The cell phone needs of a kid are often different than the needs of their parents. Because of this, there are many cell phones and cell phone companies whose products are designed for kids.
So why would you want a cell phone that is designed for kids? There are many reasons.
- Limit the time your kid is on the phone
- Use the GPS in the phone to find our where you kid is
- Block unwanted calls and callers
- Prevent access to unsafe websites
- Tools to prevent them from texting and driving
Emergency Cell Phone for Kids
The most basic cell phone for kids is the emergency cell phone. These are extremely limited in capability and serve the 2 most important qualities in an emergency cell phone for kids – Easy to use and instant access to help at the touch of a button – plus GPS so parents can locate their child.
The 5Star Responder emergency cell phone for kids has just one button that connects your child to a certified response agent who will determine your child’s location by GPS and confence in you and emergency services.
Phones for Younger Kids
If your kids are younger and you are looking for a phone with limited capabilities there are many companies that have phones for younger kids. These phones can also be used for older kids if you want to greatly reduce what your child can do with their phone.
Kajeet is “the smart phone for kids”. These phones are known for their parental controls. Parents can set spending and time limits and control a child’s address book by blocking certain numbers and can find their kids using the phone’s GPS locator. Parents can set up and monitor kids activity through the Kajeet website.
Basic phones have texting capabilities. More expensive phones offer a camera function, a video and music player, access to an apps market, and more. Phone prices range from $24.99 to $299.99 and service plans start at $4.99 per month. Kajeet offers a prepaid, pay as you go service plan and you can even bring an existing Sprint phone to their network.
Firefly builds phones especially designed for kids. These phones are a low flat fee and can be added to a carrier plan for any phone carrier that offers a SIM card like ATT and T-Mobile (Verizon does not). These are really just simple feature phones without much to them. The reviews on Amazon for previous models are pretty brutal. There’s very little on the Firefly mobile website that helps you understand what you are getting for your money.
LG Migo Verizon VX1000 (Verizon)
Features of the LG Migo include: 4 parent programmable numbers, a dedicated emergency key and it includes a battery and wall charger.
You must be currently a Verizon customer so you can add this as an addditional line. I recommend reading the latest Amazon reviews on this phone for tips on activation and other quirks.
This phone is actually targeted to seniors, but also works well as a starter phone for kids. The Just5 cell phone for kids has big buttons, a large keypad, and a bright monochrome screen, making it a great phone for anyone seeking an easy to use phone.
Phones for Older Kids
If your kids are older, you will probably want a full featured phone, but want to restrict the things your kids can do with it. Most of the major carries have services that can restrict the things your kids can do with their phone and also provide monitoring services. Maybe you trust your older kids, but you just want to control costs. There are many options available.
Straight Talk Wireless phones – Straight talk doesn’t necessarily target kids, but if you are simply looking to control costs, they have some of the most price friendly plans available. Everything is pay as you go with no contracts and they have a variety of phones from basic phones up to the iPhone. They will also occasionally offer a coupon to save you even more.
T-mobile phones for kids – T-mobile also has a wide selection of phones for kids as well as many parental control features. T-mobile is also one of the more affordable major carriers and has recently gone to an all pre-paid pricing model.
Verizon phones for kids – Verizon doesn’t have a lot of phones targeted directly to kids other than the LG Migo we mentioned above and they also don’t have a section on their site for kids phones and services. However they recently announce a program that is coming soon called FamilyBase that will allow parents to monitor the activity on their kids’ phones. Verizon also offers prepaid plans if you want to control costs.