Monday, December 1, 2014

Winterizing Your Mobile Device to Prepare for Freezing Weather

Most people winterize their homes, lawn and garden, hoses, sprinklers or campers before the snow flies and temperature falls. There also are wireless winterizing steps you can take in an effort to keep your smartphone and tablet from freezing up during cold temperatures.
Families use mobile devices to make their lives easier, more efficient and meaningful. During harsh winter conditions, it’s a good idea to keep your device safe from the cold.  During severe weather, it's even more important that you can be in touch with your family if your arrival time is delayed.  

U.S. Cellular offers the following tips to help your wireless device survive this winter.

§  Accessorize: A LifeProof case is rugged and waterproof and can protect your device through inclement weather such as frigid temperatures, ice and snow.

§  App-etizing: AccuWeather, MyRadar Weather Radar, The Weather Channel and WeatherBug are among the leading free apps available on iTunes and the Google Play store to help keep people ahead of winter storms.  I always watch the weather forecast on tv and now I have the ability to download these apps and be able to check the weather anytime at home on my iPhone 5s and even while I am away from home and weather conditions change during the day.

§  Battery Blues: When cellphone batteries are exposed to cold temperatures, their performance dips like the winter mercury. Cellphone batteries that would provide 100 percent capacity at 80 degrees will typically only deliver 50 percent when it’s 0 degrees outside.  That's a very interesting fact I didn't know before today.

§  Cover Up: Prolonged exposure to the cold may affect a cellphone’s display screen. The display cover can become brittle when exposed to cold temperatures for an extended period of time, which causes the liquid crystals within the display to start freezing.

§  Don’t Fret When Wet: If a cellphone gets wet from condensation or an encounter with snow, power it down right away and remove the battery. You should grab a towel or napkins to get as much excess water off the phone as possible. You should leave a wet cellphone powered down for a day or two to give the internal circuitry a chance to completely dry out.

§  Phone for Cold and Snow: The Kyocera DuraForce is an ultra-rugged smartphone that is certified to operate all the way down to negative 22 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also certified IP68 waterproof, so it can be fully submerged up to 6 feet deep for up to 30 minutes, and with its “Wet & Glove Touchscreen Operation,” you can use the phone while wearing your winter gloves and the touchscreen will continue to operate when the phone gets snow or rain on it.

My husband could have used these tips a few weeks ago when he left his phone in his glove compartment.  Phone got very cold, needed to warm up in house before it was usable.  He makes sure to keep it in his coat pocket when outside from now on!

Is a cell phone on your child's Christmas Wish List?  Make sure your child understands clearly how to use his/her phone safely, by using a customizable Parent Child Agreement.

Disclosure:  I have been compensated by U.S. Cellular for my post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

5-Hour ENERGY "Yummification" Video Contest Winners

And the envelope please................

The winners of the excitingly refreshing 5-Hour ENERGY "Yummification" Video Contest are:

·         First Place ($50,000 prize): “Pomelimelade” by Tim Merlau, Los Angeles, CA
o   This winning submission mixes a Pomegranate 5-hour ENERGY® shot with limeade, and then takes us on a musical journey through all that can be accomplished over several hours (spoiler alert:  it’s a lot). 
o   “Pomelimelade”
§  1 glass Limeade
§  1 shot of Pomegranate 5-hour ENERGY®

·         Second Place ($30,000 prize): “Ramalamadingdong” by Mark Golembeski, Los Angeles, CA
o   The second place video helps us turn that 2:30 feeling frown upside down by mixing a 5-hour ENERGY® shot with lemonade.  This video has it all: a clown, a puppy, a guy in a tutu, and much more. 
o   “Ramalamadingdong”
§  1 glass Lemonade
§  1 shot of Berry 5-hour ENERGY® 
·         Third Place ($10,000 prize): “Arnold Power” by Zac Sheorn, Lugoff, SC
o   The third place winner reminds us that you don’t have to be good at sports, but mixing a Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY® shot with decaffeinated iced tea helps keep you refreshed while practicing.  And practicing. 
o   “Arnold Power”
§  1 glass Decaf Iced Tea
§  1 shot of Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY® 

Check out the winning videos and recipes for yourself.  What's your favorite flavor combination?

