Cell Phone Bill of Rights

Over the last two years our cell phone plan data component has, from time to time, been an issue of great concern.  By great concern, I mean my children have chewed through record breaking amounts of data in short amounts of time causing overage charges.  So the great concern is for my wallet.

This first hit my radar screen when I was getting a daily overage charge for an extra gig of data – cost me $10 per day after the first 1/2 of every month.  I would wake up and there would be a text message from AT&T that they had loaded another gig onto my plan.  Trips to the store, calls to customer service…lots of research – and I could not figure out the problem.   Then I learned my older daughter was playing Pandora radio on her phone every single night.  Since we had horrible internet service (thank you Comcast) our wifi would often turn off and she was running music all night off of our data plan.  So I was paying for her to listen to music while she was asleep.  I hit the roof.

Since that time I have started discussing costs to run a household with my children.  They understand mortgages, insurance, and how much food costs.  I also told them it is their responsibility to help me save money.  If the cell phone bill is out of control and I am concerned use your brain and think about it.  We have had the “I am responsible for providing you with food, clothing and educational support until you are 18, anything else is a luxury.”

Now, when there is a problem, and I they are approaching their data limit, I simply turn off their data access. I have an app on my phone where I can view usage and shut off at will.   Call Dyfus?  Alert the media?  No, I am the parent, I own the cell phone and pay the bill.

So I thought it was time for me to put some rules and regulations down for other parents to use when setting limits for their children.

  1. When it comes to your cell phone, you have no rights.
  2. If you have any problems with this document, please feel free to get your own cell phone plan and a job to pay the bill (including the overage charges you incur when you run out of data.)
  3. When I refer to “your phone” please do not take this to mean it is actually your phone.  It is my phone.
  4. When I refer to “our data plan” please do not take this to mean it is actually your data plan.  It is my data plan.
  5. We have a 10 G of data and 5 phones.  Everyone gets to use about 2 G.
  6. If you start to approach your 2 G limit your data plan will be turned off for the remainder of the month.
  7. If you start using an exorbitant amount of data, I will not launch an investigation digging through our online account information.  I will not go to the store and complain.  I will just turn off your data.
  8. If you believe there is something wrong with your phone then you are welcome to try to fix it yourself.  I am sure there is a Youtube video on it.
  9. You spend a majority of your time at home and school.  In both places you should be connected to wifi.
  10. You are not allowed to have your cell phone in your room…ever.

Mean right?  Not to me – this list is all about parenting.  In today’s world parents want to be friends with their kids, I want to raise responsible children.  I want my kids to have what they need, a few fun extras in life, lots of fun, but really the ability to get out there and grab the brass ring on the carousel for themselves.