It’s back-to-school season, which means begging-for-a-new-phone time is ramping up. After all, all the other kids have one.
It used to be that handing over the car keys was the first big step towards granting independence, but now freedom is creeping in at an earlier age. So, what is the right age to give your child a phone? Unfortunately, there’s no magic number. Granting them a device that automatically connects them to the world—and all the different aspects that involves—is a big decision. You know your child best, though.
Consider things like overall maturity level and how responsible they’ll be in taking care of a phone once the shiny newness wears off. This will help you decide how much they’re ready to take on. And remember, once you’ve handed this thing over, it’s nearly impossible to go back. Not to mention, getting kids to listen can already be an uphill battle. Adding screen time to that can be an expensive (and addictive) distraction from mastering the art of communication. Or homework.
But before vowing to never open that Pandora’s box, there are some options to consider, from basic models that allow you to simply stay in touch, all the way through moderately fancier choices with more bells and whistles.
LG Revere 3
There’s a lot to be said for the beloved flip-phone. Yes, smartphones are immensely useful, but they can also open the door to a myriad of things lurking around the internet. This phone keeps things basic, but still packs some fun features. It has a 1.3-mp camera, email capabilities, GPS, and—of course—is text capable. If your kid raises an eyebrow at this, just remind them that retro technology is making a comeback. They’ll be ahead of the curve!
Alcatel OneTouch Go Play
This entry-level smartphone gets high marks for durability. Water, shock, and dust resistant, it can take being tossed around in a backpack or dropped into water. The camera isn’t the sharpest, but is fine for selfies and Instagram posts.
Moto G4 Play
The Moto G4 Play is practical, affordable, and comes with plenty of features to make it a good option for pre-teens. Boasting a 5-inch screen, this Android smartphone comes with 2GB RAM, front and back cameras, as well as parental controls restricting Google Play access.
The LG GizmoGadget is a great solution for keeping up with busy grade-schoolers on the go. This waterproof smartwatch offers GPS, and with a monthly access fee, can make calls and send texts to a small, predetermined set of numbers and—as a watch—is much harder to lose. As an extra bonus for the pre-teen set, it also looks pretty cool.
Used iPhone SE
While you’ll give up many of the extensive parental controls available on the above devices, a used iPhone SE would be a very appealing option for older kids. An SE can run iOS 11 and offers long battery life, a camera, and ridiculously easy video editing via iMovie. With kids being kids, we’d recommend a sturdy case and screen protector.
So, as you’re typing up that school supplies list and marveling at how, overnight, they now need calculators instead of crayons, take comfort in the fact there’s a wide range of options when it comes to phones that offer plenty of kid-friendly features that your child won’t be embarrassed to carry around.
This article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide medical or legal advice, or to indicate the availability or suitability of any product or service for your unique circumstances.
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