I like 5-Hour Pink Lemonade ENERGY in Lemonade.  What a delicious way to watch our exciting Green Bay Packers game today.

Disclosure:  I have been compensated for my post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tips to Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday like a Pro

Black Friday and Cyber Monday often provide the best deals of the year and with USA Today predicting that Cyber Monday will outshine most of the offerings on Black Friday this year, the lines between the two continue to blur. Shopping in stores during this busy season is a highlight of the year for some, but it can be stressful. Likewise the number of online sites and web-only deals can be enticing, but can also overwhelm. Fortunately, the holiday shopping experience doesn’t have to be either stressful or overwhelming, thanks to some strategic tips from U.S. Cellular on how your smartphone can become your best shopping pal.

Whether you like to shop from your couch or visit all of the stores during busy shopping times, smartphones can assist in ensuring you are efficient in your purchases, leaving more time to enjoy the rest of the season’s offerings. Below are examples of great apps that can assist in your shopping, no matter where you are checking out:

In order to find the best deals around, the Slickdeals is one app bargain hunters will want to have at their fingertips this Black Friday. Millions of users submit, vote and comment on deals across the nation SO the best deals rise to the front page. Of the millions of sales and promotions across the web on any given day, the 30 best deals across the nation make it to the Slickdeals Frontpage every day. This app will help you find the best deals on Black Friday, as chosen by fellow deal seeking shoppers.  Using this app can be used on Androids or Apple phones and saves time by helping users determine where to get the lowest price.  Finding the best deal has never been easier, which is perfect for those who want the top sought after popular items.

Navigating through stores on Black Friday is sometimes half the battle, which is why some prefer to do their shopping online. However, Google Maps offers store-specific maps for stores known for their Black Friday deals, including Macy’s, Best Buy and Toys R Us, among others. The app will show where sale products are located in the store so users spend less time searching the aisles.  So after waiting in line, you know directly which way to go once you enter the store.  Sounds fabulous.  We've all seen news tapes of shoppers waiting in lines and when the doors open, go running wildly into the store.  Now they will know which aisle to go to first.

And for those of you like me who prefer to skip the crowds altogether and shop online on Cyber Monday, the Amazon Mobile app presents users with amazing deals and can help them to get the best price for the item they are shopping for, all in one place. With Amazon Mobile, users are able to zip through their shopping from home on their smartphones and tablets, with [Wave 1, 2, 3: the 4G LTE network, with speeds of up to 10 times faster than 3G] U.S. Cellular’s high-speed network so they can finish shopping and spend more time with family and friends.  I sure can use that.  I look at Amazon a lot anyway, and this app helps me get the best deal, which is why I shop Cyber Monday and avoid the lines, and spend more quality time with family during the busy holiday season.

For those a little less prepared for Black Friday 2014, the Shopkick app can help you out the moment you enter the store. Shopkick helps discover all the best products at stores closest to you. Various stores like Target, Macy's, Best Buy, Old Navy, American Eagle, JCPenney, Sports Authority and Crate & Barrel have partnered with the app to give you instant deals the moment you walk into their retail store. Plus, the more you visit the stores, you receive more as it rewards you with kicks (points) just for walking in the door. Get even more kicks when you scan items and make purchases. Points can then be redeemed for gift cards at your favorite stores. The more you use the Shopkick app on your Androids or Apple phones during Black Friday and throughout the holiday season, the more rewards you gain, helping you get even more deals for all your gift shopping.  This app rewards you for shopping, how cool is that?

Remember if a new cellphone is on your child's Christmas wish list, consider a personalized and customized Parent Child Agreement to ensure your child understands expectations that comes with the privilege of using a cell phone.  

