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Parental Guidance: Donating cellphones

Texting and media on cell phones and iPods

Texting and media on cell phones and iPods have increased dramatically in the 8 to 18 year-old bracket in the past five years. Credit: iStock

Q. If I buy my child a new cellphone for the holidays, where can I donate his old one? How do I ensure personal data isn't passed on with the phone?

A. Several organizations collect phones:

* The Sierra Club's Long Island group sends phones to a company that either recycles components or donates the phones to nonprofits, says Jane Fasullo, outreach coordinator. Mail to Fasullo at 68 Old Field Rd., Setauket 11733. The goal is to eliminate environmental waste.

* Cell Phones for Soldiers: The phone is sold to a company called ReCellular, which recycles it, either by stripping it for parts or reselling it. Money from the sales buys calling cards; one phone generates about 60 minutes of talk time so soldiers overseas can call home, says Erin McCloskey, public relations manager. Obtain free shipping at

*Your wireless carrier may have a program. Verizon has Hopeline, which refurbishes phones and gives them to domestic violence victims and survivors, says Esmeralda Diaz Cameron. In some cases, it recycles components instead and donates money. Every Verizon store should have a Hopeline donation box.

When donating, delete your address book, call logs, messages, stored photos, videos and other media. If your phone has a SIM card, remove it. More information on erasing data is available on your phone manufacturer's website or user guide or by Googling "factory reset." You can also ask if the organization "scrubs" the phone for you.

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