Best Cell Phones for Kids

Updated on August 22, 2018
RuthCoffee profile image

I've been researching and writing about consumer electronics for over 12 years.

Source

Thinking about Getting Your Child a Cell Phone?

There are hundreds of millions of cell phones in the US. The vast majority of us own one, allowing us to stay in contact, providing a sense of security and immediacy, and giving us really cool features like watching TV and videos, sharing pictures, enjoying music, accessing the internet, and much more. Kids too are attracted to these small, useful, yet entertaining gadgets. However, before a parent jumps in to buy a kids cell phone, there are a few things they should consider.

Source

Why Consider Cell Phones for Kids?

The right cell phone and the right cell phone plan does offer additional security for your child.

Here are a few examples:

  • Cell phones provide easy 911 access.
  • Cell phones can provide quick communication between parents and their children.
  • Some phones or software provide a GPS locator function to help parents keep track of their children.
  • Many kids just really, really want one and at some point, you may decide to give in.

Source

What Are the Disadvantages and Dangers?

There are a number of concerns parents may have about giving a cell phone to kids.

  • Kids aren't likely to track their talk time. Exceeding the plan limits and ending up with an exorbitant bill is certainly a possibility. Going beyond texting limits is particularly problematic with older kids.
  • Providing a child with a cell phone that has video/photo capabilities and web access can expose them to content that parents might otherwise restrict.
  • Spyware, predators, bullies, and spammers gain access to kids through cell phones. Younger children and less savvy kids may not be aware of such dangers. Kids need to be taught about communicating/interacting appropriately online and on their cell phone. "Don't talk to strangers" is still a valid rule.
  • Kids may also download unwanted programs, apps, and so forth
  • Some kids will get really absorbed by the phone and spend too much time on it, especially at the wrong time.

Source

Finding a Kid-Safe Phone and Plan

First, before you panic, realize:

  • There are some phones that allow parents to restrict who a child may call or be contacted by. This is the best defense against predators, spam, and bullies. In addition, most cellular providers have programs to help with this.
  • Some kids cell phone plans allow parents to place limits on talk time, downloads, purchases, and text messaging; for instance AT&T's SmartLimits, T-Mobile's Family Allowances, and Verizon's Safeguards and Control. Many providers also assist in blocking messages, e-mails, and so forth.
  • The various cellular providers offer prepaid cell plans which allow parents to put a limit on talk/texting time which helps control spending. Prepaid phones are often good for older kids/teenagers who can have fewer restrictions but need limits on spending.
  • Increasingly, there is software available that can help parents monitor cell phone activity if necessary. They can restrict usage time, block callers, messages, track location, filter web content, notify parents of activity, and so forth.

Source

What Software Can Help Parents Protect Kids with Cell Phones?

If cyber-bullying, predators, and inappropriate web content is your primary concern, then software like NetNannySocial and NetSanity can help. They can allow parents to monitor, filter, and block content.

If more supervision is required there are certainly plenty of other options. MMGuardian, for example, allows parents to set time limits, block apps, calls, messages, filter websites, locate and track their kids, set alerts, and monitor activity.

If parents have a teen who is driving there are options to assure that phone use doesn't occur at that time. Programs such as DriveSafeMode are available to block phone functions and can notify parents if they are disabled.

Choosing the Right Cell Phone for Kids

With all of this in mind, now comes the time to choose the phone you want. The right phone is the one that offers the features you feel are important and yet provides the limits that you as a responsible adult want for safety and budget reasons. As a parent, you know your kid the best and have to choose based on their level of maturity.

A Few Recommendations for the Youngest Kids

For the youngest kids, parents might be interested in low cost, basic phones. Something like the Nokia 3310 or Samsung Convoy 3.

If you have a preschooler that you just need to have contact with and perhaps geo-location, there are smartwatches that might suffice. LG has the GizmoGadget smartwatch through Verizon as an example.

Of course, another possibility with the youngest kids is to consider a non-phone option. Relay is a device that allows voice communication with friends and family without the connectivity of a modern cell phone. There's no browser and no screen but they can enjoy music and play a few games.

For school-age kids, smartphones start to be more appropriate. Kurio offers a number of parental controls built-in such as monitoring, filtering, emergency features, and GPS location. Plus it's not a bad looking smartphone.

Another affordable option for kids beyond 10 or 12 might be the MotoG4 Play. It's affordable, simple, has a nice display, a front and back camera, and of course has access to Android parental controls (like KidsMode).

Recommendations for Kids Who Are a Bit Older

Prepaid cell phones put a cap on usage and bills and are often a great choice for teens. They offer basic phones and affordable smartphones with plenty of good texting options and entertainment features for kids that are more mature and tech savvy. Major carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile have them, but Boost Mobile, Straight Talk, Tracfone, and others do as well.

If you have a tight budget the LG Tribute HD is affordable, as is the Samsung Galaxy J3 Emerge. If you're willing to spend more the MotoG4 Plus is fast, has a great display, and captures great images. Yes, of course, you can use those parental controls too.