Disclosure:  As a member of U.S. Cellular's Better Moments Blogger Brigade, I have been compensated for my post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

U.S. Cellular presents Shark Tank Meets Main Street Sweepstakes

Last year, U.S. Cellular launched the “Spotlight on America’s Backbone” contest which invited small businesses in the company’s footprint to enter to win free advertising, cash and a year of wireless service to help grow their business. To further show their commitment to business owners, U.S. Cellular expanded on that this year and gave consumers more access to tools and support to help grow their business or make their entrepreneurial dreams come true by working with ABC’s “Shark Tank”.

The first phase of the partnership included Casting Calls, which took place over the past few months, where U.S. Cellular provided access to the primetime show via a casting tour exclusively in their footprint, giving small businesses the opportunity to pitch their business, product or idea for a chance to appear before the Sharks on Shark Tank, airing on national TV.

The second phase is the sweepstakes, open for entry now. This sweepstakes will provide customers in the U.S. Cellular footprint the opportunity to gain unprecedented access to the casting call process, hear tips and advice from other small business owners. One lucky winner will win an exclusive behind-the-scenes Shark Tank experience, which includes a VIP seat during the entire pitch process in LA, lunch with the casting team and opportunities to engage the Sharks throughout the day to ask any burning questions, including how he/she can further their business if the winner is a business owner.  How exciting just to think about it!

Along with the Sweepstakes, consumers can visit to view custom content that will cover both a behind-the-scenes look at the Shark Tank casting process (what Casting Calls are like, what it takes to make a great pitch), what happens after you get funded, along with stories and advice from real entrepreneurs we met at our Casting Calls (about their businesses, the obstacles they’re facing, what they’re looking for from the Sharks, etc.).  What an awesome opportunity for someone looking to start or grow their business.  Invaluable information that just might help you fund the next big idea.

U.S. Cellular is committed to the people and businesses in their markets in a way that their competitors are not. Providing access to Shark Tank is a demonstration of the brand’s commitment to the communities U.S. Cellular services.

U.S. Cellular champions small business owners and wanted to offer them access to tools to help them be successful. By working with ABC’s “Shark Tank,” U.S. Cellular provided an unprecedented opportunity for people in local communities to pitch their ideas to experts and have the chance to grow their business.  Small, local businesses are an integral part of any community.  

Winners will be selected between 11/1-11/14 and the announcement will be between 11/17-11/21

o    To sign up, visit

Thinking about getting your child a cell phone for a Christmas present?  Don't forgot to check out a customizable Parent Child Agreement from U.S. Cellular.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fall TV is back!

Many Americans have decided to cut their landlines and instead use mobile devices at home. In addition to cutting phone landlines, many Americans have also decided to cut their subscriptions to cable or satellite TV, as they have found alternate ways to stream movies and TV at home via smartphones and tablets.

Americans who no longer subscribe to cable or satellite TV have increased 44 percent in the past four years to 7.6 million households, according to an Experian Marketing Services report.

A recent U.S. Cellular survey revealed that 79 percent of respondents use a smartphone daily. Of those, 84 percent have cable or satellite TV, but 34 percent have considered dropping it for alternate services. Furthermore, 15 percent are likely to discontinue cable or satellite TV in the next year. Smartphones and tablets, such as the 4G LTE Samsung Galaxy S 5 and Apple iPad Air, are popular devices to watch downloaded or streaming video.

Waiting in the parking lot to pick up your child after practice or outside enjoying the cooler fall weather by using a mobile device with 4G LTE speeds is a great way to help keep up with your favorite shows.

Smartphones and tablets have reduced the need to fully depend on a remote control to find your favorite TV show, sporting event or a movie.  I love the ability to be able to use my smartphone or Samsung tablet for mobile entertainment.

