Guide to mobiles for Teenagers
General consumer advice
Now that you are a teenager, your own mobile phone may be your first experience of being responsible for an asset which you have to look after with monthly payments. You might even have a contract that obliges you to pay thousands of dollars over two years.
That's why what you are about to learn will prepare you for so many important things during your life. That car or house you wish to own one day will also need monthly payments - which is why learning to manage your money with a mobile is a great way to get used to this responsibility.
This program will allow you and other teenagers to find a safe path through the smoke and mirrors of the mobile phone industry, which many people much older than you have found incredibly confusing.
What to do when looking for a cheaper mobile phone plan:
- Write down all the functions you would like to receive from the service provider.
- Explain to the salesperson what you want not what they want to sell you.
- Don’t include any extras that you don’t need.
- Contracts are not always as they are explained to you, so check the details thoroughly before you sign.
- Is there a fixed contract and if so over what period?
- Do they supply customer service 24 hours 7 days?
- Look very carefully at any free offers. There is nothing for free, you will be paying for it somewhere.
- What geographical areas does their service cover? Not all services offered cover all of the areas you may require.
- If you sign a no fixed-term plan you will be able to take advantage of special deals that are constantly being made from competitive service providers.
Find the cheapest plan for free, with the PhoneChoice Bill Calculator:
- Visit www.phonechoice.com.au for the latest list of plans on offer.
- Click on the Mobile section which contains a B ill Calculator.
- Follow the prompts and tick off your wish list of the functions you would require.
- Enter your typical calling pattern - how many calls you make to landlines or mobiles, and text messages.
- The calculator will display the plans in order of costs, and you can decide which one is right for you.
- Some plans have a direct link to the dealer’s websites, or you can visit your nearest dealer once you know which plan the Bill Calculator has selected.
Play well with others
Part of being an adult is to treat others with courtesy and consideration. For good manners on your mobile, always remember to:
- At the movies, switch your phone to silent, or better still, switch it off! You paid good money for your ticket, so why waste it talking on the phone?
- Do not carry on conversation in lifts within earshot of other people.
- Turn your phone off before classes or important interviews.
- If you are expecting an important call, answer the incoming calls by moving out of earshot of other people.
- Do not shout into the phone.
- Only take photos of people on your camera phone when you have their permission. It's against the law to take photos of people unless they're OK with it!
You and your friends probably prefer the freedom and convenience of a mobile over the home landline. But did you know that more and more adults are now choosing to cut the landline altogether? Research by PhoneChoice found that:
- 10% of consumers had started to make the switch away from landline, and a further 15% said they plan to soon.
- 20% of households could save money by switching from their current landline to a capped mobile plan.
- Even Telstra have announced that they eventually expect landline numbers to drop as much as 40%.
If you or your parents are thinking of cutting off the landline and going totally mobile, be sure to read PhoneChoice's landline substitution checklist first.
Tell your parents you really do know everything
Here's what your parents need to know about your mobile and you:
- Children under 18 require parent or guardian approval to sign a mobile phone contract.
- Mobiles can be a good safety feature for schoolchildren and teenagers for keeping in touch with parents after-hours.
- Help your teenager with their first mobile purchase by reading through the terms and conditions with them, and discussing what they mean.
- Make sure your teenager understands how the plan works and what times of day or networks are cheapest to call.
- Where possible, get them to use pre-paid cards purchased with their own pocket money. That way they will see the value of the mobile and only use it when really necessary.
- Teenagers love to keep in touch with their friends, but, they need to know this comes at a cost.
- Schools these days have a mobile usage policy - check with your school what it is, and make sure your teenager sticks to it.
- Many service providers now have a service included in their plans whereby you can check at any time how much your teenager owes on their current bill.
Eyes (and ears) on the road
Getting out on the road with your Ps is one of life's biggest thrills. But if you add your phone into the mix, tragedy could be just around the corner.
- Do not use your phone while driving a car.
- Never try to read a map or phone number while driving.
- Even if you are using a hands free phone device research has shown you are still at a greater risk of having an accident than normal.
- If you receive a call while driving, tell the caller you are driving and ask them to call later.
Smart spenders keep their cool
The peace of mind that comes from keeping within your spending commitments is a very rewarding feeling.
Before you purchase your phone it is important to know how much you can afford to spend. Make a list of all the things you would like in your new phone and plan. Then you can decide what type of handset and plan you can afford that is within your budget.
Don’t be irresponsible and let your parents get stuck with your phone bill. Show them you are responsible and you will find they're much more likely to help you when it comes to larger purchases like a car or even your first home.
By controlling your spending and even save a little for special things in your teens, you will find that as you grow older you will learn to follow that pattern and you will avoid a huge amount of the stress that most adults experience.
Research shows that 70% of teenagers do not have or follow a budget. Research also shows that Australian consumers owe $1,000,000,000.00 (one trillion dollars) in credit card debt.
Don’t be one of these people!