Questions & Answers

    © 2008 Ruth Coffee

    Was This Article Helpful? Let Us Know!

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • spencerharry80 lm profile image

        spencerharry80 lm 

        5 years ago

        The list of smart phones is amazing & the lens is beautifully made.... Thanks dear

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        5 years ago

        dang i wish i had a iphone! im 11 :(

      • OUTFOXprevention1 profile image

        OUTFOXprevention1 

        5 years ago

        Cell phones are needed more and more for mobile kids. Thank you for the lens.

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        5 years ago

        iPhone totally

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        5 years ago

        great lens :)

      • spids1 profile image

        spids1 

        6 years ago

        Great lens very well written.

      • profile image

        Hannah Writes 

        6 years ago

        My twins will,get a phone when they go to middle school in two years. I wonder what technological advances there will be!

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        Excellent overiew.

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        Buy an iPhone and limit everything

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        I got my 10 year old the lg ally and she loves it. I got it for her when I had been 38 weeks pregnant and it wasn't a lot of stress for me or my baby

      • profile image

        SallyForth 

        6 years ago

        I really like the Migo for little kids. I'm thinking about getting my niece one for her birthday (with her parents' permission, of course).

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        My team and I are working on a new kind of service - an app that takes over any Android phone and turns it into a kid-friendly smartphone with GPS location and full parental control from the web.

        If you've been thinking of giving your child a phone but are hesitating and think you'd like to have some control over how your child uses their phone, our service might be right for you.

        If you're interested, please email me at jakeyenom@gmail.com and we'll get you set up in under 5 minutes.

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        Both my teenage boys have prepaid tracfones and if they go over their limit they have to buy minutes themselves or go without, this teaches them responsibility and budgeting skills.

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        Nice post, really at present time internet trend growing day by day and all these technical gadgets like cellphone and i pods are used mostly by the kids and youth. internet Filter and other tools now become popular to reduce internet harmful effect and protect current generation from it.

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        Take a random tween, age 8-12, place them in front of a rotary phone and observe at the blank stare of bewilderment. Yes, gone are the days of the landline, pushed aside by the next wave of technological advancement. Mobile phones are quick displacing landlines in many homes; accompanying this movement is the fact children regularly use and know how to use these cell phones. The mobility of cell phones means it is possible to be anywhere and have the necessity, or ought to I say the convenience, of a phone. free government cell phones

      • markettrol profile image

        markettrol 

        6 years ago

        yes....my neice has a six year old, and was thinking about a phone for him.....she is a working mom and I think a cell phone with security and parental locks is a good idea.

      • blazingzone lm profile image

        blazingzone lm 

        7 years ago

        Thanks for all the info on what phone to get for my kids. i should be able to relate one of the phones u mentioned to them.

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        7 years ago

        We just bought the Virgin LG900G for our twin sons and I was really pleased with the price and the phone. I am not impressed that we can not shut off the internet access. I also prefer to lock their call list so that they can only call certain numbers and receive calls from their call list. You can't do that from this phone. We might be taking them back because I don't think they need that much freedom for their first phones.

        Just wanted to share that info in case it helps someone else choose a phone.

      • magento-templates profile image

        magento-templates 

        7 years ago

        thanks for useful info!

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        7 years ago

        Hey, Nice information. I was need a better cell phone for my 10 years old kids. Thanks for providing such a useful information.

        kvm rackmount

      • profile image

        Janiswedding 

        8 years ago

        Thanks a lot for all that info. I'm looking to getting my 16year old a phone, and seeing that I'm on a tracfone, I was going to get him something similar, maybe just cheaper. Now I'm quite happy with tracfone, prepaid, cost of phone, and especially the dmfl. But I see you make no mention of this option in your lens. Is there a reason for this. Am I on the wrong tack here going for a tf?

      • Draconius LM profile image

        Draconius LM 

        8 years ago

        Great Lens full of great information am lensrolling it to my Blackberry and other phone review lenses

      • profile image

        grantdelmark 

        8 years ago

        Nice job! Excellent information! I am a kid myself, and got a cell phone a couple of years ago. This is the way to start out! And you are right about kids accidentally over texting (I speak from experience)! Keep it up!

      • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

        Tiddledeewinks LM 

        10 years ago

        Another informative lens! I like the security of knowing with a cell phone my teens can stay in contact with me when needed.

      • profile image

        enslavedbyfaeries 

        10 years ago

        Great lens with helpful information on sorting out the best options. Kajeet has worked out wonderfully for my daughter and I feel in complete control with the restrictions I have on her plan.

      • Barkely profile image

        Barkely 

        10 years ago

        Ohh, my son so wants a cell phone! You have some great info here. He's still not getting one for a couple more years, LOL.

      • profile image

        rockycha 

        10 years ago

        Great Topic! Excellent depth!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wehavekids.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://wehavekids.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)