With the fall TV season set to debut soon, here are tips and questions to help viewers decide if it’s time to tune out cable or satellite TV:

Determine what TV shows you watch. If your list is small, Google Play and iTunes sell individual TV episodes for $1.99 to $2.99. Season passes are available at a discount rate.
Hulu Plus and Netflix offer monthly subscriptions that begin at $7.99, and you can watch HD shows on all of your devices including your computer, tablet or smartphone.      

Are you already a subscriber to at least one of the above mentioned monthly subscription sites? Then you may be interested in purchasing a streaming media player such as a RokuApple TV, or Amazon Fire, which allows you access to thousands of channels, subscriptions services, convenient ways to rent or buy movies, watch on demand shows and play games.

Are you always on-the-go and can’t watch your shows when they initially air? Being able to stream them wherever you are from a tablet or smartphone with an inexpensive subscription may be a more efficient way to see your favorite storylines.

Do you watch a variety of comedies, dramas and sporting events on a wide range of channels? While alternatives are available, it may be better to keep your cable or satellite service to ensure you can continue to watch everything you want.  That's what we do.  We use cable for wireless internet access in the home and our cable system has an app we can use on our iPhone 5s to stream entertainment on-the-go or at home in a room without cable tv.  This allows us with U.S. Cellular's 4G LTE network to enable better moments through simplifying and enhancing our lives and watch shows on our time table.  Between work, school, practices and family events, we can't always watch our favorites when they premiere.  And like every fall, there are some great new shows to check out.

And with the options available on smartphones, it might be a good idea to see if your child is using their phones responsibly with a customizable Parent/Child agreement.

Disclosure: I have been compensated by U.S. Cellular for my post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

#BetterDay Madison Wisconsin

U.S. Cellular has been visiting communities across the country to enhance summer by providing residents with unique and positive experiences. As part of its “Better Day” program, U.S. Cellular helped local residents enjoy summer to the fullest by surprising residents with gifts, enhancing block parties and community parks, as well as hosting major events. The Better Day initiative will take place in 15 cities across the country, with more than 360 events!

As part of its Better Day program, U.S. Cellular sponsored a beautification initiative in the city of Madison involving street mural paintings at intersections in four neighborhoods. As part of the effort, U.S. Cellular teamed up with local Madison artist, Sharon Kilfoy and Director of Athletics for the University of Wisconsin, Barry Alvarez, to create not only a better day for neighborhood residents, but a lasting impression on the city.

Check out some of the fun, these kids sure had a #betterday!!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Back to School 101: Stay in the Know, on the Go

     Back to school can be exciting, but also an overwhelming time for students, family members and teachers. Getting back into the swing of things always takes some adjustment, whether you have kids or not. Technology can help transition you to getting back into the groove of your fall and winter routines with you and your younger family members going back to school organized as the back to school season kicks off, as well as enabling better moments through simplifying and enhancing your lives. 

      Whether students forget to check for homework assignments or miss class due to illness, students don’t want to fall behind.  Access to information and connecting with teachers and other students is just a click away with the help of smartphones and tablets.

     According to a recent survey by U.S. Cellular, 74 percent of households with children under the age of 18 have at least one tablet. Tablets and smartphones are becoming a simple tool to ensure students keep making the grade.

     According to a recent Student Mobile Device Survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 87 percent of students would like to use digital textbooks so they don’t have to carry so much in their backpacks.  And half of those students surveyed use their pocket-friendly smartphones instead of tablets.  With the size of high school textbooks, I think my son's fellow students might agree.

     Tablets are also being used in the classroom; learning apps, eBooks, online educational videos and internet access can all enhance the learning experience. My son's school district has a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy in place that both students and parents sign off on to ensure available technology is safely used and monitored, while utilizing the district wireless internet access network so students can use their personal devices for educational purposes with parent and teacher permission.

