Cell Phones for Kids and Teens is an important topic. When to give your child his or her first cell phone is a decision not to be taken lightly. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidance in its Policy Statement, “Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents.”
When you do decide that your child is ready for a mobile phone, here are some things to consider in cell phones for kids and teens.
For kids and tweens, it may be best to start with phones that are practical instead of a device with tons of high-tech features. Here are some features to look for in a kid-friendly phone:
Your child may want that hot new smartphone, but if the phone is bigger than his or her hands, it won’t do much good! Make sure the device is easy for your child to hold.
If you are going to spend money on a phone, you want it to last. Choose a device that can stand being dropped, tossed into a backpack, and dropped again. If you decide to purchase a phone with a touchscreen, we recommend purchasing a high-duty screen protector and cell phone case, which will help keep the phone protected against the inevitable bangs.
Several phones offer parental control features that allow you to monitor and control your child’s phone usage. Set your child’s contacts, limit the number of minutes they use and texts they send, and even keep their web browsing under control. Consumer Reports has written an article about how to use the parental controls on a smartphone, here.
Worried about your child when they travel with their sports team? Want to be sure your tween is safe on their first trip to the movies without you? Make sure you get them a phone with GPS tracking. You can even set up alerts to let you know when your child gets to his or her destination.
An Emergency Button
Many phones that are designed for children have an emergency button that either calls 911 or alerts their emergency contacts (AKA Mom and Dad) if something is wrong. Look for a device that sends a text and calls your device (or emergency services) with the press of a button.
According to the Pew Research Center, 95 percent of teens had access to a smartphone in 2018.
Some of the considerations for children above will also apply to teens. In addition:
This feature is extremely useful for teens who often have personal data stored on their phone (photos, social media profiles, and text messages). Keeping their phone locked with a password ensures that you and your teen are the only ones with access to the device.
While GPS tracking is great for younger children, you may want to consider whether to use this feature (or not use it) while working on trust and boundaries with your teen. Another consideration is that some data privacy experts warn that you should turn off GPS tracking to protect privacy.
Find My Phone
Teens are still learning responsibility and forgetful brains can misplace phones easily. Features like “Find my iPhone” or Google’s “Find My Device” for Android will allow you to locate a lost device.
Giving your teen unfettered access to the internet may make you cringe. Thankfully, lots of phones have parental controls that allow you to monitor or control web browsing. There are also a variety of apps you can install on your and your teen’s phones.
Regardless of your child’s age, a manageable phone plan is a must-have. Pure TalkUSA recently introduced new plans with higher amounts of data and unlimited talk and text. One of the best parts for families is the discounts available for each additional line. Add up to three lines and get 20 percent off your total bill. View Pure Talk phone plans, here.
If you have further questions about the best cell phones for kids and teens, or need help choosing the perfect plan, please contact us here.