Friday, August 16, 2013

Zact Mobile Services

I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Zact. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating in this campaign. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.
When I was a kid, there was not as much technology for my parents to worry about. Like most kids, at one point I got a record player that allowed me to play the records for the read along books (remember those? - we did find them with CDs for my kids). Then, I was upgraded to a stereo and eventually had a Walkman. When I was a teenager, I asked to have a phone in my room, which I got...of course, it wasn't my own line, just my own extension so I could talk for hours with friends (we didn't have call waiting or anything fancy back then, wonder how many people tried to call the house and got a busy signal while I was on the phone).

Now, as a parent, we are faced with so much more technology. I want to be able to allow my kids to experience technology, but I want for it to be on my terms and in my control. The kids have a laptop, that sits in the family room. There is a family iPad, that is also kept in the family room. They each have an iPod, but we load the music and have to log in to allow them to download even the free apps.

The iPods have been nice, because they have given them access to e-mail, iMessage and FaceTime, which they use to reach out to grandparents and friends. It also is a nice way to check in on them when either of us is not home or when they are spending the night at a friend's house. I can send a quick iMessage and see how they are doing. Of course, they are reliant on having WiFi access to use them, so they don't work everywhere.

As my son enters Intermediate School this year, the question that seems to be looming out there, is when do we get him a phone? This would allow him the ability to call us or send us a text to check in...whether he is at a friend's house, sports or elsewhere without us. It would also allow him the flexibility to be able to text with those friends that have phones but not an iDevice.

As a parent, I have concerns with a phone. I have no precedent to say what is the right age for a cell phone. I have heard horror stories from other parents who suddenly had huge cell phone bills because their children racked up hundreds, or even thousands, of text messages in a month - far exceeding the confines of their plans. I have concerns with them having web-enabled devices and finding the wrong content by mistake (hopefully not on purpose). I worry about them using the phones at all hours. I worry about the spam/telemarketers and others that will try to contact them. I worry about them losing a phone.

As you can see in the infographic above, Zact mobile services conducted a survey that found 73% of U.S. parents are concerned about the lack of parental control of a child’s activities on mobile devices.
One of the things that I like about Zact is that the phone service can grow with your child. When the kids are younger, if you want you can limit them to a select group of contacts and make it only available for calls. With time, you can add in texting and/or open up the group of contacts. You can limit apps and web access. You can restrict access at certain times of day - bedtime, dinnertime, homework time, or whatever time you want to restrict.

You can make all changes from your own phone. Zact uses the Sprint Nationwide Network and requires no contracts. You can share minutes fully between all the phones on your plan, with just a $4.99 / month line maintenance per device.

Some other features:
Never Overpay Guarantee

If you don’t use all of your monthly plan, we’ll credit you back to the plan that fits you best and automatically lower your next bill.


With Zact, you can build your own mix of talk, text and data and adjust it anytime, right from your phone.

Parental controls

Set curfews, usage caps and app/contact list restrictions right from your device.

You can check out more about parental controls and the services on their website,

We haven't yet decided when we will get him a phone, but I am certainly intrigued by the services that Zact offers and will continue to explore the option. They offer some 'packages' which are essentially recommendations or you can choose to 'Zact-Size' your plan. I really think that we can do as well, or better with a Zact plan, than if we add him to our plan. It would cost us $20 / month to add him to our plan, on Zact even with the $4.99 fee, we could get him 100 talking minutes, 500 text messages and 250MB of data. I think that the data might be high, since he would still use WiFi at home.

What do you think? Does your child have a phone? How do you monitor their usage?

No compensation was received for this post. I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Zact. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating in this campaign. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.