     Our local school district also debuted a school district mobile app that I promptly downloaded on my iPhone 5s.  It's their website full of information now at the touch of an app on my phone.
     Students, teachers and parents can optimize their connected learning experience with the help of the following apps recommended by U.S. Cellular:

Skype (Android) / Facetime (iOS): These free Internet video calling services allow teachers and students to collaborate wherever they are.  Teachers can bring guest speakers into class to discuss their expertise, thereby demonstrating how school subjects are relevant to real life.  Students can take virtual field trips anywhere in the world.  No permission slip required.

Teacher’s Assistant Pro: Featured in USA Today as one of the best teacher apps, Teacher’s Assistant Pro ($3.99 download) allows teachers to keep track of student actions, behaviors and achievements in the classroom. Using an iPhone or iPad, teachers can record student infractions and accolades, create a detailed written description of the event, and communicate with parents, reducing time consuming paperwork.

Notability: This powerful note-taker app is free and allows iOS and Android users to complete worksheets, sketch ideas, keep a journal, integrate photos and record a lecture, and keep it all in one place.  Use the search feature to quickly locate notes by title or content.  Share with others using iCloud or Google Drive.  My son's last school utilized Google Drive to share files several students collaborated on.

DropBox: This cloud-based file sharing and storage free app lets users circulate files from different locations over different networks.  Turn in and return assignments, provide up-to-date syllabi from different locations quickly, and post grades securely and easily.

      U.S. Cellular is donating $1 million to fund teacher classroom projects through its Calling All Teachers program. Last year, the company contributed $500,000 towards educational materials for improved classroom experiences. U.S. Cellular is working with for a fourth time and encourages teachers to post their projects on the site for potential funding. is a charity website that helps teachers identify funds from corporate and individual donations for classroom projects.

     Through U.S. Cellular's ongoing commitment to the community and education, the company has contributed more than $7 million through this and other philanthropic programming. Starting today K-12 public school teachers can register online at and affiliate as a U.S. Cellular teacher. Then beginning August 11, they can post their classroom projects for funding consideration. Through U.S. Cellular has funded more than 4,500 classroom projects to date, which included technology tools, art equipment and science experiments. All projects must be submitted by September 21 to be eligible for this year’s funding.  Selected projects will be in announced in October.

     And we enjoy better moments as well through after school activities.  My son plays football and using his iPhone 5s, he can let me know if it's practice as usual, or a change in time for me to pick him up after school.

     Don't forget about the Device Workshops in your area.  Check out these upcoming events in the WI area.

     And another helpful back-to-school idea is using a Parent-Child Agreement to ensure both you and your child are on the same page for phone usage.

Disclosure:  I have been compensated by U.S. Cellular for my post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July is National Cellphone Courtesy month

Have you ever found yourself at a store checkout and the person in front of you is on the phone and making the cashier (and you) wait?

Just today, a lady had the music on her phone blasting while she shopped. Really.

How about the movies? We watch the previews and the dancing characters tell us to turn off our phones. So why all of a sudden does the person a few rows down need to check for messages and blind you with that bright phone light? And where there's one, more follow suit.

July is National Cellphone Courtesy month and U.S. Cellular is celebrating by promoting positive cell phone etiquette.

Technology can enable better moments through simplifying and enhancing your life. We all want to be able to reached by family members and friends.

In my own personal life, when visiting with my mom who is in assisted living, we are concentrating on spending time with her and no one talks on their phone and texts can wait until we leave. When my son and I go for a neighborhood walk, he does get text messages but generally waits to talk/text to friends until we are back home, avoiding the evil eye.

My husband is self-employed so he relies on his U.S. Cellular iPhone 5s and 4G LTE network to be connected to his customers.

According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, 37 percent of users say others get upset with them for phone use, while 63 percent say they get upset at others for phone use.  {Between Nov. 15 and Dec. 2, 2013, 500 nationally representative online interviews were conducted among smartphone users in partnership with Maritz Research.]

