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Does Your Teen Have a Burner Phone? | What Parents Need to Know About Secret Cell Phones

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April 30, 2024

Unlock this lesson to learn more about burner phones

This burner phone guide will help parents learn:

  • What is a burner phone?
  • Top concerns of burner phones
  • Conversations to have with your teen about burner phones

Learn why parents and educators should know about burner phones

Log in or join the VIP membership today to view all SmartSocial.com resources about burner phones!

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Does Your Teen Have a Burner Phone? | What Parents Need to Know About Secret Cell Phones

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Burner phones, or “burners'' are quickly gaining popularity among teens. Teens are using their own money to purchase cell phones (often pre-paid phones) and hide them from their parents. These secret cell phones are a way for teens to feel they have privacy, because their parents aren’t monitoring them.

In this guide, you will learn why teens want burner phones and what parents and educators can do.

What is a burner phone?

  • A burner phone is a prepaid mobile device that's not under contract with a wireless carrier or an out-of-service phone that can be used with Wi-Fi
  • They are designed for temporary and anonymous use
  • Devices vary from flip phones to smartphones and run on both Android and iOS

Parent & Educator Training Video

Why do students want burner phones?

  • Student burner phones are popular because teens feel like they have freedom to use their phones unmonitored by parents
  • Free from limits and parental controls, these phones allow endless late-night scrolling and conversations and other parent-discouraged uses
  • Students have a sense of privacy and feel they can have conversations without restrictions

Examples of Burner Phones in the News

In almost every high school across the country, there is a kid who sells burner phones from their locker. Since kids are going to get their hands on phones no matter what, we advise parents to maintain an open dialogue with their children and teens regarding technology. At the end of the day, threats to revoke phone privileges will only encourage teens to find workarounds like burner phones — and they will find them. - Inside Hook
Teenagers are using burner phones to circumvent parents who take their devices away — and to secretly post on social media without the adults at home knowing. The phones don’t always need a costly plan because some use the burners when connected to Wi-Fi to get around data charges. - NewsMax

Why should parents & educators care?

  • Student burner phones make it easier for teens to have conversations with strangers or predators
  • Bullying or inappropriate messages are easily exchanged and harder to trace on a burner phone
  • Students may be using their burner phones when they are not allowed to use their normal phones, which may lead to screen time addiction

What can parents & educators do?

  • Dialogue with students about the dangers of using a phone without limits or restrictions
  • Help students understand that burner phones are not completely anonymous and actions and conversations can still be tracked to them
  • Ensure your students have a trusted adult they can talk to if they have concerns about or want a burner phone

More resources for parents, students, & educators

Conclusion

As burner phones continue to gain popularity among teens, your student may be pressured into purchasing one. It is important to discuss with your students why a student burner phone appeals to them and the dangers they can present. Having open dialogue regarding phone boundaries and screen time limits may help your student feel they have some control and freedom over their phone use.

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Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.

Unlock this lesson to learn more about burner phones

This burner phone guide will help parents learn:

  • What is a burner phone?
  • Top concerns of burner phones
  • Conversations to have with your teen about burner phones

Learn why parents and educators should know about burner phones

Log in or join the VIP membership today to view all SmartSocial.com resources about burner phones!

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.
Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Learn more

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