As one of PhoneConcern’s phone experts, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best phones for kids. Mobile phones are practical, powerful, and convenient. They’re also pricey, distracting, and a potential doorway to a variety of nefarious online activities.
So, should you get a phone for your child? If that’s the case, which is the best phones for kids?
The Rule of Cardinals
If your child is frequently out of sight of trustworthy adults and needs to contact you or another caretaker, giving them a phone is a good idea.
The iPod touch is ideal best phones for kids who wants to play games or watch movies on a personal device but does not require cellular access.
The iPod touch is a terrific not-phone for about $200. It can handle films and less-demanding games just fine, without the added cost or complexity of cellular connectivity.
Toca Boca’s children’s games, for example, work well on the iPod touch.
Look for low-cost, unlocked Android phones that don’t require a SIM card if you’re not a fan of Apple devices. They can do all of the functions of a standard Android phone, but only over Wi-Fi.
Consider Your Child’s First Phone
Do not purchase an expensive, high-end smartphone for your child. The Wait Until 8th campaign, which recommends providing children cellphones only after they have completed eighth grade, offers some compelling arguments, yet it conflates smartphones with social media, which are two distinct entities.
When you do upgrade to a smartphone, don’t go overboard. Because they are children, children are not responsible. They’ll misplace their phones, drop them, soak them, and break them. Assume that it will occur.
In the $200 to $400 bracket, there are a plethora of solid phones that run reasonably fresh, safe versions of their operating systems, aren’t frustrating to use, and don’t look horribly uncool.
We won’t delve into the never ending discussion over cell phone radiation and children, but many parents have expressed their concerns to us.
The “good” news is that radiation issues arise only when a phone is held close to your head for extended periods of time, and kids don’t chat on their phones.
Short phone chats with parents for safety or logistical purposes will not harm anyone. Invest in a low-cost headset for longer talks. Make sure you acquire a decent, sturdy case for any phone you get.
My teen uses an Otterbox Commuter case to protect his Samsung Galaxy Note 8. It appeals to her. I wasn’t prepared for how inventive she’d grown with the S Pen, drawing and taking notes all the time.
Her Galaxy Note isn’t simply a phone anymore, thanks to the pen; it’s also a never-ending sketchbook.
Getting Started With Flip Phones
Voice phones are best phones for kids & to get started with communication. They are, without a doubt, terminally uncool. They are, without a doubt, terminally uncool. Your children will complain.
They do, however, solve one of the most common challenges faced by parents of middle schoolers: “How can I provide my child a method to call me without allowing them to go on Instagram?”
We recently tested several basic voice phones, and the Nokia 225 4G emerged as the most cost-effective option for basic calling. The Sunbeam F1 is more expensive, but it has better quality and allows you to turn off the camera, which some parents are concerned about.
Both voice phones are unlocked, with the Nokia working best on T-Mobile networks and the Sunbeam on Verizon networks.
Keeping an Eye on Your Children
In many circumstances, the reason you want to have a child is because you want to be a parent. The owner of a Google or Apple account may quickly track the location of their smartphone (which is you).
The majority of flip phones and other simple phones do not have a mechanism to track them. In that situation, a dedicated tracker sewn into your child’s clothing or bag is the best option.
(It’s important to note that doing this to an adult is known as stalking.)
Whether you have an Apple or Samsung phone, the AirTag and Samsung SmartTag both perform a surprising good job of using networks of other phones to tell you where they were recently.
We propose the Jiobit Next, which has its own GPS and cellular radios but no calling capabilities, for real-time tracking anywhere.
The iMessage Problem
I hate to bring it up, but now that I have a teenager, it’s more important. Some teenagers dwell in these small tidal ponds where everyone has an iPhone and uses iMessage to communicate.
When the majority of the people on a group text are using iMessage, there are several advantages to using it as well: the texts are more trustworthy, threading works, and reactions appear appropriately.
That is the most compelling argument for a child who insists on having an iOS phone.
However, as a parent, it’s important to realize that they don’t need an expensive iPhone to use iMessage.
The Problem with Service Plans
When you acquire your child a phone, whether it’s a new one or a hand-me-down, you’ll need to decide on a service plan. Wi-Fi-only with no SIM card is the cheapest option.
They can only send conventional text messages and make regular phone calls using this option, and they only have coverage in known Wi-Fi networks.
On iPhones, they can use iMessage and FaceTime, while on Android phones, they can use Google Hangouts to text and call other Google accounts.
You might be able to get a phone on a monthly payment plan if your carrier offers an excellent or handy bargain for adding a line. Make careful to limit a child’s line if you’re sharing a data bucket with them.
Connecting your child’s phone to a low-cost plan could also save you money. Check selection of the top low-cost phone plans.
If your child only wants to text, for example, US Mobile offers a $10 package with unlimited calling and messaging.
You won’t have to worry about overages or your own plan being used if you do this. “What about youngsters sneaking and lying?” you might wonder. It’s not the phone’s responsibility if your child is lying to you. At the end of the day, you have the authority to take the phone away.
The Most Appropriate Phone for Every Age
As a parent, I’ve tried to make this list as diversified as possible, including low-cost, used, and new phones.