A Pew Research survey found that 67 percent of cellphone owners find themselves checking their phones for messages, alerts or calls – even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating. That means a lot of people are checking devices at any given time or place, and since July is National Cellphone Courtesy Month it is the perfect time to talk about the expectations and practices of wireless device users of all ages.

As may be expected smartphone owners who are over the age of 54 have stronger etiquette beliefs than younger users. Among adults 55-64, 82 percent think it is rude to check your phone while talking with someone else, and 80 percent think it is rude to check while dining.

63 percent of users 18-34 think it is rude to be on your phone while talking to someone else, while 57 percent think it is rude to check while dining.

Women are more likely to prefer texting over men. They are also more likely to have checked or used their phone to avoid conversations.

63 percent of people believe that no one gets upset at them for their phone use.This is the same proportion that sometimes gets upset with others for using their phone or tablet.

Tips for improving courtesy by busy cellphone users:

Set the ground rules. If you have plans to meet a relative for dinner or spend happy hour with a group of friends, discuss expectations for phone use. By determining technology use before the gathering, everyone is able to enjoy the occasion. We're making plans to celebrate a relative's birthday at a restaurant and we plan on leaving the phones off. Enjoy better moments with your family!

Seek to understand. Focus on similarities instead of differences and set a goal to understand those around you. By understanding other’s wireless device use, you’ll be more courteous of their expectations.

Don’t be a buzz kill. Putting a phone on vibrate during a meeting or event can be a good idea, as vibration mode is meant to alert only you. However, it can distract others if the phone is placed on a table in a meeting or meal. Put the phone in a pocket, where it can alert you to a call but isn’t disturbing others, please!. If you forget to turn off the ringer and get an unexpected call, phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 stop ringing by simply flipping over the device.

Avoid being blinded by the light. Adjust screen brightness prior to entering a dimly lit space, such as a restaurant, recital or school play. This allows you to use the device to take photos or use social media without disturbing those around you. Now, I don't use social media at a school function, only taking photos if allowed and sharing them when function is over. At my son's school open house last year, a father took a phone call during one of the classroom teacher information sessions. He walked to the side of the room, should have left the classroom. There is a reason phones have an off, or silent button. Great reason to use it. Went to a school play and proud parents recording the video, but their phone is in others way of enjoying the show and hard work on the part of the kids as well. I know they want to share it with others, but be respectful of those around you.

Do you have any tips to add to this list? Please share them with me below in the comments section.

And don't forget last months post! Use a parent-child cellphone agreement that you can customize.

Disclosure: I have been compensated for my posts. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, July 7, 2014

U.S. Cellular's Better Day - Milwaukee Brewers and WI State Fair Ticket Giveaway

U.S. Cellular will visit communities throughout the U.S. to enhance summer and provide residents with unique experiences at their favorite local businesses, block parties, community parks and major events as part of the Better Day program.  U. S. Cellular's Band of Better, a community outreach team are making appearances to promote it's Better Day initiative in 15 cities across the country at more than 360 events.   U.S. Cellular is providing me with the opportunity to give away 2 tickets to my blog readers to 2 local events, Milwaukee Brewer's Game, Friday, July  25th at Miller Park and the Wisconsin State Fair (July 31-Aug 10).  U.S. Cellular’s “Band of Better,” the company’s community outreach team, will surprise residents in a variety of ways, including giveaways and other items to help enjoy summer to its fullest.

The initiative will be capped off by a community beautification project meant to leave an impression in select cities to further showcase U.S. Cellular’s commitment to the community.

U.S. Cellular is excited to provide communities with everything they need to create better moments together this summer.

I’m offering two tickets to one lucky blog reader for a Milwaukee Brewers game and 2 tickets to a second winner for the Wisconsin State Fair!

I'm excited as I am also being given tickets for these events.  I plan on attending the Brewers game with my teenage son.  Hopefully he won't be texting his friends the entire time!  We will be sure to tweet a picture of us, @shouldhavetho.  Who knows, maybe we will run into Hank the dog.  I look forward to also meeting my winning blog reader as well as U.S. Cellular's Band of Better!

