Cell Phones and Preteens

 *This post contains affiliate links.

You might be wondering why a mom, who has said no to social media for her children, would have such a lenient view about preteens and cell phones. 

I'm going to admit something even more surprising - my preteen has a SMART phone. 

Before you start getting upset with me, stick with me through this post. I have found something truly WONDERFUL for my child (for our family, really) and I want to share it with you. You might decide this is something YOU would like for yourself!

I'd like to paint the picture for you that explains my reasoning behind this smart phone decision, and then I want to share with you a wonderful find my husband made in the world of CONTROLLED cell service for kids.

*Disclosure: I am not being compensated for this post in any way. I love the service we have found for my daughter and I am trying to let all of my friends know about it. 

The Need For a Cell Phone

We haven't had a home phone in several years. Paying all of that money each month when my husband I both have a cell phone is ridiculous.

In the past year my children have been able to say home by themselves for short periods of time.  My daughter flew by herself to New York to stay with my sister. We have had many situations where we discovered it would be beneficial if my daughter had a way to communicate with us. 

As the babysitting jobs started rolling in, we also knew Anna needed to have a cell phone.

At first we contemplated an extra disposable phone just for these times and circumstances. 

Then, we researched adding a phone to our current cell plan. The cheapest rate (for a dumb phone) we could come up with was $35/month. That wasn't happening. 

We also had concerns about how to control phone usage. We have a good daughter, but she is NORMAL and needs limits when it comes to technology.

Finally, my husband (who is an IT professional and likes to stay abreast of all things current in technology) had me read an article about ZACT, a new company that was providing phones for kids with LOTS of restrictions.  

When we discovered we could pay (at that time) $99 for a phone and then just $7/month for basic service, we were sold. 


How a ZACT Phone Works

ZACT has many phones to choose from. You purchase the device, and then customize your plan.

The selling points for us (and for the four friends we know that also have ZACT phones):

  • No contract
  • No overpay guarantee
  • Never pay overage fees
  • Cost sharing between devices (great for families with many children)
  • Parental controls

 Anna has a specific number of texts and a specific number of talk minutes. We can add minutes or texts if she needs them. 


Try it for yourself, using the savings calculator ZACT provides. You will be shocked at how much cheaper this service is than others out there!

We control what time the phone turns on and off, what numbers she can and cannot call, and what apps are available for her usage. (She has no data on her phone, but it does use WiFi - this is nice because she can play a few games and do other things over WiFi if she'd like, but even what she does over WiFi can be controlled!).

We can control every aspect of her phone from a parent panel on the computer, or an app on our iPhones. I LOVE THIS! 

This video tells you a little more about ZACT. Forbes Magazine also has a nice article about the service.

Customizing your plan with Zact from Zact Mobile on Vimeo.

Why Anna Likes ZACT

This phone was Anna's birthday present. I asked her what she likes about her phone:


  • "It's a smart phone. I can listen to my music, play a few games, and it's just fun."
  • "It saves us money."
  • "I can check my GMail on my phone."


Why My Husband and I Like ZACT


  • Reliable service (ZACT uses the Sprint network - it gets better service than our AT&T phones)
  • CONTROL - enough said!
  • Price - there has never been a bill over $10/month in our house
  • Customer Service - ZACT is still relatively small, and their customer service is excellent!


I'm finding that we're not having the typical problems most parents do with their children and cell phones. 

Our daughter is learning that her phone is a tool she can use for communicating when it's necessary - it is not a time waster or something that sucks her in. 

So you see - I still have that very strict view of kids and technology, but I acknowledge that we need some of these tools, and I'm so thankful we found ZACT!.

Tell me about your preteen/teen and cell phone usage. I want to start a conversation about this!