Every weekend I have a chat with a friend or family member at some social gathering and we eventually find ourselves talking about how they want to purchase that “first phone” for their child. Being a lover of mobile devices, I usually stop them mid-sentence and find out what phone they are using and what phone they plan to purchase. Almost every week I’m shocked to hear they have an old iPhone 4s and their kid has talked them into purchasing an iPhone 5s.
Let me tell you why I always recommend handing down the used phone and keeping the new one for yourself. First of all, many of the people we hang out with are small business owners and I remind them that if they buy a new iPhone for themselves, it may be tax deductible (check with your accountant). I also try to impress upon them that they are not giving their kid a free phone. While they might avoid an up front fee of several hundred dollars, they will instead pay for it every month to their wireless carrier. Ultimately, their kid might make terrific grades and be extremely trustworthy, but a brand new $500-$800 gadget is just a bit too much for a first phone.
We all love our children but I’m the type of parent that doesn’t think any 15 year old with a learner’s permit should get a brand new Mercedes Benz as their first car. No I’m not a doctor or a therapist. I’m just a tech pundit that fields these questions regularly and then a few months later hears from parents that failed to heed my advice. It usually sounds something like, “I didn’t listen to you Jeb because little Bobby has such good grades and promised to be careful. That was before he got pushed into a swimming pool with the phone in his pocket.” This is a common talk I have several times a year believe it or not. Personally, my girls are wonderful but when it’s time for them to get a their first phone, they’ll most certainly get a hand me down.
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