How to Choose Your Child's First Phone

How to Choose Your Child's First Phone

choosing first phone

Choosing your child’s first phone or deciding when to get them their first phone, can be a daunting decision. On one hand, having a phone helps you stay connected with your child and can be incredibly convenient. However, you also face concerns about safety, screen time, and appropriate usage. As a parent, finding the right balance is essential and finding the right phone for you child can help alleviate some of those worries. At Cellcom, we have dozens of different phones to choose from. Everything from basic flip phones to smartphones with the latest features. We are here to help guide you through the process of choosing your child’s first phone.

There are a few different factors to consider when selecting your child’s first phone.

Determine the Right Age

One of the first considerations is the appropriate age for a child to have their first cell phone. We talk about this more in-depth in another article. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, there are a few different factors for you to consider: your child’s age, their maturity level, how responsible they are, and their digital literacy. Nowadays, most children are getting their first phones between the ages of 10 and 14. Younger children may benefit more from basic phones with limited functionalities, while older kids may find more benefit from a smartphone for educational purposes and increased independence.

smart vs basic phone

Choose the Right Features

When it comes to features, you can decide what is more important: simplicity or functionality. It’s important to remember, too, that you don’t always need to sacrifice one for the other. Here are some features to consider:

  • Basic Communication: Ensure the phone you choose supports essential communication features that you want your child to have. Whether it be just call and/or text or includes features like FaceTime or video calling, make sure you find a phone that has the communication features you want your child to have. Think about how you typically communicate and choose a phone for your child that supports your needs.
  • Internet Access: Probably one of the most important factors in deciding what phone to get your child, is to decide whether you want the phone to have internet access. If you’d prefer for them to have a basic phone, one of our flip phones may be the best option. If you want your child to have internet access, we have several smartphones to choose from. With this, be sure to consider phones that integrate age-appropriate web browsing filters or have parental controls built in. You can always download apps later, as well.
  • App Compatibility: If there are certain apps your children use frequently, or apps they may need for schoolwork and extracurricular activities, check to verify that whatever phone you choose is able to support them.
  • Camera Quality: Do you want your child’s phone to have a camera or not? If yes, do you want just basic camera specs or something to support your child’s interest in photography? Depending on how you answered these questions will help further determine what kind of phone to buy.
  • Durability: When choosing a phone for you child, it’s a good idea to specifically look for phones designed with durability in mind. Kids can be a little rougher on their phones and more prone to dropping one, so select a phone that is built to be a little tougher and consider a good protection plan (or you can always choose ours). Phone cases and screen protectors add an extra layer of protection.

Parental Control Options

When getting your child’s first phone, we know that you’ll want to ensure your child's safety and manage their phone usage effectively. Many smartphones now offer parental control features, including:

parental control
  • Screen Time Management: Look for phones that allow you to set limits on app usage and screen time. This feature can help strike a healthy balance between digital engagement and other activities and also limit time spent on specific apps.
  • App Restrictions: Some phones allow you to block or restrict access to certain apps or websites. This can allow you to maintain a safe and age-appropriate digital environment for your child.
  • Location Tracking: Many phones are now built with location tracking features, which can help you keep tabs on your child's whereabouts for added peace of mind.

Cost and Plan

Budget considerations are also important to think about when choosing your child’s first phone. Determine your financial limits and from there you can find a phone and plan that fits your budget. Take a look at our prepaid plans or a plan with lower data limits, which can be more cost-effective options.

Choosing your child's first cell phone is a decision that requires thought and consideration. By assessing their age, needs, and your own concerns, you can find a device that strikes a balance between functionality, safety, and affordability. Remember, it's not just about the phone itself but also the education and guidance you provide as a parent to ensure responsible and mindful cell phone usage for your child.