Recently, my kids had the opportunity to test out two smart-phones from Verizon. They both got a Droid Charge and we were able to take them with us on our trip to Walt Disney World this past October.

My kids don’t have cell phones. As parents, my wife and I are still debating on what age they’ll be when they get one. The question after that is do we pay the large monthly fees for smart phones, or do they just have a simple phone that lets them make/receive calls and text messages?

Droid Charge on Verizon

Regardless, both of my kids got to give these Droid Charges a try. As part of their homework, I asked them to write their own reviews from their experiences.

First up is my 9-yr old daughter:

When my dad told me I was gonna get to try one of Verizonʼs new phones – to be exact the Droid charge- I was super excited words couldnʼt describe. Two of my favorite features were probably texting and the amount of space it had,I had one whole page of games.

For a kid my age (9) to have a phone is a HUGE responsibility I repeat HUGE responsibility. First the parents should talk about what contacts they should have and the ones they shouldnʼt have,also about what they should text and what they shouldnʼt. Again a huge responsibility. They also need to know that if they lose it and they donʼt find it that they may not get it back. The parents should make sure that their kids are responsible.

One night I was so mad because I couldnʼt find the phone. First I thought I had left it at the dinner table because we had eaten at Applebees my mom even called them to see if they had found it and they hadnʼt. I got so mad I cried my self to sleep. The next day when my dad came home my mom went out to talk to him he had found the phone out in his car next thing I know I have the phone again! So losing a phone is a big deal. You should make sure that they know that itʼs their responsibility if they do lose it.

Overall I give Verizon props.

And here’s my 12-yr old son’s review:

Having the Droid Charge was a lot of fun. The game choices in the Droid Market were good. Also the Advanced Task Killer was easy to get to. All you had to do was hold the home button down. The phone does not charge n the car very well but in an outlet on a wall it charges pretty fast. Another thing about the battery is that is does not last very long, but maybe that’s because my sister and I played on it 24/7 on the way to Florida. Compared to the Evo, the phone is great. There are good graphics, the picture quality is better, and it being smaller is better. The only thing is the screen is smaller.

Now one of the things my dad wanted me to write about is kids having phones at my age which is 11 going on to 12. Now I do think that kids should have phones at the ages of 11-12-13 because now is the time responsibility kicks in, for example, staying home by yourself, going to friends party’s, just doing things independently now. Also I am home schooled so communicating with friends is a lot harder. I don’t get to see my old friends every single day like used to. So I mean having a phone would be neat, so I could talk to friends and also call/text my life group leaders for questions and answers.

So over all this was a great phone. Out of 5 stars I definitely would rate it a strong 4.

Both my kids really liked the phones and I’ll admit it was nice for them to have them and not constantly be asking to use mine or my wife’s for their entertainment. I still don’t think they need their own cell phones at their ages permanently. My challenge is that I like all the smart phone features with availability of apps for them to use as an entertainment source. I just don’t think adding the cost of the phone and data plan support for their age is a monthly expense many families want to shell out. I’d like a smart phone that I could have them use for just calls and text messages, but have wi-fi only access for the ability to download and run apps, not on the cellular network.

Now, what neither one of the kids knew at the time is that the Droid Charge allows me to use Verizon’s Family Locator service application to monitor where the kids are at any given time.

Family Locator features Arrival & Departure update capabilities, which work based off of Locations that you define, such as school, home or work. When the Family Member carrying the Family Locator Family Member device arrives at or leaves a Location, you can be notified via Text Message or Email. In addition, you can also elect to receive Scheduled Updates at specific dates and times.

Since my kids are still pretty young, they’re not quite at the age for me to feel comfortable letting them roam around Walt Disney World by themselves with or without a phone. However, once they get older and are more actively involved in extra-curricular activities and driving, I can absolutely see using a service like this to keep tabs on where they’re going. The app would allow me to monitor their activity from my own Verizon cell phone or a Family Portal provided by Verizon. Very cool!

Photos: Multiple images from Verizon website composited into one image