajeet’s parental controls are free and unlimited with all of its plans, the optional GPS phone locator feature costs an additional $9.99 per month.
Kajeet offers a wide array of cell phones. Of 16 in total as of Nov. 2009, 6 are texting friendly and feature full keyboards.
Kajeet offers three primary prepaid wireless plans, which all come with no contracts, no activation fees and no termination fees: Basic, Special and Great Deal. With Kajeet, you can change plans at any time for free.
The Basic plan costs $4.99 a month and comes with just 10 voice minutes. Text messages are 10 cents each and additional voice minutes are 10 cents a minute. For $14.99 per month, the Special plan at Kajeet comes with unlimited texting, 60 voice minutes and additional minutes for 10 cents each.
Great Deal, which costs $29.99 per month at Kajeet, comes with unlimited texting, 300 voice minutes and additional minutes for 10 cents each. An additional unnamed plan costs $19.99 per month with 150 voice minutes and unlimited texting.
Kajeet also has a talk-only plan for $9.99 with 1,000 night-and-weekend minutes. This can be used from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Thursday and from 7 p.m. on Friday through 7 a.m. on Monday.
Kajeet pay-as-you-go service costs 10 cents per minute and 10 cents per text message with a daily access charge of 32 cents. For $4.99 per month, you can add 200 text messages to the pay-as-you-go plan or any talk plan. You can also pay $9.99 per month for 1,000 text messages or $19.99 for unlimited texting.
Kajeet’s buyers tend to be parents between the ages of 33 and 55 (mostly moms) who purchase prepaid phones for their kids between the ages of 8 and 16, according to Carol Politi at Kajeet. The Kajeet plans are uniquely designed for first-time cell phone users as well as more socially emerged and texting-centric teens.
AT&T’s ‘Smart Limits for Wireless’
Within AT&T, on the other hand, parents have access to a paid service called “Smart Limits for Wireless”. For a $4.99 monthly surcharge, the plan allows a parent to control many aspects of cell phone service for their kids.
Parents can access an online site and specify exactly who their kids can call and receive calls from, when calls can be made, the number of ringtones and downloads permitted, how many minutes per month are allowed and how many text messages can be sent.