A 3G plan offers Internet connection for your phone. If you have it, you can search the Internet anywhere, without relying on the use of Wi-Fi that provides Internet connection through the use of a network.

Even though 3G is useful, it’s not necessarily a need. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of having 3G to help you decide if a plan is a good choice for your child.


  • You can check your e-mail, Facebook, and other accounts from wherever you are.
  • Almost any website is accessible, including multimedia websites like YouTube.
  • Programs on your phone that require Internet access, such as games and social-networking applications, can be used anytime with 3G.


  • Everything you can do with a 3G phone and more can be done on a real computer. And how often do you need to go on the Internet when you’re out of the house? Rarely.
  • Texting does not require the Internet or a 3G plan. If you already pay for texting, you will pay for 3G on top of that.
  • Many 3G plans have monthly data limits. After you use that up, anything over the limit will cost extra money.

If you’re considering a 3G plan for your child, here’s a question for you to think about: Do they really need it?

If your child wants a 3G plan and doesn’t already have one, explain the difference between wants and needs and how they are totally different aspects in his/her life. Some people do use 3G plans for important things that are easily justifiable, like work. However, others find a 3G plan “cool,” and don’t truly need it.

In a nutshell, 3G plans are convenient, but they also can be expensive. Talk with your child about what you both think he/she needs, and then decide if a 3G plan would be money well spent or an unnecessary expense.

Copyright 2011 CUNA Inc. (revised)

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