Turning your Smartphone into a Dumbphone (no data access)

For those of you with 5th graders in Bedford, weighing heavily the choice before you of getting your child a communication device. And as it gets more and more challenging to find and maintain flip phones (that don’t cost almost as much as a smart phone), here’s another option. Actually turn your smartphone into a dumbphone! DISCLAIMER: there is always the remote possibility that your child can find a way to hack into the phone and make it smart again. There will never be a silver bullet that will fix all of the frustrations associated with opening your child’s (and by default your own) world to constantly available technology. You will always need to have:

  • open dialogue

  • clear and established boundaries

  • commit to contracts

  • check in on how your child is abiding by the agreements you have made

  • talk with other parents, ask what their home rules are and make sure everyone is comfortable

Relying on technology to time-manage your child and their device will often be fraught with despair and opens doors to easily hack into other parental controls. Start off by only allowing access to the communication features and not the fun and hard to control features, until they are in at least 8th grade. This article can walk you through the process of dumbing down an i-phone step by step. (If you have an Android, you’ll have to find a third party app as there are no parental control features similar to what Apple products have)


How 4G Networks are changing flip phones

Have you heard about the changes coming to your friendly neighborhood phone service provider? It appears that all of the major carriers will be discontinuing access to their network from ANY phone that is not 4G in the coming months to years. See the graphic below showing the schedule by major carrier. Additionally the minor carriers such as Ting and Cricket etc, will have similar sunset policies. Since they pay the major carriers to use their lines, they are forced to follow their requirements as well.

If you currently have anything less than a 4G phone (whether smartphone or dumbphone) reach out to your carrier. They can confirm what speed your wireless internet access is currently, and whether they’ve determine the final date for sunset. If you are preparing to purchase a new phone, we would recommend getting 4G now! They do make new flip phones that are 4G, but they are more expensive than the older or refurbished models that you might have started your child on.