“But all my friends have phones!” You’ve been hearing this for a while and you’re finally at the point where you’re ready to buy your kid a smartphone. This is a big decision that requires you to think about both your child’s needs and your own.
Chances are you’re not planning to run out and grab a $1,000 iPhone X for your 12-year-old. Kids can be hard on phones and they don’t need all those top-of-the-line features (even though older kids may want them). This is about finding a good phone at a reasonable price that also lets you set up parental controls if needed.
Here are five smart options that can work well for you and your family.
1) Moto G5 Plus
For $230, the Moto G5 Plus offers up a lot of Android smartphone for the money. It includes nifty features like a fingerprint reader, a sturdy metal body, and long battery life. This is a good choice for teens who want a decent camera along with the latest Android operating system.
For parental controls for tweens and younger kids, check out Google’s Family Link app, which lets you set up “digital ground rules” for using the device. Family Link is worth checking into for any Android phone. Google recommends using it for kids 13 years of age and younger.
2) iPhone 6s
If your family is already invested in the Apple ecosystem, then it makes sense to add another iPhone to your arsenal. But you don’t have to drop the big bucks on the latest phone. You can still buy an iPhone 6s brand new from Apple starting at $449 (or financed in installments through your carrier if available).
The iPhone 6s runs the latest version of iOS 11 and you can set up parental controls by heading into the settings, choosing “general,” and turning on “Restrictions.” You set a passcode and you can then choose which apps and features your kid is allowed to use. You can also choose to restrict content by ratings.
3) Honor 7X
The Honor 7X smartphone is an Amazon best seller for a good reason. It’s under $200, has great reviews, and is stocked with desirable features. It has a spacious display with a slim frame, a sleek metal body design, and a dual-lens rear camera. The big screen is a good fit for kids who want to use it for mobile games and the low price tag will make parents happy. It’s surprisingly sophisticated considering the low cost.
4) Blu R2
If you’re looking for an unlocked Android smartphone at a bargain price, then the Blue R2 Plus is worth a look. It won’t blow you away with high-end specs, but it gets the job done for just $130. Blu says the R2 battery offers a 30-day standby time, which is handy if you don’t expect your kid to use the phone very often. Best of all, you won’t sweat it every time your child accidentally drops it on the floor.
5) A good used phone
Here’s a simple solution. Most people have a stockpile of old phones that have since been replaced with upgrades. Check out your last-generation smartphone from your personal collection. If the battery is still good and the handset is in decent shape, then this may be the perfect starter phone for your kid. You can activate it on your cellular service and set up parental controls as needed. You can always upgrade your kid to a new phone later after he’s shown he can be responsible with a hand-me-down.
Keep in mind why you want to get your child a phone in the first place. If it’s just simply for use as an emergency-contact device or as a quick way to get in touch, then an inexpensive, non-smart “feature” phone may be a better way to go than a full-fledged smartphone. Whatever option you choose, be sure to set down rules for using the phone and be especially vigilant if you have a teen driver.
Don’t let your teen text and drive
Texting while driving can lead to tragic consequences. Don’t let it happen to your family.