A big choice, mobile phones for kids – There have been many discussions on my social networks recently about the right age for a child to have a mobile phone. When you first hear your kid saying “I want an iPhone” it will probably be at such a young age you can say – “When you are older maybe”, but as time goes on, you will need to address this situation. I think, the age and what mobile phone you get for your kid, is a big choice. It seems that many children don’t get far past the age of 12 before having a phone, and many of those will be a smartphone.
I guess the first thing to say is that all kids are different, and all phones are different, there might be different needs required. There is a big difference between a mobile or cell phone to a smartphone.
Most Kids will obviously want the best most expensive phone on the market; they might be a tech freak or probably just want to show off to their friends, in my opinion those kids can want, even I have to wait to save my pennies to get the best phone, by which time, it’s just not anymore. ha!
Back in the day
Essentially we like our kids to have phones so that we can text them or call them when we need to get in touch with them. So different from back in our day, if we were going to be late home, you had to find a phone box and reverse the charges so you could tell your parents you’d be home late, of course you weren’t going to waste your own money on a phone call. And what a great excuse that you didn’t let them know because the phones were out of order, which was mostly the case.
So I wonder, is it the kids wanting the phones or the parents that want their children to have phones so that they can stay in touch, so parents can know where their kids are, and what they are doing.
Reasons against smartphones for kids
Of course, it’s not just the fact that you want your children to be safe online, and not use apps unsupervised where they can get bullied or scammed, or see unsavory pictures. This report about one in seven parents has found unsuitable content their childrens mobile – It’s also because there is a chance they will get their phones stolen from them, sometimes in very dangerous circumstances. This can be very scary for our kids. Or there is a great chance the expensive smart phone will be lost or broken. Besides the fact they scientists are still researching the effects on mobile devices on our brains…
Insurance can cover these losses sometimes but then some of the time the cost of the insurance doesn’t seem worth it. And remember you might decide your child might have a mobile phone for his or her birthday but the contact or the cost of keeping the payg topped up will probably fall at your feet.
So these reasons alone are things to think about when deciding if and when your child is ready for a mobile phone, whether it is a cell phone or a smartphone.
Mobile phones for kids
If it’s the case that you just want to stay in touch with your children, which is what I wanted when he went off to secondary school, then there is no need to buy kids a smartphone. Of course you can get smartphones that have many parental controls on them or you can make sure you only have the passwords to change certain features. However all in all there are plenty of mobile phones for kids that look funky and do just that – make phone calls. I’m not sure how these would go down with a teenager, but I think some of them look pretty cools and different enough for people to love them.
Such as the Just5 range, I spoke about these phones a few years ago – about the J509 phone for the elderly, easy to use with big buttons, What I like about these is that they look really colourful and funky and I think kids would go for that. Since I wrote about Just5 they’ve brought out more phones and even smart phones and have many more stockists, some info on the link above.
Or the Glowphone which is a child friendly phone available from Firefly – I’ve not tested this phone but I’ve read good things I’d suggest it could be worth looking into.
Maybe the TTfone Venus TT700 – its got the big buttons and is a flip phone and even has a camera (not for the heavy handed kids) but I think it looks pretty cool.
These types of phone are ideal mobile phones for kids, especially the younger ones, and they are not expensive so you don’t have worry (as much) about it being damaged, lost or worse stolen.