Sent: 24-11-2009 10:32:01
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Mobile phones can teach your kids some important financial lessons
Statistics show that children are getting mobile phones at earlier ages all the time. Some even suggest that children as young as seven are cutting deals with their parents to get a mobile phone; offering to take on extra chores around the house so that they can have mobile phones and pay for extra add-ons to their handset like top-up credit, ringtones, fascias and games. The mobile phone phenomenon has hit our kids' generation and its here to stay but what does this have to do with teaching your kids about the value of money?
Simple: mobile phones are a perfect vehicle to teach your children about financial responsibility because it's a little bit like handing them a budget and asking them to decide how it should be spent. They will learn some good lessons about money very fast but before you go out to buy a mobile for your child; here are a couple of tips to consider first:
1. Do not, under any circumstances, get your kids a contract mobile!
Many parents have fallen foul of this and found themselves with a huge phone bill (it's remarkably easy to run up a bill in excess of $1000 when you're on it 24/7!). Kids are social animals, and will want to talk to their friends even if they saw them only half an hour ago. Of course, they don't really understand what it costs to use a mobile phone and they also don't really understand what it takes to pay off $1000 (it would take years to pay that off with their pocket money!). So, do yourself a favour and buy them a pre-paid mobile. This will teach them about rationing. They will soon discover that if you're using a phone all the time, the credit will get used up very quickly and this will teach your child that money can run dry very quickly! Hopefully they'll learn the value of money, even if it's your money.
Secondly, they'll soon learn about how far $20 or $30 goes on a mobile phone if they use it unwisely. Two of the biggest lessons they will learn is the price difference between peak vs off-peak and just how much more incredibly expensive phone calls are vs text messages. They'll also learn pretty quickly how to be concise with their communication and not to bother wasting credit on text messages that say things like: "ok"
2. Set some rules
Children need to understand that owning a mobile phone is a privilege, not a right. However, having a mobile phone might encourage your child to become a bit anti-social with the family, so establish certain mobile-free zones in the house. At the dinner table, there should be no mobile use, and they should not be taking their phone to bed with them. Allow them a bit of privacy - no one of any age wants to feel their personal messages are being spied on - but if they learn that mobiles are for use at specific times only, they will learn self-control.
Make sure you stick to these rules. If you find that any of the restrictions are being overlooked, then don't be afraid to take away the phone.
Remember, you can find more tips and great resources to help teach your kids about money at www.qld.kidsmoney.com.au.
This email is general in nature only and does not constitute or convey specific or professional advice. Legislation changes may occur quickly. Formal advice should be sought before acting in any of the areas discussed. Be aware that the information in these articles may become innaccurate with time. Responsibility is disclaimed for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. Particular investments are neither invited nor recommended and hence this publication is not "financial product advice" as defined in Section 766B of the above legislation. All expressions of opinion by contributors are published on the basis that they are not to be regarded as expressing the official opinion of any other person or entity unless expressly stated. No responsibility for the accuracy of the opinions or information contained in the contributor's articles is accepted by any other person or entity. Copyright: This publication is copyright. If you wish to reproduce this article you require a license, which can be purchased here, to do so.