HolidayTechGiftsAccording to the National Retailer Federation, more than 30% of consumers are expected to buy wearables, smartphones and other electronics this holiday season. If you’re a parent, chances are a smartphone or tablet tops your child’s wish list this holiday season.

For kids, owning a tablet or smartphone is about being cool. But for parents, it’s about peace of mind and cost control.  The tips below from AT&T can help make smartphone shopping for a child a lot less stressful.

  •   How is your child going to be using the device? Will she be making voice calls only? Be using it for texting… surfing the Internet… or staying connected with her social networks?
  • If you’re okay with your child texting – and that IS the No. 1 way kids today prefer to communicate today – you’ll want to make sure you have a texting plan.
  • Also, consider when and where your child is going to be using the device.  Will the child being using her device during peak calling times? How many minutes each month do you think she’ll need? Also, make sure you have coverage in the areas where your child plans to use the device most. Check out your provider’s coverage maps.
  • If you don’t want to sign a contract or are on a tight budget, then consider a prepaid option. With the prepaid option, you pay as you go.
  • And don’t forget to take advantage of tools that help you keep track of your children and set limits on their use. Check with your provider to see what type of location-based services they have. For example, FamilyMap lets you track the location of your child’s phone from a PC or mobile device. Also, ask your provider what parental controls are available to you. Smart Limits for Wireless parental controls let you determine the times of day your child can use the device for calling, texting and web browsing; you can filter access to Internet content, define the # of texts and IMs allowed; block or allow calls and even set limits for mobile web browsing by assigning a monetary or MB or GB usage limit. So parental controls are another way you can control cost.
  • Also, if everyone in your household is with the same provider, consider a family plan that lets users on the account share minutes.
  • And learn how to keep track of minutes to help you better manager your child’s wireless plan. From an AT&T device you can dial *MIN# to see how many minutes have been used or *DATA# to check on data usage.

Contributor:  Kelly Starling, AT&T