Another great local event to be sure to attend this summer is the Great Wisconsin State Fair.   11 days of fun, food, exhibits and more.  There is something for everyone to eat or buy or watch.  I'll post pictures from my day there as well.  I look forward to the fair every year.  With U.S. Cellular, these 2 local events for me will surely make for a #BetterDay!

Please comment below how you plan on creating Better Moments with your family this summer and which event you would like a chance to win: Milwaukee Brewer tickets for Friday, July 25th or Wisconsin State Fair Tickets.  Please include your email address in the comments to be used only to contact the winners.  You may comment up to 2 times, one for each event. Deadline is: July 14th at noon, CDT, winners will be contacted at email address provided and have 48 hours to respond with mailing address.   Winners will be picked via random number generator. If winner doesn't respond, an alternate will be picked, as I want to ensure the tickets arrive in time.

Disclosure:  I have been compensated by U.S. Cellular for my post.  All opinions expressed are my own.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

U.S. Cellular Better Moments Parent Child Agreement

Last July, I shared U.S. Cellular's Customizable Parent-Child Agreement.  This agreement focuses on safety and etiquette and summer is once again the perfect time to consider if your child is old enough for a cell phone and perhaps implement you own customizable Better Moments Parent-Child Agreement to be set in place for you and your kids. Now that my own child has a smartphone, having an agreement between us helps set boundaries for safe usage. No one else is allowed to use his phone, except in case of emergency to phone their parents.

 In a recent U.S. Cellular survey, respondents indicated that 13 was an appropriate age for a child to receive their first mobile phone, whereas five years ago this age was 15.[Disclaimer: Between Nov. 15 and Dec. 2, 2013, 500 nationally representative online interviews were conducted among smartphone users in partnership with Maritz Research.]

For parents who have just purchased a new mobile device for their child, U.S. Cellular recommends the following tips to help ensure their children’s usage is both safe and courteous:

Establish guidelines: According to the U.S. Cellular Better Moments survey, 72% of families have rules regarding child’s cell phone use.  [Between Nov. 15 and Dec. 2, 2013, 500 nationally representative online interviews were conducted among smartphone users in partnership with Maritz Research.] To help make this conversation as easy as possible for all parents, U.S. Cellular’s Parent-Child Agreement provides customizable suggestions on safety and etiquette that focus on creating better moments within families. The intention is to make this work for each individual family, and to show how technology can enhance time spent together as a family.  We also keep in touch via phone or text if the family is away from home.

Set up their phone: Take the time to set up your child’s phone to ensure they only have access to phone features and apps that are appropriate for their age. The U.S. Cellular Family Protector App provides safety and security by allowing parents to block websites, restrict the downloading of applications, and more.  My son asks me if it's ok to put certain apps on his phone.

Monitor usage: Regularly checking in on your child’s mobile phone usage can ensure they are using their phone safely and responsibly. The Family Protector app allows parents to monitor call content including text messages, contacts and call history. It can also set schedules for usage to ensure children are not using their device at school and can also set time limits for using the internet once home.  Many schools limit cell phone usage so this can come in very handy.

Have you ever checked out U.S. Cellular Device Workshops?  You can learn more about cutting-edge devices like the iPhone 5s or Samsung Galaxy S5 and the reliability of U.S. Cellulars's 4G LTE network.

And, as far as the Parent Child Agreement, U.S. Cellular will offer free Device Workshops in July that focus on this very topic. At the workshops, U.S. Cellular associates will offer families tips on setting phone guidelines and share suggestions to help with the decision of getting their child their first cell phone. 

For a list of Device Workshops in your area, visit

Please let me know if the comments if you plan on using this handy Better Moments Parent Child Agreement in your family.

Disclosure:  I have been provided this information by U.S.Cellular and have been compensated for my posts.  All opinions expressed are my own.